Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tips for drinkers

from Marcus Porcius Cato c. 200BC
If you wish to drink deep at a banquet and to enjoy your dinner, eat as much raw cabbage as you wish, seasoned with vinegar, before dinner, and likewise after dinner eat some half a dozen leaves; it will make you feel as if you had not dined, and you can drink as much as you please.


fiction set c. 1800 AD

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Who are the "New Atheists"?

While I wasn't paying attention, it has been decided that the "New Atheists" would now represent atheism. The "New Atheists" as far as I have been able to discern, are not in the least different from old-school atheists on the question of gods. So in general, I am certainly on the side of any atheists, New or not. Unfortunately, the "New Atheists" are a bunch of douchebags, and it annoys me that they are the go-to guys - and of course this group of careerist public intellectuals are a gang of guys - on the issue of atheism.

The biggest douchebag of all is Christopher Hitchens. Even if he hadn't been a Bush/Iraq supporter, he would have achieved the Congressional Medal of Douchebag (the first of these was bestowed by Jon Stewart on Robert Novak) through this piece of misogyny in Vanity Fair: Why Women Aren't Funny. Read this and then consider - he was actually paid to publish this addle-brained piece of useless shit.

The next biggest douchebag is probably Sam Harris, the one I knew the least about before he was declared New Atheist. He argued in the Huffington Post that Islam is more likely to create terrorism than any other religion. This is just plain wrong. It isn't any religion that creates terrorism - it's the infrastructure - religion is just an excuse and it just so happened that the region currently producing terrorists is primarily populated by Muslims. Christianity, with its "Prince of Peace" is no less likely to produce violence.

The other two official New Atheists are Evolutionary Psychologists - Richard Dawkins and Daniel C. Dennett, which is a completely bankrupt approach to human culture - but I've blogged about that extensively at cultural-materialism.org

But since these are all famous public intellectuals, forming a kewl boys club of atheist mavericks of course they're going to get all the attention, and all the religious folk will start to think of them as the four popes of atheism.

I don't want to be represented by douchebags and evolutionary psychologists. And if the commenter on Pharyngula is actually Dawkins, as claimed, [comment #120] well Dawkins is kind of a douchebag too.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Darlington Curse 3



Mr. Oliver Acton?" I said, extending my hand. He shook it and reached into his waistcoat pocket and produced a small leaf of paper on which he wrote in pencil: "Do you believe me?"

"I have not made up my mind." I said, truthfully. "It does strain credulity."

He beckoned me follow him down the lane on the west side of the grounds.


D3

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Yay Beatles

Any time is a good time for a Lennon-McCartney interview

Monday, August 24, 2009

latest NYCP monologue

This one is my most ambitious piece yet, cinematography-wise. It took only 40 minutes to record - but then Laurence Cantor is a consummate pro. More at the NYCPlaywrights Monologue project

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Darlington Curse part 2


I did not see the Cornings very often - they had moved into a small estate down the road in 1811 and we never had much cause to socialize - the Cornings were homebodies and I did all my socializing at the neighborhood pub and the Literary Society."

The reader, I hope, will have patience with me for stopping the narrative here - I said I would reprint the letter in its entirety and so I shall. However, I wanted to give a little background about Mrs. Corning at this point...
more...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Friday, August 21, 2009

Followed by hoes

I have a Twitter account that I hardly ever bother with - I have enough to do to post to this blog on a daily basis. But even so I've accumulated quite a few followers - for those who are not familiar with Twitter, a follower is somebody who has signed up to read your tweets - your brief Twitter messagers.

I would have even more followers, but I always end up blocking the hoes. I've had about five so far, counting the one today, "Nelson491" who has only one tweet herself, which is a link to a porn site.

Sorry Nelson491, no hoes for me, thank you.

