Sunday, July 21, 2013

Jenny McCarthy and The View

Would you take medical advice from this woman?

Barbara Walters and ABC have made an obvious ratings grab.  Jenny McCarthy, who has absolutely no scientific credentials (we all know the "University of Google" is just as reliable as the "College of Wikipedia") now has an even broader platform to spew her unscientific stupidity about cleansing diets, chelation therapy and anti-vaccinology.  

Please Note, there is absolutely no vaccine controversy!  

So many rational voices have already spoken about this, so I thought I would post some good links to great commentary rather than repeat what's already been said and written so eloquently by others.

Not so eloquent, but even the right are upset:

Another Websites to consider:

And far and away, my new favorite website

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Follies Revival on Broadway

Last night, Bill and I saw the recently opened Follies revival on Broadway. Yes, the show has some flaws, but its overall impact is still strong. And there is nothing else like it in the Broadway lexicon. The production has some wonderful touches--the Marquis theater is covered in black crepe and cloth to simulate the decaying theater that is about to be torn down. Faintly in the background, there are recordings of applause and music, giving the sense that the ghosts are fully inhabiting the theater. Throughout the show, the ghostly showgirls add ambiance and eeriness to the proceedings of the night. Costumes are appropriate for the party scenes and stunning for the Loveland sequence.

Then, there are some missteps. The biggest and most obvious for me was the staging of the mirror number. YouTube has probably ruined this for me unless someone can outshine Michael Bennett's original staging. This version fell somewhat flat, being more about the performances of the stars than about the irony and follies of aging. And it didn't have that same surreal quality of youth paired with age as the original production.

The Loveland sequence was nearly sublime. As the quartet was arguing with their younger selves, a curtain fell casting eerie shadows. When it fell suddenly, a brightly colored pink and red floral proscenium emerged and served as a backdrop for the sequence. This glittered with fabulous "period" costumes and the staging of the next numbers was near perfect.

Technically, there were still some kinks. The biggest occurred during Elaine Paige's performance of
I'm Still Here. Her mic and follow-spot went out sometime around, "Sorry, I thought you were Whoosis. Whatever happened to her?" It came back right as she was belting her final "I'm still here!" This, of course, led to thunderous applause from the audience and Ms Paige broke character by shaking a fist at the rafters as she walked off.

Highlights from some of the former had to inclde the performances of Mary Beth Peil (as Solange), Jayne Hoodyshell (as Hattie) and Terri White as Stella Deems. However, a soft spot for me rested with Rosalind Elias as Heidi Schiller. Her performance of
One More Kiss was glorious; yes, her voice had all of the distinct flaws that it should at 82 years old. But her performance was breathtaking and she blended perfectly with the wonderful Leah Horowitz.

The young versions of the quartet were charming and performed well.

Jan Maxwell as Phyllis really shone. The only quibble I had was with her version of
Could I Leave You. She erupted in anger, which really doesn't suit the "cold as a slab" Phyllis Stone. On the other hand, it does give one the sense that she still feels for Ben and makes reconciliation seem more plausible. The dancing boys flubbed her ending of The Story of Lucy and Jessie, which is too bad because it was clearly a highlight.

As her self-loathing husband, Ben, Ron Raines was also quite good. You could see in his performance how Ben could erupt in a breakdown that left him cold, pitiful and alone.

Danny Burstein was sublime. As Buddy, he really brought forth his pain and struggles as he slowly faced up to his predicament of being hopelessly in love with Sally.

Don't flame me, but Bernadette Peters was the weakest link in the four principals. She acted the hell out of the role of Sally. But there is no way anyone was going to believe that she was the depressed, self-described shut-in who has been letting herself and her life go for the past 30 years. Her voice was also off last night, which didn't help any; her register breaks were more apparent than I had ever heard them and she made a bad choice in
Losing My Mind to end on the high note--her voice cracked, and I don't think this was a character choice (like the emotional breakdown in the middle of the song, which felt real).

This production far out shined the revival from about 10 years ago with Judith Ivey and Blythe Danner. But the best production I saw has to be the Melrose Theater 1984 production, directed by Gene Nelson (the original Buddy); that small-scale version hit all the right notes. This current one at the Marquis Theater misses a few marks, but overall still has an impact.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Eye of Irene

So...right now we're in the eye of Irene (or what little eye there is).  Here's how things stand:

1.  Water came in under the front door and through the front door.  The door was stained with marine stain last year, but it is 82 years old and has some cracking.  Towels in the vestibule have kept problems with this to a minimum, but we're going to have to do something with the door.
2.  Water came in under the caps on the chimney.  It dripped down the chimney, collected in the living room (a small amount) and dripped through the floor into the basement by going around an electrical box.  When we cleaned up the water in the living room and put down towels and a bucket, the water stopped dripping around the electrical box (phew).  But, it continued to drip down the chimney into the basement.  Again, it's not very much, but it is collecting in buckets, large bowls and a roasting pan.  So far, no damage but we have to repair the chimney and make certain the brick doesn't need to be repointed.
3.  Dogs aren't faring to badly.  The walk this morning was fine, just very wet.  I don't understand why they stop and try to shake the water off while it's raining, but I'm not a dog and they can't tell me.  They don't seem unhappy.

Now, what's going on around here...

