Lee Wochner: Writer. Director. Writing instructor. Thinker about things.


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The question that keeps me up all night

July 2nd, 2019

No, it’s not about one’s place in the universe. It’s this:  Why can’t I sleep tonight?

For me, at least, it seems completely unrelated to stress — because I sleep poorly most nights, and most days (pretty much all days) are good days.

Some common causes to eliminate:

  • I don’t do a lot of blue-screen viewing before bed (I read for an hour or so)
  • I don’t ingest sugary snacks or things with caffeine late at night
  • I get plenty of exercise: I go to the gym every other day, and do plenty of walking the rest of the week
  • I drink very little alcohol any more, and none right before bed
  • I don’t stay up all night worrying, because Stoicism has taught me that there’s nothing I can do about most of those things anyway

I actually think it’s mostly this:  excitement. Voltaire said (and I’m paraphrasing here) that Man is basically optimistic because he goes to bed every night making plans for the next day. That’s me for sure. There are things to do, and I’m looking forward to them.

That doesn’t feel so great, though, the next morning. This morning I got up at 7:30 so that I could go get some blood drawn. It would’ve been nice to get more than three-and-a-half hours of sleep before that. When you’re getting blood drawn for lots of routine testing, you have to fast for at least eight hours before. So you know what else would’ve been nice? Being able to have a cup of coffee after those 3.5 hours of sleep.

Tonight was going to be my gym night. Now I’m thinking I may have to change my plans — at this point right now, I can’t quite see benching weights later. So, instead, my plan is to read an especially dull book to see if that’ll help.

Except:  Watch me get too caught up in it. And then be up all night.

Not-great literature

July 1st, 2019

Orla Ryan writes in The Financial Times about the benefits of reading trash.

This seems true:

Read, say, Kerry Katona’s life story and you learn about a child so deprived she sold her pet parrot to buy tampons. Read a book written to sell rather than to indulge the author and you get less of the impressive wordplay, but great stories and sharply executed plots.

Yes. But. As I wrote here yesterday, those just slide off.

This is particular statement is particularly about her:

I am busy. I can no longer disappear into the Russian steppes for days on end. I have less time for intellectual self-improvement and more interest in escapism in the form of thrillers, chick-lit and celebrity biographies.

To which I’d reply:  In every day, you have the same amount of time as everyone else. And we’re all busy.

So while I find her piece threaded with excuses, it seems that she makes reading lowbrow lit sound like a guilty pleasure. But part of the joy of reading lies precisely in the back-and-forth between highbrow and lowbrow. The Superman comics I was reading last night were immensely clever and fun — but so, in a different way, was the collection of essays from a British museum director about the joys to be found in the crumbling palaces of ancient Rome, Sicily, Zanzibar and elsewhere.

Nobody is making her choose.

Great literature

June 30th, 2019

TheTerrorI don’t spend a lot of time trying to discern the difference between great literature and everyday entertainment. I read all sorts of things, sliding on an average day between, say, the novel I’m reading, the non-fiction book I’m reading simultaneously, whatever’s in that week’s New Yorker, assorted comic books both old and new, and other magazines and newspapers.

I do hold onto one personal theory, though:  great literature sticks with you, while entertainment slides off more easily.

Case in point:  About 15 years ago, I read a novel by Brad Meltzer. I had met Mr. Meltzer, a best-selling novelist who also happened at that time to be writing comic books, at the San Diego Comic-Con. A very nice guy, he gave me one of his novels, a thriller about two brothers who happened to somehow come across a load of cash. I read the book, as they say, cover-to-cover, in about… I don’t know… a week or two. It was gripping, fast-paced, enormously enjoyable, and completely forgettable. The limited plot summary I just gave you is the extent of what I can remember about it. Beyond that? Nothing. I can’t even remember the title. Hang on, I’ll go check Wikipedia. … OK, I’m back. I still didn’t recognize any of the titles. I had to read the summaries online. The book I’m talking about is The Millionaires. Every chapter end was a cliffhanger, in the style of those great pulp novels of the 1930s and 1940s, and as with those novels, of which I read probably 50, I now can’t remember any of it.

Contrast that with:  The Road (Cormac McCarthy) or Tender is the Night (Fitzgerald) or The Canterbury Tales or Shakespeare or 1984 or any of hundreds or thousands of other things I’ve read. The difference is that the plot isn’t the point. It’s what lies beneath the plot; it’s the theme that makes up the entire point of the enterprise.

That’s what I’m getting at in my workshop, Words That Speak, when I ask the playwrights, “What’s this play about?” I’m not asking in terms of plot — I’m asking in terms of theme. Because it’s got to be about something, and not just about what happens.

What brings this to mind is the novel The Terror, which I finished reading at 3 this morning, all 771 pages of it. As I read this book about a true-life polar expedition that got trapped in arctic ice in 1845, which I had never intended to read, and which I had picked up thinking it was a thriller of sorts, the sensation started to grow in me that this was not only not a thriller, and not only not just literature, it was great literature. The list is short of contemporary novels that make up great literature;  you saw me put The Road on that list; I’d put The Sense of an Ending (Julian Barnes) on that list as well, and then I’d have to think about it. What makes The Terror great literature is that it is not purely restricted to the issue-at-hand of the men’s survival; no, it occurred to me somewhere after page 700 as I began to wonder just why this novel was so engrossing, so impossible to put down, urging me forward to read 20 or 30 or 50 pages every night, sometimes staying up hours later than I should have, that this is a novel about the natural order — about man’s place in the universe, and of each individual’s place in his own natural order, his own life. The novel takes beautiful turns and, as one reviewer noted, is oddly optimistic for such a bleak tale of men freezing and dying in horrible ways in an icebound climate with little hope of rescue.

But the particular reason I bring this up is that, after finishing the book and still caught in its afterglow sometime around 3 a.m., I decided to go online and read the New York Times’ review from the book’s publication date of 2007. It’s a bad review. Here’s the concluding bit:

When a novel goes north of, say, 600 pages, we naturally become impatient, demanding, potentially mutinous, and the questions we ask of the writer can turn testy: Where are we going and why, and will the whole grueling experience be worth it? Or are we just stuck in something we can’t seem to get out of?

Oh, I realized. The fault in this review lies with the reviewer, who never adjusted his expectation. And I wonder if he ever got past those 600 pages — because it’s past those 600 that the depth and extent of this work comes clearly into view. The reviewer expected it to be a thriller. But it isn’t. It’s great literature.

It’s important to know the difference.

Now, today, I’m back to reading Action Comics for a while. I don’t expect it to enter the literary canon.

Special appearances

June 29th, 2019

Last August, I was unexpectedly invited to a private friends-and-family music festival Robert Wheeler and his wife Linda decided to throw on their farm by the river back in the outskirts of Milan, Ohio. I had met Robert, the synthesizer and theremin player for the world’s greatest band (that would be Pere Ubu) online a year or two earlier, and he knew I’d gone to their shows here in LA for decades, and then down to San Diego to see them on their most recent tour, and then went last spring to London expressly to see the only play date on their tour to feature all nine members who appeared on the most recent album. So for the third time in a year, I got on a plane to see the band — because who wouldn’t want to go see the world’s best band in a private concert on a farm long held by the family of Thomas Edison’s sister? I wouldn’t have missed that for anything.  I wrote about that trip, and that incredible homespun music festival here.

Last Saturday, a smaller, and very LA version of something similar played out here and I got to go again. And again, it was thanks to the internet.

Just before Christmas last year, I was reading the reviews of holiday albums posted by Rolling Stone online. Every year, I like to buy a new holiday album just to bring some new spark to the Christmas festivities. I had already bought The Monkees’ Christmas album, hoping for a repeat of their true final album, the sensational Good Times!, but was disappointed to learn that essentially it was two solo albums (Micky and Mike) sutured together with one abominable performance by the ailing and soon to be deceased Peter Tork. While it had its bright spots, it so hit-and-miss that I couldn’t imagine playing it when friends came over. So I was looking for another.

KringleTingleThe artwork for this one stood out, as did its title:  “The Kringle Tingle.”  Here’s the review, courtesy of Rolling Stone:

I look them up and see the words “country soul” and “swamp funk.”  A strong start with covers of “Linus & Lucy” and “Santa’s Got A Brand New Bag” and I love the sound of the horns.  It really kicks in with the original “Christmas Time In Bossier City” which feels like a song every radio DJ should be adding to their holiday broadcasts, it’s like the ghosts of vintage Springsteen and Van Morrison conspired to create a melancholy new holiday classic with some meat on the bone.  “Don’t Go Chasing Santa Claus” is a straight-up TLC spoof, believe it or not, and is the more festive option for that holiday party playlist.  “Santa Comes To Atlanta” is another original that is goddamn lovely.  Fuck it, I start skipping ahead a little, not because I am bored but because I am confident this is a solid record.  Good covers throughout, nothing too obvious, and even better originals.

So I sample it online, can’t believe how great this sounds — how incredibly fun and energetic and soulful and just filled with the joy of being alive, so I buy it. And then, from Christmas straight into January, I listen to it over and over and over and over and over again, knowing nothing about “Shinyribs” (is that a person? and band?) but loving every instant of it and wondering how the hell it wound up at NUMBER 50 on the list of 50 new Christmas Albums in a review that damned it with faint praise. If it shouldn’t have been number one, it still merited a ranking higher than FIFTY.

Come March, I’m on my way to another godforsaken dental appointment, wondering how terrible this one will be, and I’m listening to music on shuffle in my car, and damn if a track from this album did come up. Magically, I suddenly felt better. Sure, at some point I might have whole suspension bridges erected inside my mouth, but there will always be Shinyribs music, and it will always perk me up. Feeling extremely moved by music — as it is the job of music to do — I look up the Shinyribs website to see where and when they or he is going to play and see that it’s usually Texas (that’s where Shinyribs is from), and consider a trip to Texas, and wonder how I can wrap it up in some business work to write off the trip, but then I realize this is unrealistic for now given my schedule, but I do see evidence of a West Coast tour! I look at the dates… but somehow, inconceivably, there are no Los Angeles dates. Not a one. A little chastened, I find Shinyribs on Twitter, post a heartfelt tweet about how great the music is and how sad I am to see no play date in LA, but optimistically offer that at some point I look forward to coming down to Texas to see the show. Shortly thereafter, I get this unexpected private message:

Screen Shot 2019-06-29 at 10.45.36 PM

 

I couldn’t believe my good fortune! The kindness and generosity of these musicians and, in 2019, their lack of paranoia about my possibly being a nut job, still floors me. My business partner says that when you put something out into the universe, it comes back to you — so, yes, they are responding to my love for their music. But still:  They’re taking a risk on me.

As the date drew closer, and I exchanged a few more messages with Kevin Russell, the lead singer and guitarist of Shinyribs (yes, it’s a band), and after I’d watched all of their videos online and bought more of their music, this was sent to me:

IMG_2195

And that’s how my wife and I happened to be at a private backyard concert last Saturday, hoo-dooing with Shinyribs and about 50 strangers. Everyone we met was nice, the food and drink and hospitality of the host were incomparable, as promised we brought a nice gift for said host, and we had an absolutely awesome time. My wife said of the band, “They’re in the business of joy.”

My wife Valorie, Kevin Russell of Shinyribs, and me

My wife Valorie, Kevin Russell of Shinyribs, and me

The video snippet above unfortunately doesn’t include Kevin’s soulful, energetic, singing. But it does give you a taste of the band, which is in my mind somehow related to the band Little Feat, with similar energy but more heat. If this is how good they sound at a backyard function, imagine how great they were on Austin City Limits. (Or:  go watch to it.)

Two nights ago, my wife and I went to see Eddie Izzard at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. Throughout the show, Izzard says you’d better make your life an adventure. I do my best to enjoy every day, and to help other people enjoy theirs if I can. But I will always remain dumbstruck by the sheer luck I’ve had throughout my life in meeting tremendously talented people who are also generous enough to invite me to things like this.

Outcomes

June 20th, 2019

Yesterday, exasperated in a discussion with someone who has all sorts of advantages but told me he didn’t “have any meaning” in his life, I posted this on Facebook:  “A meaningful life comes from helping others. It isn’t fucking complicated.”

As of now, I’ve got 119 people agreeing with that on Facebook, and lots of comments.

No, Moses didn’t come down off the mountain with a third tablet intended for each and every one of us with a secret message giving us a life mission. If you’re waiting for something like that, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. But the life mission of most mammals is clear:  help each other. If you keep a keen eye out you’ll see it, certainly in dogs but also in rodents and birds and most warm-blooded animals.

The other thing I had to say, when I was tired of hearing the same complaint, the complaint of seven years now, from someone so close to me, was this:  a good life is made up of daily actions. Sitting around and agonizing about your misery isn’t going to get you anywhere. If you truly have some misery, you’re entitled to do some of that — but I’d much rather take the example of my beloved oldest brother, who has a terrible case of Parkinson’s disease but who hasn’t complained about it once. He has noted, as the years have passed, the things he can’t do — when I saw him two months ago he said he had to use an iPad to read now because he can no longer turn pages, and he’s shared other circumstances like that, and I can see how unsteady he is in walking or moving in general — but an actual complaint? No. Not one that I’ve heard. And I would think, given how debilitating this has been for a formerly very healthy and vibrant man, that this has been extremely frustrating, and that he’s earned the right to complain.

But, no. Instead, someone who is healthy and young is the one moaning about meaninglessness. Let me add this:  Camus and Sartre may have had their doubts about meaning, too — but at least they wrote books about it.

Allow me a moment to put a brighter spin on this.

This morning, I was the moderator at the Hollywood Economic Summit for a panel discussion about the intersection of live entertainment and economic impact. This is a topic I’ve been talking about, in one way or another, for more than 25 years. Ask any restaurant owner next to a theatre what business is like on a performance night, versus business on a dark night; add into that the parking lots, and cocktail lounges, and even babysitters, and certainly the cast and crew, and the vendors associated with the production, and you start to get a picture. The Pantages Theatre in Hollywood will see 850,000 people this year. That’s a lot of people, bringing a lot of money to Hollywood, and that’s just one example.

After the panel, a guy stopped me at the door and said, “Lee, you may not remember me, but you changed my life.”

(And, before I go on, let me apologize for what’s going to wind up being a story congratulating myself. But I didn’t do what I’m about to tell you about for any congratulations or reward — but I am trying to pass along a lesson that I believe in. So please excuse me.)

I didn’t remember him, until he reminded me of the full story. In 2001, I was the president and CEO of LA Stage Alliance, the performing arts service organization serving greater Los Angeles. This man, Jeff, called and asked if he could speak with me, and said he was new in town, and was a theatre guy, but didn’t know anyone and was looking for a job. I told him to come down and see me. He came down for what was supposed to be 30 minutes, and, he says, I spent a lot more time than that with him — and then picked up the phone and called the Shubert Theatre and asked someone I knew there if he’d see Jeff. Jeff went over, and got hired, and now, 18 years later, Jeff works at the Pantages in Hollywood. He handed me his card, and I looked at it, and saw his title:  General Manager. “Jeff!” I said. “You’re a big muckety-muck!”

And he is.

And he thanked me profusely because I had made that introduction that got him launched.

But let me tell you where I learned to do things like that:  from a man named Lars Hansen. When I met Lars, circa 1996, he was the Executive Director of the Pasadena Playhouse and a major fixture in Los Angeles theatre and I was the Artistic Director of a 36-seat theatre called Moving Arts. We were both serving on the board of Theatre LA, and Lars and I hit it off. He had a vision for the audience experience, and the intersection of the performing arts and commerce that spoke to me. Lars was generous by nature, and just kept giving me stuff:  advice, connections, and whatever he could spare at the Playhouse — including, once, hundreds (yes, I said hundreds) of tickets at his theatre to use for a fundraiser. It was partly because of Lars’ influence and generosity that I wound up as CEO of LA Stage Alliance — I have no doubt of that — and it’s because of that that I was in a position to help Jeff, and because of that, Jeff and I ran into each other today, completing a circle that has taken 23 years.

So when Jeff’s thanking me, he’s actually thanking Lars, who I think of almost every day… even though he died 10 years ago.

Lars led a life of impact. He certainly impacted me. I still have friendships that I developed completely through Lars. And I’m still grateful to him.

Lars wasn’t the only helper in my life. In fact, my life has been filled with helpful people. My business partner says that when you put something out into the universe, it comes back to you, and I’ve found that to be true. When I was a boy, I remember watching the Philadelphia newscast one night with my father, and seeing the story of a poor black boy in that city who’d gotten burned in a fire. My father never said anything about it, but he was obviously moved — and shortly later I learned from my mother that he wrote a check and mailed it in anonymously to the boy’s family. He never said anything about it to me and he never wanted any credit for it. That’s a lesson I never forgot, and an image that remains burned in my memory, of watching that newscast.

But aren’t most of us like that, really? Aren’t most people good? Don’t we do what we can, when we can?

It doesn’t take heroics to help somebody else, not usually. It takes a little time, and a little awareness. And really, isn’t that what we’re here for? To help each other?

Don’t get distracted by the terrible people. They’re a minority. Honest. If you want a meaningful life, make one by helping others.

p.s. Here’s some info about my friend Lars and here’s his obit. He was a great guy.

Sunday and Monday

May 27th, 2019
  • Having decided — again — that the play I was working on had been best served in its one-act version, i.e., that it should not become a full-length version, this decision being made after many months and endless pages of struggle to turn it into said full-length version, a version that I was having trouble believing one bit of, I turned back to a play I started this time last year, in the hopes that it would become my new full-length play. Fingers crossed.
  • Had some friends over last night from eight until midnight for drinks and cigars and snacks. Two of them are playwrights, one is an editor of TV shows and videos, and one is this universe’s foremost expert on “Star Trek.” We talked a lot about comic books and, naturally, “Stark Trek,” and a bit about theatre, and a surprising amount about Nancy Pelosi (impeachment now, yes or no?). I guess we’re all exhausted of talking about you-know-who in the White House.
    • When the subject of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination came up, I said that now that I’d watched all eight seasons of “Game of Thrones,” I had a new outlook. “Almost nothing that happened in the first seven seasons mattered in the end,” I said, “and the Democratic nomination is like that. I don’t need to tune in until next June.” One of the playwright friends said, “Yeah, backing one of the candidates now is like being all-in for Robb Stark.”
  • Started reading The Terror last night after midnight (okay, this morning). This is why I mostly don’t see movies or TV shows on books I’ve read or am going to read — it’s impossible to get the actors out of your head. I didn’t see the film version of “Anna Karenina,” but nevertheless Alfred Molina is now connected in my mind with that book, which was the most compelling novel I’ve ever read. Same with The Terror; even five pages in, it was difficult not to “see” Jared Harris on the page.
    • I also had an extremely sinister and upsetting dream — one in which I manage to evade some sort of creatures in a post-apocalyptic setting, but wind up running into a real-life person from my real life, someone I have studiously avoided for a long time now, and was forced to work with that person. Compared to my nightmares — in this case, the nightmare of being forced to work with this person again — no horror novel can compete.
  • This morning when I woke up I vowed to finally do something about the ever-running toilet in the master bathroom that had to be manually jiggered in order to stop running water. So I went and bought the part at  DoIt Center (yes, yes, it’s been renamed D.I.Y. Center, but in my household it’s still called “doit,” pronounced to rhyme with the first part of “soitently!”). Back home, it took about 20 minutes to fix. Well worth the eight weeks I put that off.
  • My son left for an overnight camping trip, and our other two children are already out of the house, and my wife works nights, so at one point the two dogs and I looked at each other like the last survivors on a life raft. They mostly prefer the other people and weren’t sure what to make of it being just us.
    • But given that they know I can still open the refrigerator door, they remain hopeful and attentive.
  • I was cautious in announcing any triumph in fixing that toilet, lest I get assigned any further duties. Proud of my strategy in delaying so long!
  • Washed some dishes. Not all of them from last night! — not the cocktail glasses or the rocks glasses or half of the snack bowls and plates — but enough to be seen doing it. Should get me through for now.
  • Now I’m sitting out back surrounded by loudly chirping birds oblivious to all the bad news in this morning’s paper, and I’m prepping another cigar, with hope in the air regarding this new play, a play based on an obscure, rarely named and somewhat disreputable philosophical condition. Fingers still crossed. I’ve cleverly entitled it “New Play.” (Might change that later.)

Expertise actually matters

May 24th, 2019

When you’re an historian, or present yourself as one, it’s expected that you know what you’re talking about. But it turns out that Naomi Wolf’s new book, Outrages: Sex, Censorship, and the Criminalization of Love, is premised on her misunderstanding of a Victorian term.

Not only that — but Wolf learns of her mistake live, on-air, during a radio interview.

OUCH.

 

Up in a tree

May 24th, 2019

Treehouse

The phrase above means “in a difficult situation without escape; cornered.” Which evidently makes it a perfect place to catch an apparent burglar who’s built himself a swanky tree house, complete with fire pit, barbecue, lighting, and the kind of view you have to have let Harvey Weinstein touch you to get.

You wouldn’t think an accused burglar would set up roost in such a labor-intensive and permanent sort of dwelling. But that’s just how dramatic our housing shortage is.

Non-participation trophy

May 22nd, 2019

One of the fun things I get to do is serve on the board of a foundation that does things like fund local charities and civic groups, benefit the environment and the arts and animals, and give scholarships to college students. For more than 10 years, I was on the other side of that table, running a non-profit theatre and working to get funding from different groups; as you can imagine, it’s a personal thrill to sit on the funding side and play a role in supporting worthy causes.