That reminds me of a Margaret Cho bit:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Darlington Curse

by N. G. McClernan

The first in a multi-part serialization...



more...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

they never listen

Well another ex-member of NYCPlaywrights who ignored my opinion about his lousy play found out maybe I wasn't in the minority after all. A certain percentage of playwright wanna-bes show up at NYCPlaywrights meetings asking for feedback about their play, fully expecting to be praised. So if you are honest and tell them that their play is not the greatest thing since HAMLET they will assume you're just an idiot who doesn't know what you're talking about.

The worst offenders are young men, in my experience. One guy wrote a nasty "parody" of OUR TOWN that was about three hours long and played the rape of a little girl (not staged thank god, but told in a reminiscence) for laughs - it was justifiably slammed in a review.

Another guy wrote a play about a bunch of sociopathic losers sitting around being cruel to each other and making prank phone calls to a senile grandmother - also slammed in a review, although not nearly as harshly as I felt it deserved.

Another young man wrote a play in which a gay man requests a friend of his to falsely accuse him of molesting her son so that he can go to jail and be somebody's bitch - I am NOT kidding - but finds out that jail sex is not nearly as exciting as he had believed. Let that be a lesson to any of you out there who are planning to request someone falsely accuse you of molesting.

The latest self-indulgent young guy wrote a play that had a less offensive premise than the other three mentioned, but made up for that with incredibly trite dialog, and a slow-moving, weak plot. However, I don't think any of the reviews pointed out the noxiousness of the white-man-as-the-protagonist-in-a-country-of-black-people scenario, but maybe because movies have inured them to the concept of white men being the protagonist of every situation. In any case, the play was rightly roundly criticized.

But hey, why should they listen to ME? I've only been running a weekly playscript-reading group for nine years and have heard thousands of plays, in addition to being a playwright myself. Clearly I have no idea what works in a script, and if I don't like their play it's because I'm just a stupid woman, or a mean bitchy woman. And yes, I do think that sexism has something to do with their disregard of my opinions. Empirical studies have shown that women's opinions are accorded less respect than men's by almost everybody, including liberals. But most of the critics who slammed these plays were male - maybe NOW they'll pay attention and either learn how to write a play, or go find something else to do.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Emilyfest 09



Whoohoo - I'm gonna be a reader in the Emily Dickinson poetry marathon in Amherst on September 26. I hope I get to read one of the bee poems!

Like this one:


His labor is a chant,
His idleness a tune;
Oh, for the bee’s experience
Of clovers and of noon!


although I think technically a worker insect is female, like all hive insects - but I guess Em wasn't up on her apiology.

or this one:


Fame is a bee.
It has a song—
It has a sting—
Ah, too, it has a wing.


or this one:

A sepal, petal, and a thorn
Upon a common summer's morn —
A flask of Dew — A Bee or two —
A Breeze — a caper in the trees —
And I'm a Rose!


My mother is also a poet - she won a contest with this poem about my late father We have rather different styles.

Friday, August 14, 2009

It's a jungle out there

Another episode of MONK tonight but I have to wait until tomorrow to watch it on hulu.com. I discovered MONK through the New Yorker - great article by Nancy Franklin:
I think the reason that people don’t talk more about "Monk," despite its popularity, is that watching it is an intensely personal, even interactive, experience. Adrian Monk is a kind of private investigator of our own flaws and sadnesses, and no doubt many viewers identify with the myriad intrapsychic obstacles that make it hard for him to get through the day. They don’t need to talk to their friends about "Monk," because simply watching the show serves the same function—as sharp as its dialogue is, "Monk" is often touching beyond words.


At least I can watch every other episode of Monk on hulu.com

Monk is great TV - speaking of which, thanks to youtube I can watch the famous hash brownies episode of Barney Miller.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Oh Rachel Maddow, you are a diamond

because you rock so hard.

Emily & me - BFF




Yay! My Facebook friend Emily Dickinson likes my Communication Sonnet #4 - but she SHOULD, it mentions her.

