The Compass Rose – Irish Theater Festival in New York

In a big city known for big-name theater, it is a pleasure to find something of quality not so hyped. 
CompassRose-Graphic-web600pixThe Compass Rosea simple story of lost love, is set in a bar and staged in the very same – Ryan’s Daughter Pub on the Upper East Side Compass Rose (1)The characters, a pair of ex-lovers, walk back and forth through the audience as they attempt to decipher their past.Compass Rose (4)It is visceral theater, well worth the $18; the house ale, at $5, is a fair price too.

Judging Politicians for all the Wrong Reasons

In 1989, President Bush nominated John Tower for Secretary of Defense, an appointment that the press and public attacked not because of his hawkish politics but for his reputation as a womanizer and drinker.John TowerA similar fate met Gary Hart in his 1987 presidential bid.gary hartAnthony Weiner’s candidacy for New York City mayor flopped for the same reasons. sydney leathersNone of these people were judged on their public policy, but on their private indiscretions. I don’t understand why, beyond his family and friends, anyone cares. Indeed what if the same skewed thinking had been applied to two American icons – JFK & MLK – for their weaknesses for the fairer sex?.

Marilyn Monroe offers her birthday wishes to JFK

Marilyn Monroe offers her birthday wishes to JFK

What if their indiscretions had been made public while they were alive? Would they have been cast from office?

Consider this pop quiz: Which of the following personalities would you vote for?

Candidate A drinks a quart of brandy every day and is a habitual smoker.drinkerCandidate B has had a long-standing extramarital affair and believes in the occult.witchCandidate C neither smokes nor drinks and is a vegetarian.
woman with bare shoulders holding vegetable

Yes, of course it’s a trick. That’s the point. (A: Winston Churchill, B: FDR, C: Adolf Hitler)

Remembering 9/11: Excerpt from “All In”

It was that plane – that was it – vanishing, a plane into a building and then that smoke billowing out, that sideways hole, and the other, turning as it hit, nose out perfectly and fireballs, screaming on the ground and crap everywhere and watching and watching, the building coming down, its radio antennae like a hat, a boy’s hat, and puffing out, all of it sinking, the dust of it, bits sticking up. space view 911And then everyone saying childish things because that’s all they had and listening and waiting for better angles and thinking it might mean something, to give it meaning, something like this, this thing, impossible and obvious, and not doing anything, just watching, footage, pictures, and thinking that it must be something. 9-11. A phone number, nothing. * (*From All In)

The Direct and Likeable Nature of Buzz Aldrin

Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin wrote in his autobiography Return to Earth: I am a very direct person: when I have a goal, it is stated. apollo_11_buzz_aldrinHe underlined this point of view with a right to the jaw of a conspiracy crackpot who wouldn’t stop badgering him with a bible in 2009. s-BUZZ-ALDRIN-PUNCHES-MAN-largeNo charges were filed as it was determined that Aldrin was provoked.

Travels of an Arctic Hare, Part Five: Dling Feigns

Dling stayed still, making himself as small as he could.

“Little bunny?”

Dling dashed from his oil barrel trap, straight through Maggie’s wobbly legs.

“There he goes!” hare runAbraham charged after him, his breath coming out in burps and phlegm. Dling darted through the Arctic Willow and Bearberry, spun through the boulders along a long ridge and to another great beach. IMG_3334He leaped between ice chunks, his paws slipping and skidding, and caught the edge of a small iceberg and climbed to its tiny shoulder. Abraham steamed into the water, old and stumbling, and pulled himself onto the iceberg; he had a gun. “Rabbit!” rifleDling knew that he was in trouble and that shrinking himself down wouldn’t be enough. He sprang onto the open ice, exposed to the vastness, and seeing Abraham barreling after him, collapsed and feigned death. hare rolling“Careful out there, Abraham!” Maggie screeched. “That ice is no good.”

“I know what I’m doing!” Abraham slid his feet out, creeping along the edge, wheezing and burping, and was right there.

“Watch that bunny! He’s a sneaky little bastard!”

“I know it.” Abraham reached out to grab Dling, the hairy crooked fingers just touching his paw, when the ice broke. IMG_3415Abraham was in the water, thrashing and gasping. Dling jumped away and clicked his teeth in excitement; that was his hare laugh.

“You little bastard! You little rotten bunny!” Maggie waved her white wobbly arms. “I’ll get you!”

The water stayed dark. Abraham never came up. And Maggie cried after him. “Abraham! Don’t leave me here!”

Dling hopped along the open ice, balanced himself across the gaps and climbed to the next iceberg to consider his happiness once again.IMG_3312

Travels of an Arctic Hare, Part Four: Dling Goes Off

Dling, the Arctic Hare, drifted on his iceberg for days and days. It was always light.IMG_3217He was happy tucked alone into his icy alcove, watching the world drift past, but thought too much about what happiness really was and that made him less happy than when he had started thinking about it. The iceberg became caught on the rocky bottom and so Dling got off. The beach was long and rocky. Pieces of ice lined the sand. IMG_3414He sat in the sun, thinking, and the whole issue of happiness came up again, and so he ran up the steep sandy slopes to get his head to shut up. He scurried up through the  Arctic Willow and Bearberry. IMG_3402He climbed and ran around the boulders and darted through a long line of oil barrels that went and found himself face to face with a wobbly looking old woman. “Hello, little bunny.” IMG_3411Dling shrunk himself down.

“You’re a funny bunny. A funny bunny! Don’t be scared, funny bunny. I’m your friend.. My name’s Maggie. What’s yours?”

“What you got there?” A scratchy squeaky voice asked behind her.

“It’s a bunny! A funny bunny.”

“Get him in here.”

“He’s scared.” She turned back to Dling. “Aren’t you?” kijohare

“It’s okay, funny bunny. You can come join us when you like. You can have some nice warm willow soup.”

Dling didn’t move. He didn’t even like willow soup. Maggie’s big face vanished. But Dling could still hear her whisper. “He’s scared.”

“Of course he’s scared, Margaret. He’s a rabbit. He knows we’re going to eat him.”

“Shh. You have to be quiet, Abraham.”

“I am being quiet.”

Dling backed straight slowly away and then realized he was trapped. IMAG2918The oil barrels were everywhere.


Bathroom Graffiti

I’m not a fan of graffiti because it makes things look generally worse.

Ilulissat, Greenland

Ilulissat, Greenland

However, the one exception to this aesthetic is the public bathroom.

Hank's Saloon, Brooklyn

Hank’s Saloon, Brooklyn

While many scrawls are crude and offensive,they seem to enhance the environment.

Clinton, New Jersey

Clinton, New Jersey

And they give you something to read.

The Aquarium, Fargo, ND

The Aquarium, Fargo, ND