"Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city." - George Burns

Adrienne’s brother and mother visited from California for mother’s day and Aaron’s birthday. We indulged Aaron with a party at the MOA. We ended up having nine kids counting mine with only four adult chaperones. It was honestly scary. I developed an obsessive compulsive disorder, counting heads over and over again.

Aaron’s California Uncle brought him a jock load of sports equipment; baseballs, bats, gloves, footballs, Frisbees, a horseshoe set. These are all things the poor kid needs. I am not one of those sad geeks who confuse athleticism with one or two jerks who gave me a hard time in junior high school. I really want Aaron to have a basic competence by the time he reaches gym class. Unfortunately, my father knew nothing about sports and has passed that lack of knowledge down through the generations. Although at this point in the metaphorical game, Aaron just needs help learning to catch and throw a ball. Even I can handle that. Meanwhile, Joe balanced the gifts by sending Aaron a 10th Doctor action figure with a remote control K-9, TARDIS socks and a talking Dalek card that threatens to exterminate the birthday child if fun is not had on their special day.

The Brother-In Law also bought a small grocery store worth of food. The refrigerator was transformed into Fibber McGee and Molly’s closet, fruits and vegetables tumbling onto the floor every time you opened the door. We’ve managed to eat down to a reasonable quantity but we’re still stuffing our faces fast and furious to avoid letting anything spoil.

Aaron insisted on buying both his Grandmothers lightsabers for mother’s day (he bought Adrienne one last mother’s day). I tried to talk him out of it but his argument was too persuasive. He told me quite sincerely, “Dad, I don’t think you understand how much fun it would be to fight grandma with a lightsaber.” How can you argue with that?

Now with London After Midnight rehearsals in full swing, Drinking and Swearing this weekend and The Scrimshaw Show the weekend after that, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. We’re also writing TWO Soylent Theater shows for CONvergence this year. The usual half time show for the masquerade plus an offense-o-rama style show we’re calling Soylent Blue. In fact, I feel guilty taking the time to write any of this.

Adding to my stress, I just found out a number of issues were missing from a batch of comics I sold on Ebay. I can’t find the comics in question here so I now fear I inadvertently sent them with another batch of sold comics…

Oh, there’s also that lovely Sword of Damocles I like to call a day job.

Well, I plan to work my ass off for the rest of the day and reward myself tonight with the 24 season finale. I am Jack Bauer’s bitch.

"I am not aware that any community has a right to force another to be civilized." - John Stuart Mill

This is a very engaging article from The Economist dealing with "soft" paternalism. It's interesting to note that when the article refers to "liberals" it seems to be describing classical liberalism with its emphasis on the sovereignty of the individual as opposed to modern American liberalism. I post it here mainly for my own future reference, thus the considerate cut (it's long).

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"Fantastic!" - The Doctor

So... I decided to be healthy and walk to the liquor store. I live in Plymouth and there is a scenic walking path five feet from my front door. This path deposits me joyfully close to a booze emporium, making for a pleasant and rewarding stroll. About ten feet down this path, I was stopped in my tracks by the following words scrawled in chalk...

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"I think basically an actor is a salesman." - Paul Lynde

And here's my pitch. Come see the April edition of The Scrimshaw Show. It is funny. I say "it is" instead of "it will be" because Tim and I actually finished the script. Two weeks out. Not bad for a monthly show. Come see pulpy literary lewdness in the form of Spicy Tales of Weird Adventure! Discover the truth behind the death of Wild Bill Hickok! Behold the sexually charged redneck interpretive dance of Randy and Rhonda! Plus Pablo, Hidden Pudenda, our first update from London Correspondent Joseph Scrimshaw and a CAVALCADE of guest stars (see below)!

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"I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die" - Johnny Cash

After only two movies, I'm inclined to ditch the post-Oscars film fest. My previous post covered my low opinion of Crash. Next on the Netflix cue was Walk the Line. To me, Johnny Cash is THE VOICE. His choice of subject matter is always compelling but, ultimately, it's that deep, trembling, scary, vulnerable voice that makes him iconic. That's why, hokey or not, I would have preferred the use of lip-synching in Walk the Line. This is no rip on Joaquin. He did an admirable job... But he's no Johnny Cash. Nobody is. You have the same problem in bio-pics about Sinatra and the Rat Pack. Some celebrities are just too iconic to be played by, well, other celebrities. Joacquin manages a really great Johnny Cash impression but that's all it is, an impression. So when the recording guy from Sun records is blown away by Joaquin's version Fulsom Prison Blues, it's really hard to believe. And if you take away the music, the film itself is a pretty dull, run-of-the-mill artist struggles to make it big, banish his demons and find true love story. I'm tempted to give Capote (no singing!) a chance but after that I think I'll bump the British television back to the top of my cue. I'm also borrowing all things Buffy from Pat... But that's a whole post of its own.