Some friends of ours are without power, but nothing locally, as far as I can tell.  Good thing--no power means no coffee.

One of our friends said that his neighbor's tree fell across their yard, crushing their shed, part of their new addition, trees and car.

Another of our friends was called to a fire last night (voluntary fire department) and then to work at 5 AM to direct food service, etc. at a nearby hospital.

My hospital has fared fairly well.  Some minor leaks but at the moment, no major damage or issues.

Around the neighborhood, lots of rotted branches and modest sized limbs have fallen off trees, but aside from LOTS of water, nothing too terrible.

Living room around the fireplace.  Yicky, sooty water in the bucket.

Basement with things to collect dripping water.

We'll see what happens when the winds pick up this afternoon.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Waiting for Irene

OK, like many others in the tri-state area, we are waiting around for Irene.  Hatches have been battened down, yard furniture and potential projectiles have been stored and we got some wee-wee pads for the puppies in case they can't get outside.  We have a lot of food in the house, including stuff that can be cooked on the gas stove top in case the power goes out.  Bill bought a cooler that we can load up so that we don't have to keep opening the freezer after the power goes out.  We should be okay.

But I worry.  I don't know if we're prepared enough.  Now, it looks like we won't know for sure until late tomorrow night, although the rain just started.

In the meantime, here's the map of the current path of Irene showing where we are. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My Weekend As a Movie Title

The good:
Friday night was a great night.  We went to a fundraiser for Garden State Equality to support anti-bullying and pro-marriage equality.  We had dinner with NJ State Senators Lesniak and Gordon then joined some of our Democratic friends at a local pub for drinks, laughs and more food.  I also was able to get a lot done for Thanksgiving dinner--made cornbread for the stuffing, made buttermilk bread dough for the monkey bread (first rise now in the refrigerator), readied the brine for the turkey and, most important, the lasagna that will keep me from needing to cook on Wednesday is in the freezer waiting to be devoured.  The dogs also started getting some good exercise and puppy interaction at the dog park.  Tivo really loves it but Ginger is still a little timid.

The bad:
I was on call for our Peds ID Group and it was a pretty quiet weekend, except...Saturday was the anniversary of our very good friends. We had planned to go to dinner with them but at 4:30 I got paged about a consult. Generally, not a big deal and it usually is something that can wait until the next day. But, it turns out, the order for the consult was put in at 9:15 PM on Friday but no one had notified me. As a result, if I did not see the child before 5 PM on Saturday, I would be considered negligent. I dropped what I was doing and went in to see the child, who wasn't that sick but was complicated enough that I missed dinner with our friends (Bill went and ordered for me expecting I would make it). Turns out, in addition to not being notified about the consult, the physician who was managing the patient was doing some things that were inappropriate (not putting the child at harm, thankfully). Then, to add insult to injury, my input wasn't needed because before I saw the child and put in my two cents, she was getting better.  But, getting back to the good stuff, Bill brought me dinner and I pigged out on a great burger and fries.

The Ugly:
One of the patients that I don't really know but have been hearing about for a week went to the OR this morning and ended up loosing part of his intestines.  The surgeon, also, was apparently being kind of a prick and proceeded to insult the ID services input on the case. 

Is it possible to look forward to a Monday?  I know I am looking forward to Tuesday when my dad gets here from India.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Another Week

What a week it's been. My sister had to euthanize one of her cats: she had a cardiomyopathy and a bad viral illness made recovery unlikely. Poor Maggie was misterable her final hours, but I hope she finds a peaceful rest. (Is there a cat heaven full of catnip and balls of yarn?)

My great aunt remains in the hospital. I'm not getting a lot of details (she is on the other coast) but what I hear doesn't sound to encouraging.

For me, my blood pressure is better since I gave up caffeine, but it still isn't normal. So, I yawn a lot and feel foggy longer in the morning. Is it worth it?

On the plus side, I have been to the gym 5 times in the past 7 days. It feels good to be back on a regular excercise schedule. I like the new gym (Retro-Fitness). It is large and clean; it is more crowded than the NYSC was but there's more variety of weight equipment. They could use some variety of cardio machines. Mind you, I'm not complaining. After all, I am saving $60 each month!

The weekend holds some good stuff in store. First, tonight there is a book signing (What's Love Got to Do with It) and Garden State Equality fundraiser. A lot of NJ State Senators and powerful local Democrats and progressives are going to be there. Bill and I donated some of the food (an artisanal cheese plate). After, we are going to schmooz with some of the local Democrat activists. Not certain what is in store, but it will be something fun.

Then, tomorrow, it's "up and atom". Gotta get to the grocery store early to buy some of the stuff needed for the Thanksgiving feast next week. Although I'm on call and will be spending some of the time at the hospital, I will be spending my home time doing advanced prep work, like making the brine for the turkey, the cornbread for the stuffing, the dough for the dinner roles, etc. My dad will be coming back from vacation in India and between him and our good friends (whose anniversary is tomorrow), it should be a fun, sumptious feast. I wish my sister were coming, but it just isn't the right time for her to come out from California.

Just a boring, humdrum life in the suburbs. But I love every minute of it!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

One of the finest Mozart Singers

Helen Donath is far and away one of the finest singers.  Beautiful voice and stage presence.  Here she is as Mozarrt's Susanna in Florence, 1979.  Amazingly, 30 years later, she sounds the same!