Sunday, May 14, 2006

time to build an ark?

So it's been raining for like a week straight. That's cool, it means lots of green when the sun finally does come out. But it's kind of a drag to be stuck indoors for so long. To while away the hours I've been perusing my new favorite site: Improv Everywhere

It's a group of New Yorkers that pull massive, well-intentioned pranks on the local populous. Check out their Best Buy and No Pants missions for a sample of some extraordinary work.

Now, how do we get a Boston chapter started?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

why can't i own a canadian?

My brother sent me this little gem the other day and I just had to share. No comments from me; the piece speaks (hysterically) for itself:

Why Can't I Own a Canadian?
October 2002

Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a radio personality who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio show. Recently, she said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura penned by a east coast resident, which was posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:

When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15:19- 24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?

Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? - Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your devoted fan,


Thursday, May 04, 2006

"get your lit on" thursday

I spend a lot of time reading. My current leisure reading obsession is mystical, historical fiction ( The Baroque Cycle, The Da Vinci Code, and The Illuminatus! Trilogy), and I spend hours at night, in the comfort of my bed or curled up on my couch, engrossed in the strange meanderings of these books.

But when I do work-related reading--plays, scripts, books on acting--I like to take it outside of my home. There's something about sitting in a cafe or park that makes the experience feel more like "work" than when done in my living room. It's a way to connect with other people during the day (even if silently) and to get some much-needed sunlight on my albino skin--not to mention the benefit of processing what I've read during my walk home.

One disadvantage of reading in public is that my reactions to the material I'm reading are...well, public. I find myself emoting with characters as I read their lines, so that strangers must often observe me expressing something truly upsetting or downright funny about my coffee. Even more fun is the schizophrenic dance that happens when moving quickly between two characters' lines--yes, this pastry is lovely--oh no, it makes me want to cry!

So as I sit at a little tea shop near Harvard Square on Tuesday I am embarrassed--but not surprised--to find myself chortling bagel out of my mouth as I read a particularly funny passage of Hamlet. I've read and seen the play many times, so of course I've come across this material before, but on this day I see it in a new light.

I want to you to read the following scene, but if you would replace "Polonius" in your mind with "George W. Bush" (working with a slightly expanded vocabulary) you might see why Shakespeare was not only a genius, but a bit of a sage too:

My liege, and madam, to expostulate
What majesty should be, what duty is,
Why day is day, night night, and time is time,
Were nothing but to waste night, day and time.
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief: your noble son is mad:
Mad call I it; for, to define true madness,
What is't but to be nothing else but mad?
But let that go.

More matter, with less art.

Madam, I swear I use no art at all.
That he is mad, 'tis true: 'tis true 'tis pity;
And pity 'tis 'tis true: a foolish figure;
But farewell it, for I will use no art.
Mad let us grant him, then: and now remains
That we find out the cause of this effect,
Or rather say, the cause of this defect,
For this effect defective comes by cause:
Thus it remains, and the remainder thus.

The circular logic of Polonius' words, the ability to speak for ages and say nothing, the complete lack of self-awareness: all of it a frightening similarity to our commander in chief. I could probably have found just as many similarities to Bush in Claudius--the power-hungry king--but it's more fun to view him as a clown.

There is a reason Shakespeare continues to move us, continues to be relevant. He captures humanity truthfully and brilliantly. He explores human nature without creating stereotypes so that four hundred years later, in a world vastly different from his own, the words and experiences of his characters rings startlingly true.

Polonius meets a sad end. He's a meddling dad and a simpering peon, but his intentions are honest and noble, if misguided. He doesn't deserve to die behind the arras, but if Shakespeare teaches us one thing, it's that life isn't always fair. Luckily that's not the only lesson he has to share.

I'm going to hold Shakespeare very close as I imagine two more years of this administration stretched out before me. Maybe we're living in the world of Hamlet and usurping kings still reign. Or maybe we're really in a Midsummer Night's Dream and any moment now we'll wake up to a glorious new day.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

lazy tuesday

Nothing much to report today. It's wet and drab outside. I've wrapped all the film projects I had scheduled and I'm waiting for two more to give me concrete dates. Until then, I'm reading Hamlet and working on getting back into my fitness routine. But I kinda want to spend the day like this:

Edgar's ability to relax in any position is his greatest skill (next to scarfing down dinner in two seconds flat). Yes, call me Lazy Cat today--trouble me not with vacuums or yippy dogs.