Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Someone on my posting board made what I felt was a great comment in regards to John McCain's "Joe the Plumber", so I'm posting it here. You can also read the comment in its original context, if you like, but here goes.

This is one of the more bizarre things this campaign season had to offer. Joe the plumber. A plumber who's not a (licensed) plumber, whose name isn't Joe, whose salary is about 20% of what he said it is, who is concerned about the tax on the profits of a small business which he doesn't own, which doesn't actually generate as much profit so that it would be taxed more and which he's not going to buy, (because he doesn't have the means) while at the same time he owes back taxes. He's a delusional fake. And this is the guy around which the GOP economic message is built? WTF? Are you kidding me? Couldn't McCain, among all the GOP voters (presumably more than 45% of all voters) find a single person who was just that little bit more real. You know, someone who maybe owns a small business for which the tax rate actually does increase. The whole thing is so incredibly stupid and incompetent, it's actually quite sad. And yet, after all this has been said and brought into the open, they still continue with this talking point. Can anyone explain? This is so far beyond me, it seems like this GOP strategy has been hatched out in some weird bizarro parallel universe.

On my way to work this morning, I got to see the mobs of people gathered along Broad Street and around City Hall in preparation for the Phillies parade. Wish I'd brought my camera!

Dan, Ed and I are trolling around the city tonight in costume, which should be made more interesting by the aforementioned parade. Yum.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Looky, looky

There are new photos available on Flickr, in sets titles respectively "Sabrina's Wedding" and "Halloween '08." Click on "My Photos" on the right to view 'em. Enjoy!

Oh, I am am relieved the report that the Great October Dash of 2008 is now over. It was the first time I could recall actually looking forward to November.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Buttoned up

So far this election season I have collected five Barack Obama buttons, and I wear them all, not counting the one I gave to Dan. That's new for me; in the past five elections in which I was eligible to vote, I never felt the slightest desire to advertise my political leanings even when I had opinions. This year's different.

It's not that I think Barack Obama is the Wise One Who Will Bring Peace, because I think that, at the end of the day, he's pretty just much a politician. A canny, intelligent, and inspirational politician, to be sure, and one who stands much closer to me on the isues than that dreadful McCain, but he's no savior. The button's not about that, though. It's about the hope Obama represents: that Democrats can indeed appear (and be) strong, that fear need not be a campaign tool, that in this nation black people can be president, too. That's pretty heady stuff.

I'm not good at hope, and never have been. I'm pragmatic, realistic, and determined, but I tend not to spare much thought in hoping for better. When asked if my glass is half-empty or half-full, my response has typically been: "Who cares? It's the only glass I have." That sounds realistic and practical, and I guess in some ways it is, but it's no way to live. So I've been practicing hope, even though it kinda runs against the grain for me. We're always told don't get your hopes up, as if that's going to protect you from the crap life occasionally sends your way. I've discovered that you're almost always better off getting your hopes up, and here's why. Take for example the presidential election. My disappointment at a McCain victory will be no greater if I hope for Obama's triumph, so I may as well savor the hope now while it lasts. That's not sensible, but no one said life was sensible. Besides, sensible is overrated; sometimes you have to do the dumb thing, take the long odds, and thumb your nose at all the reasons why not. That's what got me on stage doing stand-up, and even though that was a dumb thing and certainly long odds, I'm so glad I did it.

So you know what? I get my hopes up. I take the long odds. I wear that button. And tomorrow I'm wearing two.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The England Diary

Wednesday, Oct 15

Arrived at Heathrow after getting a bare 4 hours' sleep, sponsored by Prince Valium. Broke my fast on a scary airline croissant that was the only alternative to chewing the seat cover. Napped for one hour before touring Woking, the place where HG Wells wrote "The War of the Worlds."

Thursday, Oct 16

Visited Blenheim Castle, birthplace of Winston Spencer Churchill and current home of the Duke of Marlborough. Gorgeous estate, although I'm told that since the aristocracy is short on cash, it's supported by the fees paid by visitors. A pennant flying above the place indicated the Duke was in residence but he didn't invite me for tea. Bastard.

Stopped in Oxford on the way back. All college towns are the same.

Friday, Oct 17

Trolled about London, people-watching and marveling at how at home I always feel there. Visited the London Zoo, where I saw I spur-thighed tortoise (ouch!) and a reticulated python. I'd like to be a reticulated something. Had dinner in Covent Garden, where there was a tasty tomato vegetable soup and an incredible dessert of a gingerbread pudding (in American terms, a cupcake), sitting in a pool of toffee with a spoon of clotted cream. Mama.

