31 December 2012

The last piece of bad prose of 2012...


...from Paul Johnson's Socrates: A Man for Our Times (Penguin, 2011) in a brief discussion of why Socrates would have been "fascinated" (48) by the Parthenon project of Pericles and Phidias:

"By minute deviations from straight lines working in conjunction with arcs of wide radials in all three planes, by a slight upward curvature of the stylobate, echoes in the entablature, by thickened corner columns and double contractions of corner intercolumniations, and by other such devices the Parthenon was made to seem more 'real' and was given a sense of movement" (50).

Now, I KNOW what he's talking about, and I still got the lost the first two times I read that sentence! 

Then again, the whole book simply gets silly sometimes, like, while arguing Socrates surely must have hated slavery and surely must have "habitually questioned the justice of slavery in his conversations" (134), so much so, in fact, that Johnson surmises that, "Perhaps there is a missing dialogue, which was 'suppressed' by subsequent generations simply by the failure to have it copied -- the fate of many works society found insupportable" (133).   Yes, indeed, there MUST be a missing anti-slavery dialogue to go along with the ones against taxation without representation and drunk driving. 

When all else fails (or when there really aren't enough biographical details to write a complete biography), just make stuff up.

But then again Johnson calls Phaedo "Plato's finest work," so what can we really expect (173)?

Product Details
 
I'm just glad I finished it before 2013!
 
 
 
 
 

My 2013 is now set...



...it will be spent in writing Les Gumes, an epic musical about the tragic life of Lentyl, a woman forced to dress as a man in order to join the Navy Beans.

The musical, set against the historic struggle of both Black and White Beans to secure equality with the Green, follows Lentyl, as she drives her Pinto from Garbanzo, her hometown, to the port of Lima.  On the way, she suffers the catcalls of "Hey, Chickpea!" and "Whoot, what a Broad!"

Lentyl gets mixed up in a comic, though unsuccessful, uprising involving coffee, cacao, and jelly beans.

Along the way, we meet -- and lose -- such wonderful characters as Adzuki, the tubercular streetwalker, who after but 45 minutes (and a swell rendition of "I Have Been a Bean"!) dies in the arms of Lentyl; and Soy, who, after popping up seemingly everywhere, is killed by her lover Mesquite to harvest her kidney.

Other unforgettable songs include:

"Where's My Pulse?"

"Song of the (Great) North"

"I Couldn't Carob Less"

"The Mung I Love (Belongs to Somebody Else)"

and

"It's a Long Way to Tepary"



I hereby, with the powers vested in me, declare...

...2013 "The Year of the Candle."

We here in the Perry/Gigliotti household have gotten a jump start on the year with candles of the Orange Clove Spice and Blueberry varieties.

May all your days in the coming year be wick-ed!

Happy New Year.


I can't believe it's been eight years since we lost...

...our father.

Miss you, Dad!

16 December 2012

We are all Miss Daisy and Hoke to some extent, aren't we?



 

Sometimes it easy to think that the problems our society faces are anything but solvable. Given the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School this past Friday, for example, fearing gun violence will be forever with us weighs heavily.  And, while the American political process must confront, in an active and resolute manner, the multiple causes of such atrocities (everything from gun availability and a shrinking safety net for the mentally ill to an increasingly fractured and isolated population), real and powerful change can also happen on the personal level.
            That, in essence, is the story and power of Alfred Uhry’s Driving Miss Daisy, at Playhouse on Park, through December 23.   A good, but prejudiced, Southern woman (played by Waltrudis Buck) develops a respect and friendship (and perhaps even a love) for the African American driver (Marvin Bell) hired for her by her son (Bristol Pomeroy), when her driving skills deteriorate to an unsafe level.  Set in relief against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement, this small show focuses completely on the complicated human interactions of the three characters, as they negotiate the private and public spaces they inhabit.
            The swiftly spaced show, deftly directed by Stevie Zimmerman without an intermission, is a series of fairly short, but powerful, scenes that allow the actors plenty of room to make the audience feel the conflicted emotions that arise at any given moment from the simplest of words, actions, and reactions.
            As is so often the case at POP, the cast is marvelous.  Mr. Pomeroy's Boolie captures the love, worry, and frustration that the adult child of an aging parent inevitably feels over time.  Ms. Buck makes Daisy’s slow and difficult escape from years of prejudiced thought (or should I say thoughtless-ness?) a journey that we can understand and fully sympathize with.  And it’s just a joy to watch Mr. Bell’s Hoke Colburn almost simultaneously seethe and smile – as he pities, angers, and learns from his passenger-turned-friend.
            It’s a finely crafted small show, with a big heart and an even bigger message: We all can be changed and change the world one person at a time; all we have to do is give ourselves the chance to recognize that we’re on this trip together.   


Older daughter has been cast as Aida in her high school's production...


...of Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida.  Congratulations, and good luck, to the entire cast!

Now, what I know about Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida is absolutely nothing, but, given that it isn't the household name that, oh, Lion King is, I'm thinking the music in it probably isn't (and maybe even can't be) as good as Elton's hits with Bernie Taupin.



So why not just interpolate some of the earlier songs into the script? 
For example:

"Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting (in Nubia)"

"The Egyptian Bitch is Back"

"Goodbye, Yellow Brick Pyramid"

"Amneris and the Jets"

"Your Hieroglyph"

"I Guess that's Why They Call it the Nile."

"Don't Let Ra, the Sun God, Go Down on Me"

"Some Egyptian Saved My Life Tonight"

and

"Empty Garden (Hey, Hey, Radames)"

10 December 2012

Two things I've learned about myself today....


1) While I normally, and quite happily, hold doors open for people who are trailing behind me (and sometimes, at the University, for instance, for a people fairly far behind me -- or even almost full flight of stairs below me), I'm significantly less inclined to wait at all for someone who is texting or somehow engaged in electronic communication and not looking ahead.

2) While I would -- and have -- purchased picture frames with pictures of people far more attractive than myself, I'd never buy a frame with a picture depicting people having more fun than I'm likely ever to have.

09 December 2012

The Singing Gigliotti Girls

Younger Daughter, early AM, 12/8/12



Older Daughter, PM, 12/8/12







07 December 2012

It's Pearl Harbor Day, which got me to thinking...

...that, in my opinion, no war up to 1945, had better music than World War II. 

The question now, however, is:

Which war had a better soundtrack: WWII or Vietnam?
 
Discuss.

03 December 2012

Calling Dr. Freud...


I'm assuming that, if I can learn about myself by examining my dreams, then the songs I sing regularly in the shower could be self-revelatory too.



Here are the three songs, any one of which, far more often than not in the morning, I'm singing in the shower:

"Mean to Me" (Frank Sinatra, Columbia Records, 1947)



"Oh, Darling" (The Beatles, Abbey Road, 1969)


and

"Shoulder Holster" (Elton John, Blue Moves, 1976)



A sonic Rorschach test, to be sure (to mix my metaphorical psychoanalytsts).