"It is not advisable, James, to venture unsolicited opinions." - Ayn Rand

Okay, I decided to do the whole post-Oscars rent the award winners and see what I missed thing. First rental: Crash. My unsolicited opinion: Crap. Are there really people out there who think this is a complex examination of race relations? I thought it was shallow, melodramatic and just plain silly. Nice performances from a really ecclectic cast but, wow, the script just made me cringe... And when it snowed at the end? I literally screamed.

I have a feeling that my retroactive vote for Best Picture will be a tie between Sin City and Curse of the Were Rabbit. Seriously, when I'm a fascist dictator, I vow to ban any and all IMPORTANT MESSAGE films. That's my promise to you, my future oppressed subjects.

"The palest ink is better than the best memory" - Chinese Proverb

Surprise, surprise! Sorting my comic books is taking longer than I thought. I'm trying very hard to break the Cycle of Sentimentality. I have seven long boxes of comic books representing a sizeable investment of time, energy and, depending on the decade collected, sexual sublimation. When I peruse these geek artifacts, there is an almost tangible sense of nostalgia, sanitized, happy nostalgia that excludes everything other than joyful aethetic memories. I have an instant urge to keep every last comic book, no matter how crappy because they're "so special" and provide such a strong link to days gone by. Then I remind myself that I haven't looked at these bastards in almost ten years. If I decide to keep them again, I'll put them into storage for another ten years and most likely drag them out only when I'm once again tempted to sell them. I won't do that to myself, dammit! The cycle stops now!

I did discover one comic book I will be keeping. Detective Comics starring Batman issue 550. I am both proud and humiliated (promiliated?) to share the following missive from the letter column:

Dear TECers,
I thought DETECTIVE #546 was very good. I can't wait to see Mayor Hill get what's coming to him! And I loved the cover!
I highly recommend that Green Arrow get his own magazine, since he deserves it. Anyway, he's my second favorite hero, right after Batman.

Joshua Scrimshaw
7013 Unity Avenue North
Brooklyn Center, MN 55429

I must have been twelve or thirteen years old when I wrote that... and clearly I kept my comics in a short box, if you know what I mean.

"The best revenge is massive success" - Frank Sinatra

Not really massive success, nor am I really seeking any kind of revenge but, hey, Twelfth Night got a good review from the Pioneer Press. It's always nice to be in a well reviewed show but I'm extra pleased when a review appreciates a show for the same reasons I do. I definitely agree that this productions appeal is in it's "common touch". I didn't score a name mention but my character did and I'll gladly take "vividly drawn" and a reference to the "Rat Pack" any day. Whoo-hoo!

Theatre in the Round's 'Twelfth Night' has the common touch
Pioneer Press
At last, a Shakespeare that's good for the groundlings.

"Twelfth Night" was commissioned by Queen Elizabeth I in anticipation of a foreign duke's visit, but William Shakespeare always made sure his plays had plenty for the commoners, or "groundlings," who watched from the dirt floor near the stage. So even though he made the duke a central character in the comedy, "Twelfth Night" is no ode to the upper classes in the balcony: The madcap romantic farce offers plenty of low humor and lots of jabs at the stuffy, smart set.

Theatre in the Round's production may be truer to the author's intent than any local production of the play in recent memory. Under the direction of David Mann — known in local theatrical circles as an enthusiastic London-schooled Shakespearean — this show is more fun than most Shakespeare productions. Bursting with imagination and richly rendered characters, it's a comedy for the common folk that's still filled with enough of that lovely language and wily wit to satisfy the intellect.

Mann has transferred the action to 1960s Cape Cod, but that's almost neither here nor there. The set, costumes and music have the flavor of that setting, but the performances are very much in the spirit of 1602.

Perhaps more so than in any Shakespeare comedy, the central characters of "Twelfth Night" — the twins separated at sea and the nobles who fall for them — can be upstaged by the supporting cast. If Orsino and Olivia are the JFK and Jackie of this seaside retreat, then Sirs Toby Belch and Andrew Aguecheek and company are something like their "Rat Pack," a drunken bunch of rapier-witted rowdies on holiday, each vividly drawn in this production.

While Jenny Hollingsworth's Viola and Mo Perry's Olivia are both impressive, the standout performance comes from Craig Johnson as Olivia's servant, Malvolio. Although this puritan's comeuppance at the hands of a practical joke was doubtless delightful to the groundlings, Johnson makes him as endearing as he is laughable, lending layers to the role that inspire unexpected sympathy.