Check it out - but you'll have to be her Facebook friend before you can see my shout-out... and if you happened to have blocked me on Facebook, you might not see my shout-out even then... I'm not sure how that works.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sunday, August 09, 2009

back to normal blogging

finally...

Sodini - the consummate creepy middle-aged man

It turns out that mass-murderer George Sodini is one of these guys who was into the "How to Get a Women" lifestyle - but specifically, how to date younger women. Apparently quite a few unattractive middle-aged men think that they are too good for women their own age and so try all kinds of wacky techniques to get younger women. Since, although proponents of evolutionary psychology would try to have you believe otherwise, women are not "naturally" interested in older men, they develop special pick up techniques, body language analysis, hypnosis - they'll try anything it seems, except trying to meet someone they share common interests with, and actually getting to know a woman as a person. But let's face it - they don't want a woman as a person - they want a female body to evacuate in. But it has to be a high-status body. I guess that's why they aren't satisfied with lap dances and other forms of prostitution - it's a status thing.

But the primary belief of these men is that the reason that they can't get any hot young thing in the world is NOT because they are old and unattractive and have a lousy personality, it's because they are TOO NICE. The Village Voice has a video clip of Sodini at one of these classes in which the dating guru R. Don Steele tells them "nice guy must die."

More Sodini videos at the blog Jezebel.

Men believing that they are entitled to much younger hotter women is nothing new - I gave up on online dating sites because the number of 40-something men who wouldn't consider dating a woman older than five years younger than himself just made me start to despise 40-something men.

Dan Savage however, probably says it best:

Sodini clearly felt that he was entitled not just to sex and a romantic relationship, but to sex and a romantic relationship with a much younger woman. And he was following the advice of a love-and-romance guru who encouraged him to hold on to that belief and filled him with false hopes. Not normally a problem, I supposed. But Sodini wasn't just another socially maladapted schlub furious with the world - and with women - for denying him all the 22-year-old ass he felt he deserved. He was a nut. And he couldn't understand why, if he was doing everything right, he wasn't finding the success that was Steele guaranteed him. He was employed, dressed nicely, in good shape - he even bought a matching sofa set. ("Couch and chair - they match, the woman will really be impressed.") But none of it worked - and his failure couldn't have been his own fault, since he was doing everything right, doing it all by the book. Unfortunately the book was Date Young Women: For Men Over 35. Someone needed to get Sodini a book that explained that settling down requires settling for and that young women are usually interested in young men and that we can't always have what we want and that there were probably women out there who would date him - maybe women closer to his own age - but only if he got his shit together and stopped obsessing about college-age women.

I am, of course, not suggesting that R. Don Steele's book made Sodini go shoot up that aerobics class. But it's clear that Steele was not the guru Sodini needed.

One particularly chilling detail from Sodini's online diary was his seething resentment for a neighbor. He had seen an attractive young woman leaving his neighbor's house and was absolutely furious that his neighbor was sleeping with the kind of hot young girl that Sodini himself wanted but could never get. The girl was his neighbor's daughter.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Last season of Monk

MONK, one of the best TV shows ever, is doing its eighth and last season now - the first episode of the season aired Friday night - but since I don't have a TV now I have to wait until it's online to watch.

One of the saddest aspects of the show is the death last year of
veteran TV actor Stanley Kamel, who had a heart attack. He was 65. His portrayal of Monk's therapist, Charles Kroger, was just so wonderful. Unfortunately there are no clips available on Youtube, but this scene is available from the USA Network site:



He was on Barney Miller...

Friday, August 07, 2009

This would explain quite a lot actually...

The MC1R gene belongs to a family of receptors that include pain receptors in the brain, and as a result, a mutation in the gene appears to influence the body's sensitivity to pain. A 2004 study showed that redheads require, on average, about 20 percent more general anesthesia than people with dark hair or blond coloring. And in 2005, researchers found that redheads are more resistant to the effects of local anesthesia, such as the numbing drugs used by dentists. more at the NYTimes

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

To -






Vainly my heart had with thy sorceries striven:
It had no refuge from thy love, - no Heaven
But in thy fatal presence; - from afar
It owned thy power and trembled like a star


the entire sonnet.


