Jacques Chirac was a former prime minister and President of France. I read that this also made him co-prince of Andorra during that time, which is a cool bit of trivia.
Stephen Lukasik was a physicist who led DARPA and the FCC at various times. He played a key role in development and deployment of ARPANET, as well as supporting technology development related to nuclear device development, computer networking, and AI.
Diahann Carroll was the first black women to win a Tony for best actress in musical (for her performance in No Strings), though she was better known for the television series, Julia.
Ginger Baker was the drummer for Cream. He was probably the most influential rock drummer for my generation, spectacular for his use of jazz and African rhythms.
Work Stress: I had a tedious business trip the week before last. Then I was out of the office for a couple of days for Rosh Hashanah. I came back to trying to catch up on paperwork related to the project the trip was for. I need to get caught up on my actual job, but I suspect this other project is going to have lots of follow-up questions here and there, which I will get sucked into.
One Item re: Hotels: I stayed at an airport hotel the last night of the business trip, since I had an early flight. They charged for parking and claimed the room key would open the gate. Let’s just say it was less than obvious where to swipe the card to do so. Eventually, someone came and helped me, but the whole thing was annoying and could have easily been prevented if they had a light allowing the target to be seen at 5 a.m.
Old School Storytelling: I got back in time for a Friday night storytelling show. Which is a good thing, since I was one of the tellers. My story had to do with Class Nite, which was a big deal annual event when I was in high school. This involved a competition between the classes, with events ranging from decorations and costumes, to a song and skit, to assorted sports (basketball, volleyball, various races, tugs of war, and something called cage ball. All I remember about the latter is that it involved a ball and a cage.) The thing is that it was all rigged, so that the seniors won, followed by the juniors, sophomores, and freshman. Of course, we believed it was a fair competition, since it was the 1970’s when we still believed that Russian figure skating judges were unbiased. Anyway, the story went okay, but I was disappointed in it, largely because I don’t think I ever really figured out what the point of the story was, beyond making fun of silly things from my youth.
Speaking of Storytelling, It’s Shameless Self-Promotion Time: I’m in a show this coming Thursday night (October 10th) as part of the Fall for the Book Festival. It’s at The Auld Shebeen (3971 Chain Bridge Rd, Fairfax, VA – entrance downstairs, via North Street) at 7:00 p.m. And it’s Free! The theme is True Lies: Lies and the lying liars who tell them.
Rosh Hashanah: I was not very into it this year. I have plenty of personal issues I need to work on, but having a hard time focusing and prioritizing. This is my usual issue with having trouble doing one thing at a time. I did take advantage of some introspection time. There’s something I should say about how ritual helps with that, but I am not quite sure how to articulate that.
Disenchanted: I finished off last week (i.e. three days in the office writing up stuff from the previous week) by going out to dinner and the theatre with a couple of friends. The dinner part was at Pizzeria Orso, chosen for convenience to the theatre part at Creative Cauldron. I should have gotten pizza, but saw eggplant parmesan on the menu and thought it would be a good idea. I was wrong. It was okay, but not as good as I can do myself. (Assuming, of course, that I wasn’t too lazy to make It myself.)
As for the theatre, Disenchanted is a musical by a man named Dennis T. Giacino about Disney princesses. Essentially, each of the princesses (led by Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty) gets to sing a song about what is screwed up in their story. The pieces I thought best were "Without a Guy" (in which Hua Mulan wonders if she might be a lesbian since she is the only princess who doesn’t end up with a prince), "Finally" (in which the Princess Who Kissed the Frog sings about the commercial potential of a black princess), and "Perfect" (in which the chubby Sleeping Beauty explains that she is just fine as she is). The show was reasonably amusing, but the music was unmemorable and it was a bit raunchier than I was expecting. It was still worth the evening out, but could have been much better.
My friends were appalled afterwards when I told them that the Princess doesn't really kiss the frog - she throws him against the wall. As for Sleeping Beauty, her Prince rapes her and what wakes her up is the pain of childbirth.
WBRS Reception: Sunday night was a William Barton Rogers Society reception at the Cosmos Club. (WBRS has to do with giving $$$$ to MIT.) The speaker was Richard Binzel who talked about NASA deep space projects he (and his students) have been involved in. He was informative and entertaining. Overall, it was a pleasant evening out in a ritzy setting.
Don’t Brits Know the Alphabet? I sometimes watch semi-mindless television in the form of British quiz shows. While they are slightly less mindless than American game shows, I have found something really puzzling. Some games on a show from 2012ish called Five Minutes To a Fortune have people figuring out answers by seeing a series of letters and having to come up with an answer by shifting each letter one to the right. So, for example, if the category were animals, the answer DOG would be obtained from the sequence C N F. I am astounded by how many contestants could not grasp the concept and do this.
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