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13 February 2018 @ 12:40 pm
Another Busy Week  
Celebrity Death Watch: John Mahoney was an actor, best known for his role on Frasier. Alan Baker was a mathematician, who focused on number theory and won the Fields Medal. Craig MacGregor played bass for Foghat. John Gavin was an actor who was in several classic films and later became ambassador to Mexico. Reg E. Cathey was primarily a television actor, who won 3 Emmys for performing in House of Cards.. Jan Maxwell was a musical actress, who I saw perform as Phyllis in the Kennedy Center production of Follies. Vic Damone was a pop singer, who had a number of hits in the late 1940’s and throughout the 1950’s. Marty Allen was a comedian.

John Perry Barlow was a lyricist for the Grateful Dead and an internet activist, particularly notable for co-founding the Electronic Frontier Foundation. I also recommend his List of 25 Principles of Adult Behavior though I will admit to not being entirely convinced of all of them. I don’t think love forgives everything. Nor do I think that mission is necessarily more important than happiness I do think that, however, that "Concern yourself with what is right rather than who is right" is good advice.

Happy Birthday, Neptune: My beloved blue-green Saturn, named Neptune because I am a space geek, officially turned 24 this week. That merited a present, in the form of a radiator flush (along with a slightly overdue oil change).

Joe Biden: Tuesday night, I went to hear Joe Biden talk at The Anthem. This is a newish venue at the District Wharf. (Actually, the whole wharf is newish.) Their directions were somewhat confusing, as the signs they said to follow were invisible so far as I could tell. Anyway, I got there in plenty of time. There was also some confusion over seating as the usher managed not to realize that the seat numbers were repeated in different sections.

Anyway, the format was Biden being interviewed by William S. Cohen, former Senator from Maine (and former Secretary of Defense). The whole thing is somewhat of a book tour, and everybody was given a copy of Biden’s recent book, Promise Me, Dad. But I gathered that there is an ulterior motive of stirring up interest in him making another bid for the presidency. I’d rather he didn’t, largely because of his age, but also because of his long-running tendency towards hoof-in-mouth disease, i.e. frequent gaffes. He didn’t make any particular gaffes that evening, though I was irritated at one of his vocal tics, man. What I did like was his emphasis on collegiality and his examples of being able to have friendships across political lines. Overall, I was glad I went, though the ticket was more expensive than it should have been.

Book Launch:Thursday night involved another book-related event. Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi is a young adult novel that has been getting a lot of buzz in the puzzle community. It was easy enough for me to go to the launch party at Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle. The place was packed and I believe that they even ran out of copies of the book. Ahmadi was interviewed by political journalist Ema O’Connor and joined by Azaf Nafisi, who wrote Reading Lolita in Tehran. Crosswords, alas, only got discussed at the very end in response to a question. (Cruciverbalist Finn Vigeland was Ahmadi’s college roommate, by the way.) There was a lot more about being a child of immigrants and, specifically, the Iranian community. It was an interesting discussion, and I expect I will have more to say after I’ve finished reading the book.

See Rock City: I saw the Washington Stage Guild production of See Rock City on Friday night. I was a little hesitant about it being the second play in a trilogy since I hadn’t seen Last Train to Nibroc, but it was fairly easy to figure out enough of the background for this one to make sense. The play involves a young couple, back from a belated honeymoon during the latter days of World War II. The play involves the twists in life (starting with their failure to make it to Rock City) amid the pressures first from the war and later from its ending, both of which disrupt their lives in unexpected ways. The most immediate pressure has to do with their mothers. May’s mother, who they live with, is cheerful and supportive, while Raleigh’s mother refuses to accept both his ambitions and his physical limitations. I’m hoping they do the third play next year, as I’d really love to know how everything works out.

4,380 Days: I continued my theatre-going by seeing 4,380 Days at Signature Theatre on Saturday. This is a complex political play by Annalisa Dias, part of the Women’s Voices Theatre Festival. The story is about an Algerian man being held without charges at Guantanamo. It’s mixed in with stories of the fall of the Numidians during the Punic Wars and of an atrocity committed by a French colonel during the conquest of Algeria. The prisoner, Malik, tells his story to his lawyer and the two men strive to understand each other and the horror and tragedy of his imprisonment. The ancient history is told by a character named The Woman and her situation, including her relationship to The Man (who she tells this to) is confusing and somewhat distracting. I thought that part might actually be the hallucinations that Malik has a result of the sleep deprivation he suffers, but none of the reviews I read drew that conclusion.

Anyway, this is a powerful and disturbing piece. There is a particularly brutal scene right before the intermission and I think that scene may have been why about a quarter of the audience didn’t come back from the intermission. For those who did stay, there was a lot of discussion after it was over. I’ll recommend it to people who can handle a provocative piece.

Other Stuff: I am swamped with housework. And work work. I did get various chores done during part of the weekend, as well as going to rehearsal for an upcoming storytelling show. (Bottom line, which I knew already, is that my story needs more story work.) Too bad I need to do things like sleeping, too.

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