Apparently the poet had a fling with E. A. Poe.

Monday, August 03, 2009

hitting the blogging big time

I've been on Echidne's blogroll for a few years, but now that I'm also on the blogroll of the blogging phenomenon known as Lance Mannion - I'm gonna make it after all.

Plus, Lance likes my Madmen incarnation - I'm pretty sure it's the blue eyeshadow - men are slaves for blue eyeshadow.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Dream a little dream - but fire the publicity people

I saw some amazing performances Saturday night by the five - yes, only five - actors performing Essential Shakespeare's adaptation of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM called DREAM A LITTLE DREAM.

There were several things I would have done differently in the production (of course) starting with a larger cast. I certainly don't mind actors doubling up roles - I did it in my JANE EYRE, but to a much lesser degree (and one of the reviewers complained about that doubling) but the frenetic character-switching performed by the actors of the Continuum Company was crazy. I've seen this kind of thing done before - at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2007 the Pantaloons did a version of MIDSUMMER with seven actors - and while both productions deserve lots of credit for the creative ways they address the limitations of a small cast (Essential Shakespeare made very good use of music, while the Pantaloons make clever use of umbrellas) I can't help thinking that unless you already know the play, you're likely to be mightily confused by all the running around and morphing. And as much as I like Shakespeare's words, if you leave in long speeches they do slow down the pace of these quick-change adaptations and confuse the audience even more.

That said, I really liked many of the musical numbers in the Essential Shakespeare show, especially what must be an original piece riffing on the name Helena which turned into a Bollywood musical homage. Really great. But greatest of all were the amazingly talented, hard-working actors.

The show will have one more performance, at East River Park on the Lower East Side on August 4, and I plan to attend.

But they need to fire whoever was in charge of publicity and PROGRAMS. When I arrived at the Marcus Garvey show, a young woman handed me some brochures about the NYC program that sponsored the show - but there was NOTHING about the people who put the show together and NO CAST LIST. I don't think even the most half-assed off-off Broadway show I've been to had no program. WHO WERE THESE TALENTED ACTORS???

Well, I knew who one of them was - Bhavesh Patel - because he is a friend of a friend (who invited me to come see the show) and I got to meet his parents after the performance. But in order to find out who the others were, I had to scour the Internet.

First stop: a Google search for CityParks Foundation, the sponsor, and I find this extremely uninformative page about the piece. The barest minimum of time/location. So more Googling. The Daily News had a little bit more info than the CityParks site, but still no info about the actors. Finally I found the cast list at the Tisch School of the Arts web site. But which actor was which??? I could figure out the men - because I know who Bhavesh was and so the other man was obviously Edi Gathegi - but which female actor was which? Well - here is the entire cast - I got the photo below from a fellow blogger Dumbo Books of Brooklyn - but Dumbo didn't know who was who either - I had to look up each female actor individually:


The heretofore "mystery" cast of DREAM A LITTLE DREAM left to right: Bhavesh Patel, Edi Gathegi, Amirah Vann, Danielle Skraastad, and Amber Gray.

These are some serious goddam actors - you'd think they could get more of a shout-out than this. Sheesh.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

the feminist fantasy film called "Casanova"



In addition to its interest as a film that stars poor dead Heath Ledger, Casanova is notable as a total feminist fantasy. Not only does the proto-feminist radical author heroine find true love with a totally hot guy, but her mother does too (well, to be honest, the mother's true love is not traditonally hot - but the mom is into chunky guys, apparently.)

And to make it even better, it's got a great anti-Catholic theme going on - Jeremy Irons plays the bad guy, and has a great line - he promises a young woman she can have her virginity returned: "We're the Catholic Church - we can do that."

Watch: