Dealing with Trump

Joe Biden’s all wrong when it comes to dealing with Donald Trump.

I’m feeling insecure these days. I’m not sure Joe Biden knows how to handle Donald Trump in the current race for the presidency.

Early last August, Trump was speaking in Clyde, Ohio.

He said this about Biden: “He’s following the radical left agenda. Take away your guns, destroy your 2nd Amendment, no religion, no anything, hurt the Bible, hurt God. He’s against God.”

Biden’s response: “For President Trump to attack my faith is shameful.” Well of course it was! That was the point. Maybe what Biden should’ve said was, “My faith is my own private business. Like President Kennedy, I believe in the separation of church and state.”

My advice to Joe: spent some time watching reruns of Andy’s Gang, a children’s show that ran from 1955 to 1960. It featured an impish puppet called Froggy the Gremlin. Here is a memorable episode.

Froggy was disparaging bunny rabbits. Andy was appalled.

ANDY: You shouldn’t say that about cute bunny rabbits. They’re so nice.

FROGGY: Well, one way to settle that. You see that picture of water over there?

ANDY: Yes, a nice frosty pitcher of ice water.

FROGGY: Go over to the pitcher. (ANDY does so.) Grab the pitcher tightly by the handle.

ANDY: (bewitched) What next, Froggy?

FROGGY: I want you to pour the water all over your head.

ANDY: Pour the water all over my head. (He does so, then snaps out of it.) Awwww Froggy! You got me all wet!

FROGGY: (bounces around on his perch) Haw haw haw! There’s your answer! Haw haw haw!

Don’t play in Trump’s sandbox, Joe. Remember who you’re dealing with.

Best Friend

Had I known I’d be writing about Steve, my first adolescent friend, I would have carried my Brownie Hawkeye camera around with me more.

IN WHICH I learn that friendship is more complicated than enemyship.

I’ve never been friends with anyone in the same way I was with Steve Demetrious. It was one of those “more than” relationships. We were more than schoolmates, more than movie companions, more than teammates, more than confidants.

A Cinderella That Creates Genuine Magic

Boston Center for the Arts Plaza Theatre, Opera del West performance of Jules Massenet’s Cendrillon. Music by Jules Massenet, Libretto by Henri Cain. Artistic Director: Eve Kochen Budnick. Stage Director: Rebecca Kratzer. Cendrillon: Jennifer Jaroslavsky; Prince Charmant: JoAnna Pope; Pandolfe: Craig Juricka; Madame de la Haltiere: Suzanna Guzman; La Fee: Sulgi Cho.

August 11, 2019

Kudos to Eve Budnick, Artistic Director for Opera del West’s Boston Plaza Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts in the South End! She performed miracles in such a small performance space, turning it into a magical version of Jules Massenet’s opera, Cendrillon (Cinderella). The production included hefty vocal work by Craig Juricka as Pandolfe and Suzanna Guzman as Cinderella’s conniving mother. Jennifer Juroslavsky was stunning as Cinderella, based on her wide ranging mezzo and emotionally nuanced performance. Her pairing with JoAnna Pope as Prince Charming was splendid, particularly in the second half, when these two marvelous mezzo-sopranos came together. There was excellent choreography in this production by a set of wide ranging young women who imparted this tiny stage with a sylvan atmosphere. Such a fairytale-like quality was a large part of Massenet’s frame of reference and it lended excellence. The use of broad-based humor when appropriate (such as the scene with drunken sisters at the ball) kept the opera light.

Cendrillon included a spectacular South Korean lyric coloratura soprano, Sulgi Cho, as the fairy wielding a goodly amount of power over the fairy tale. Her soprano voice had a high tessitura and seemed pretty effortless most of the time. Her excellent makeup and costume made her look suitably otherworldly.

On a personal note, I think it’s a real shame that superb groups like Opera del West are limited to such tiny spaces that do not fully allow the dancers to be graceful and the opera singers to really let loose when the librettos require. However, such limitations will not prevent me from going back to future productions. I expect them to contain just as much magic as this one does.

The Straz Presents La Bohème

Giacomo Puccini’s opera La Bohème started with a feud between him and fellow composer Ruggero Leoncavallo, who’d composed the immortal Pagliacci (1892).

La Bohème. Maestro: Anthony Barrese. Singers: Raquel González (Mimi), Todd Wilander (Rodolfo), Ashley Kerr (Musetta), Keith Harris (Marcello), Jean Carlos Rodriguez (Schaunard) and Lawson Anderson (Colline). Opera Tampa Orchestra and Chorus.

Original Poster

Giacomo Puccini’s opera La Bohème started with a feud in the early 1890’s between him and fellow composer Ruggero Leoncavallo, who’d composed the immortal Pagliacci (1892). At that time this short opera was better than anything Puccini had written, including his earnest yet muddled Manon Lescaut (1893). So Leoncavallo was no slouch and definitely a formidable competitor. Nevertheless, Puccini’s La Bohème prevailed and quickly became one of the immortals in the repertoire while Leoncavallo’s version, although successful in its day, sunk into obscurity and is rarely performed today.

Why?

Continue reading “The Straz Presents La Bohème”

STOP TYPING!

The beauty of a how-to book is not just that it teaches you what you know nothing about, but also that it nudges you back toward something you have known about but never tried.

STOP TYPING!: Write Better with Speech Recognition Speech-to-Text Software! by Keith Connes. $.99 (or free with Kindle Unlimited via Amazon).

Had I read this book six months ago, it would’ve saved me at least six hours of labor. I was writing an article that initially involved recording a phone conversation. I then had to transcribe that conversation with my nimble fingertips. Had I known more about Dragon NaturallySpeaking software, I would have not spent so much time transcribing. Continue reading “STOP TYPING!”