I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
October 21, 2016 - 12:09 p.m.
I'm starting an after-breakfast edition of Wise Madness at 10:39! Give me a cookie. Yes, I will eat a cookie as breakfast dessert. I'd have an ice cream sundae for breakfast dessert. Hell, I have had Dove ice cream bars for breakfast. Don't judge me; no judge me, as admirable.
Hey I just remembered to enter the Hamilton Lottery. I mean to do that every day that I don't have other plans but I've been forgetting. Why does no one remind me of these things? You have a lot of nerve to call yourself my friend. When I didn't see Hamilton you just stood there grinning.
I didn't see Hamilton but I did go to the theater last night, two one-act plays at the Flea. I went with Marvelous Marti, she's a theater critic, I've been her +1 before. Hopefully I will be again. I went years without seeing Marti, maybe a decade, now we see each other regularly; that's a much better state of affairs.
I do things a bit differently than most people. I went grocery shopping at Trader Joe's before the theater and took the groceries with me. Hey I needed eggs and they are far less than half the price I can get them around here at Trader Joe's. More urgently I was out of coffee and I like theirs. So, the thing is I went to the theater with a bag full of groceries. That figured into the action later. I'm not very subtle with my foreshadowing.
I met Marti at the Flea, it's in Tribeca. It's on Walker west of Broadway. My first thought was, where was the old Knitting Factory? There was one building that looked just like its exterior. Marti says it was closer to West Broadway. What street was it on? Funny thing is I went there many times and Marti only three, once with me, yet she remembers better than me. Marti has an advantage over me, a brain.
The first play was Ajax by Gurney. I don't remember his initials. Sorry, I don't have a program. I'm proud I remember the name. When we walked into the theater it was set up like a college classroom complete with desks. I shared a desk with Marti. I felt that I should be up by the teacher's lectern. There were even classroom type fluorescent lights on the ceiling. There were syllabi on the desks for a class in Greek Drama, thus the title Ajax. The premise of the show is that a student in the class, who was initially sitting behind us, wrote a modern retelling of Sophocles' Ajax and turned it into a play about PTSD in the wake of the American Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The teacher was a young beautiful adjunct. As a young and beautiful adjunct, I can tell you that her reaction to the student's romantic advances was not realistic. The play and the play within the play, were both transformed, rather abruptly into an anti-Israel diatribe with more than a whiff of anti-Semitism. The rich Jewish moneymen suppress the play within the play. It was not so much thought provoking as trite. It even has the time worn trope of the beautiful teacher letting her hair down and taking off her glasses. I can assure you that I've never done that in class. I wouldn't be able to see the class. I did like that after the evil Jews stopped them from producing the play at school, the carefully identified good Jew in New York arranged for the play within the play to be produced at the Flea. I was not as offended as much by the anti-Semitism as the triteness. But the beautiful teacher was beautiful. I can get away with saying that for reasons you'll hear later.
The second play was Squash. I have no idea who it was buy. That theater was also set up unusually. It was in the round. The center was AstroTurf with four island sets, a locker room, a kitchen, a college prof's office, and a bar. We were seated right next to the refrigerator, which was not on the kitchen Island but on the AstroTurf. I didn't even realize what it was when we sat. I put my sling bang and my shopping bag and put them beside me. Hey remember that foreshadowing? I was very nicely asked to move it as the actors will be working there and might trip on them. The woman offered to put it in her office but I just squeezed it under my seat. Wasn't that worth the set up?
This play was also set around a class in Greek literature. The characters were the buff professor, his buff male student, and his frumpy wife. I bet you can see where this is going already. The prof's passions are watching baseball and playing squash. At the start, he has just finished a squash game and is changing at his locker when the student comes up to him. Nobody seemed to realize this was inappropriate. The student says he came to hand in his paper a week early. The prof doesn't say, "You really should just do that in class." As a buff professor, I can tell you that would be the realistic reaction. The student then says, "I also wanted to see you naked." What a great pick up line. I bet her learned it from Trump. So, that's the plot, the prof and the student work out their sexual identities in what feels like a sit-com. It took place in the early or mid-seventies. I of course spotted the anachronism. The prof's kids, always off-stage, watch Wild Wild West which ran till 1969. The prof mentions Carlton Fisk as the BoSox catcher. His rookie season was 1971. He had all of 5 plate appearances in 1969 and nobody would expect people to know him. The play took place over the course of a semester yet it was always baseball season.
Like the first play the one word I'd use to describe it is trite. We've all seen these dramatized before and the play had nothing to add. Well except that the two buff male leads were naked in the locker room. When Marti described the play, she said, "but it had naked boys." So, see I'm allowed to talk about the beautiful adjunct. That's equality of the sexes.
Marti drove me home which saved me at least an hour. Thank you, Marti, for the ticket and the ride and the company. On the ride home Marti proved that she was Carey's sister from another mister. I have always associated them as they are beautiful red-heads I met around the same time in the same milieu, Moxy Früvous and They Might Be Giants. On the ride home, three things came up that were pure Carey. Marti played mp3s on shuffle. One of the first songs to come up was by Mucca Pazza! Yes, the world's greatest Circus Punk Marching Band that I discovered through Carey. Marti discovered them all on her own when she visited Chicago. Then came the Pupinni Sisters. I discovered them through Carey too. Then later I mentioned the Bongos and that led to Marti bringing up the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band that I also discovered through Carey. Carey and I met Neil Innes at a show and Marti's friend played in a band with Neil and Neil came over to her table at a pub and said, "[your friend] said I should come over here and entertain you." These repeated coincidences over the course of about 10 minutes were a bit spooky.
When I got home I watch the Cub – Dodgers game. I am good luck for the Cubbies. I watch and they do great. 108 years is enough; this year they win it all. I then once again stayed up much too late, till 2:30 for no good reason. I should break out of that habit. I did get out of bed at 8:30 again. Tonight, I will try to be in bed by 12:30.
It is miserable outside. My plan is to not leave the house unless I win tickets to see Hamilton. I remembered to take chicken out to make for dinner. Of course, if I win the Hamilton lottery all bets are off.
Between Word and the World Series - October 26, 2016
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