A few years ago, we made a sizable donation to the DNA lab that serves several city police departments in our area; that funding helped ensure that rape kits got processed and criminals apprehended. We supported lockers in the local homeless shelter so that people without homes could safely stow their possessions while out looking for work. And, as I said, we give about 75 college scholarships each year, and hold a nice annual event where the recipients and their parents can come pick up an award, get their photo taken, and get some pretty good advice from community mentors. A few years ago I wound up on stage at that event with a bunch of those awardees, all of them nicely suited and gowned — except for one young man, next to me, who stood out a little awkwardly in plain clothes. It didn’t take me long to get the sense that he didn’t have a suit — that what he was wearing might be about the extent of his wardrobe. That’s a moment I think of often.

Usually, my friend and colleague David emcees this event. David’s career has mostly been devoted to fundraising and scholarships, and he’s provided invaluable expertise on those subjects. A week or two ago, David, who lives in a neighboring state, broke his arm badly and was advised by his doctor not to fly, so the foundation’s CEO asked me if I would consider emceeing this event. (For four years in a row, I emceed our annual appreciation dinner, where the appreciation was all mine whenever someone would laugh at one of my jokes.) Most years, I can’t make it to this scholarship banquet, much as I’d like to go, because it directly conflicts with my playwriting workshop — but the workshop was on hiatus, I love seeing college kids get scholarships, another colleague I greatly respect was going to be the keynote speaker, and, well, don’t we all believe that if you can help out, you should? So I said yes. They sent me a draft of the script, I looked it over, and I started thinking about how I might salt some really great crowd-pleasing puns in there, the kind that have been delighting my kids for decades.

Then, the Saturday before the event, my office had a flood.

The fill valve in the upstairs toilet had broken the previous night, leaving the tank endlessly filling and overflowing, soaking the entire upstairs including the landing and my office, and then pouring through the vents into the downstairs, and flooding the kitchen, the hallway, the main floor, the sales office, the server room, all three storage closets, and both bathrooms, and burning out the electrical in those bathrooms. I opened the back door to see a rush of water flow from the floor outside to the parking lot, and waterfalls cascading through the vents in the ceiling.

It’s been a big cleanup, and lots of consultation with insurers and remediators, and also realtors as we look for a temporary place to move to while this is all addressed. Getting a good look at what this was going to entail, I sadly called the foundation and begged off on emceeing the event. And when I say “sadly,” I mean it — I was looking forward just to attending, let alone getting to say a few words and present some awards to deserving young people.

Today was our bimonthly board meeting for the foundation, and I got to hear how the scholarship banquet went a few days ago. From all reports, it went great, with a nice full house of awardees and their parents and other special guests. At one point during the discussion about the event, which I apologized again for having had to miss, the foundation’s CEO got up and I got the vague sense that she was standing behind me to my left. I didn’t know why — until she handed me a box containing this.

NonParticipationTrophy

Yes, it’s a beautiful little award — with a spinning globe! — acknowledging me by name for serving as master of ceremonies for our scholarship banquet in 2019… the very event I’d had to miss.

I swear to you, I tried to hand this back — but they pointed out that it’s engraved. I offered to have it remade with the name of the actual emcee (the CEO herself, who from all reports was a total winner) but got shot down. I did throw out some jokes — “Hey, I need to not show up more often!” — but they insisted I keep this award.

Later, I started mentally compiling a list of other undeserved recognitions given by august institutions. Here are just a few:

  • “Citizen Kane” losing Best Picture to “How Green Was My Valley”
  • Jethro Tull winning the Grammy for best metal band (???) over AC/DC and Metallica
  • Henry Kissinger getting the Nobel Peace Prize over actual peaceful people

Some years ago I was awarded a presidential service pin recognizing my community service. I’ve never displayed it or worn it, because the president in question was George W. Bush. When Obama was in office, I did consider taking it out and displaying it, figuring that people would draw their own (faulty) conclusion. Now, needless to say, I won’t be showing that pin anywhere for the foreseeable future.

But the beautiful little globe above with my name on the base? I’ll put that out for sure. I don’t deserve the award, but I’m proud to be associated with it.

 

The Dark Mite

May 21st, 2019

I’ve seen all of the Batman movies. This one is by far the most inventive.