Friday, May 20, 2016

Smarty Pants

Thank Imperiex It's Friday!

"My favorite TV show? The Big Bang Theory, of course!"

Idiotic AF

One of the most tiresome aspects of progressive rhetoric is the constant insistence that conservatives are stupid and progressives are smart. The progressive echo chamber in the mainstream media never misses a chance to pounce on this talking point, as it did when Dan Quayle misspelled potato, or when George H.W. Bush seemed amazed by a grocery scanner.

Of course, when then-candidate Obama claimed to have visited 57 states and as president habitually mispronounces simple words, those are treated as mere slips of the tongue by the smartest man ever to become president.

Today, black-eyed skank Hillary Clinton sent out the above message on her Twitter account. Clearly neither she nor her subordinates have the slightest idea how a simple Venn diagram works.

Of course, you won't hear a peep about this laughable blunder from any mainstream media outlets. If Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio or Carly Fiorina or any other conservative public figure had done it, it would dominate the news cycle for days.

"I never went to high school, but even I know that's pretty messed up."

Yes, yes it is...

Wild Kingdom Bed & Breakfast Update

"Just checkin' the place out, for now."
Part of the fun of running the B&B is spotting a new species when it drops by for a visit. Not long ago I spotted a small, unfamiliar black bird having a snack, but it flew off before I got a good look.

It was way too small to be a grackle, but from a distance that is what it most resembled. It wasn't until he visited on a sunny day that the color of his head identified him as a male brown-headed cowbird.

He's only been by a few times, so the B&B must not be especially close to wherever he hangs out. So far, only the male has visited...

Call a Tow Truck

From the pen of Henry Payne, whose editorial cartoons you should read often, as I do.

Until Next Time...

Although my dearest friend died on May 19, 2008 I didn't actually find out until the next day, when a mutual friend called me with the news. It was a Tuesday afternoon, not long after school had released for the day. The call was routed to the phone in my classroom, and I knew as soon as the caller identified himself that it was not going to be good news.

Yesterday's blog entry was a celebration of our friendship, but I purposefully omitted any music from his favorite group, saving that for today. I listened to Matt's favorite band for hours on the night I heard the news of his death, but I was in such denial that I didn't cry at all. That catharsis would come later in the week, at his funeral Mass in St. Joseph.

Pearl Jam's debut album, Ten, was released in 1991, but I had never heard of the band or the album until Matt convinced me to listen to it in 1995, not long after we first met.

There were a number of successful singles released from the album, but my favorite song was the least-successful of them, commercially. "Alive" is now considered one of the classic songs of the era, though.

It was Matt's idea to play "Alive" through LeBlond's sound system after the closing night performance of a show, as the signal to start "the chair trick," where the cast and crew would try to get the metal folding chairs flat on the gym floor (for loading on the storage carts kept under the stage) as quickly as possible. It became not only a tradition but a spirited competition, as each show's cast and crew tried to break the previous record...

Today's first send-off is the band's official video for "Alive." It is a live performance of the song filmed at a concert in Seattle on August 3, 1991. Enjoy...

Matt was a true fan of the band, and as a result was a completist with regard to their recordings. One of his favorite Pearl Jam songs was "Yellow Ledbetter," a song which was recorded for the Ten album but not included on it.

It was released as the "B" side of the "Jeremy" single, and in those days you could still buy CD singles in record stores, so of course Matt bought one just to get this song. 

"Yellow Ledbetter" wasn't included on a Pearl Jam album until 2003's Lost Dogs
a two-disc collection of "B" sides and unreleased material.

There are several theories among Pearl Jam fans regarding what the song is "about," and clarity on the issue is not aided by lead singer Eddie Vedder's habit of changing the lyrics often during live performances (for many years the song was the final one on most Pearl jam set lists).

In the end, Matt liked the song in part because of the music, and in part because of the wistful sense of loss the lyrics conveyed. The song might not actually be about the death of a loved one, but that's way he "heard" the song, and thus that's how I "hear" it also.

Today's second send-off is the original studio version of the song paired with an imaginative video. Enjoy...

In the fall of 1998, I was finally able to direct a production of Flowers for Algernon
a play I first saw in high school, and one which sparked my interest in theatre. When 
I first began directing plays at Bishop LeBlond in 1995, I requested the rights to mount 
a production of Flowers, but was turned down (another nearby school had just done a production of it).

That disappointment turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as the 1998 production, in which Matt played the grueling lead role, was a tremendous success.

It was also the source of the only real fight we had in the 13 years of our acquaintance.

I had been struggling to find just the right piece of music to play during the show's final scene (when Charlie places the flowers on Algernon's grave), and hadn't found anything I was entirely happy with.

Because it was his senior year, and therefore his final Fall Drama, Matt had taken on a rather active role in the details of the production. He even joked sometimes that he was the director, while I was only the producer!

Matt kept trying to get me to listen to a Pearl Jam song he thought would be "perfect" for the final scene, but of course I resisted the idea in part because as a director I was something of a "control enthusiast," and in part because I couldn't imagine how a Pearl Jam song could possibly fit that poignant moment in the show.

We eventually had a noisy blowup about it in my classroom, in front of a couple of other cast members, complete with the angry slamming of doors.

When I eventually calmed down, I decided that Matt was only pressing so hard because this was his "senior showcase" role, and he wanted everything about the show to be perfect. Turns out he was something of a "control enthusiast," too. Go figure.

He was also absolutely right about the song. After he had stormed off, I sat down in my office, put the CD in the player, closed my eyes and conjured the final scene just the way I wanted it to look, and pushed "Play." By the time the song had ended, I was in tears. 
It was the perfect song for the ending I had envisioned, and the response of both the opening and closing night audiences confirmed Matt's excellent judgment.

For the rest of the time I knew him, I would bounce ideas for shows I was directing off of him, and listen to his suggestions. Whenever I balked at one of his ideas, of course, he would mention that he had been right about the song for the Algernon finale. Actually, he would bring that up any time I questioned his judgment on just about anything, even if it had nothing to do with show business...

The song "Nothingman" was included on Pearl Jam's Vitalogy album, their third. For many years after Matt's death, I simply couldn't listen to the song (and picked something else when I directed another production of Algernon in 2010). Even now, it is something I do only on rare occasions. Matt would probably say that's because it reminds me that he was right and I was wrong about whether the song would work for the finale...

Today's final send-off is the original album track. When I close my eyes I can still see the way we ended that show, as the lights slowly faded to black...

No comments:

Post a Comment