Saturday, Oct 18

Visited Windsor Castle, country home of the monarch and her family. Tremendous place with ten million drawing rooms and one space known as "Queen's Presence Chamber." Not sure what happens in that room. The queen was in residence that day, and, again, I was not invited for tea. Pretty cheeky behavior, if you think about it, from a monarch whose son got divorced and whose grandson isn't really hers. (That's right, I said it!)

Sunday, Oct 19

Got to Heathrow in plenty of time for a noon flight. Watched "Sex and the City" movie on the way back and wondered how anyone can really sympathize with the travails of a bunch of thin, rich, successful women. Also wondered just when Sarah Jessica Parker turned into the hag that tried to eat Tom Cruise in "Legend."


With this trip behind me, scratch item #4 of the Great October Dash. Now for the Halloween party!

Monday, October 13, 2008

And the Great October Dash continues

This weekend I put away items #2 and #3 of the Great October Dash of 2008, those items being the wedding of a long-time friend and my first self-produced show. The Dash, in case you didn't know, consists of...
  1. Dan's sister's wedding in NYC
  2. The 1-4-5 Show
  3. Long-time friend's wedding
  4. Trip to England
  5. My Halloween bash.
By the way, I had a great time at the show, although those who attended might not have been able to tell because I was sick and a bit fever-addled. In reviewing the recording, however, I seemed to perform fairly coherently, so I guess that's a victory both for me and for the good people at Motrin. Said video will be available on YouTube once Dan figures out** how to get such an enormous file off the camera. Thanks to all who showed up, cheered, laughed, etc. There will indeed be another show at some point, but not until the new year.

On to item #4 of the Dash, which is my impending trip to England. I leave tomorrow evening, armed with several doses of Valium to send me safely into the arms of slumber while British Airways speeds me to London. I've decided that the long flights to and fro are a good time to catch up on some of the famous literature I've neglected, so at lunch I'm off to pick up one I've already read (The Grapes of Wrath) and a few others I haven't. As a point of history, I first read Wrath in high school, and I recall that whilst reading it on the front porch, I looked up to see the smoke from the fires on Osage Avenue.

**Isn't Dan amazing?

Friday, October 10, 2008

The day has arrived

...and I sound like a sick ward refugee. Fortunately, I feel better than I sound, so I should be able to get through the evening without fainting. And! Courtesy of Feanor, I have made Phillyist.

In case you have not heard, SuperTarzan passed the Pennsylvania bar exam, which means that he's now SuperTarzan, Esquire. Yay him! So from now on when you ask him to critique the latest Supreme Court decision, he can charge you. ("Through the nose," he told me.) But that also means he has now joined the ranks of the lawyers, whom we can blame for anything we want. So if my show goes badly tonight...

New favorite lyric:

"Why must you always be around?
Why can't you just leave me be?
You've done nothing so far but destroy my life
You cause as much sorrow dead as you did when you were alive."

Artist: Sinead O'Connor (Sinead O'Connor)
Song: You Cause As Much Sorrow
Album: I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The luck of the Irish...

...has passed me right by, because I'm getting sick just in time for my first-ever self-produced comedy show! Those of you who plan to attend should expect a punchy, heavily medicated me. That might improve my act, now that I think of it. Argh.

As a reminder:

1-4-5 Show at Joe
Joe Coffee Bar
1100 Walnut St.
Doors open at 6:30pm
Show starts at 7pm
Admission: $5

Sickness optional

Monday, October 06, 2008

Oh what a day!

Yes, once again I turn a year older, and a tasty turning-older it was. Dan made me a great lunch of garlic sausage, fresh pasta (OK, it was made yesterday) and fresh broccoli. Admittedly, I had to add the broccoli myself, but it was there. Then there were chocolate ricotta cookies and a marscapone eclair from Isgro. Divine.

Many important things happened on October 6, I might point out. Here are a few:
  • Frodo Baggins and company were attacked on Weathertop by the Witch-King and his Nazgul lackeys.
  • Robert Bork lost his chance at the Supreme Court.
  • Mark Petrie, Ben Mears, Jimmy Cody and Father Callahan invaded the Marsten House and killed the vampiric Susan Norton.
  • "The Jazz Singer" opened, heralding the day of talking pictures.
  • Elizabeth Taylor married for the eighth time. (Walder Frey had nothing on her.)
I'm assuming you can guess which of these are fictional.

Dan's sister's wedding was this weekend, and naturally I forgot to bring the camera. But! My mom had hers, so there will be pics in due course.