Sunday, May 31, 2009

What's new pussycat?

I don't know if Bill Manhoff's play THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT has been done in New York since the movie starring Barbra Streisand was made in 1970 - it has a great pedigree - the original was performed in NY with Alan Alda in the lead and the screenplay was written by Buck Henry. It's very entertaining and would work great with a minimal set - but the finks want $75 a pop for each performance.

The entire movie is available for free on (see above)

I guess I'll have to write my own two-person romance. But if I had the money I'd do a revival of this.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Today's special

More at

And now for something completely different, an educational web site

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Monday, May 25, 2009

The truth about Memorial Day

Memorial Day got its start after the Civil War, when freed slaves and abolitionists gathered in Charleston, S.C., to honor Union soldiers who gave their lives to battle slavery. The holiday was so closely associated with the Union side, and with the fight for emancipation, that Southern states quickly established their own rival Confederate Memorial Day.

Over the next 50 years, though, Memorial Day changed. It became a tribute to the dead on both sides, and to the reunion of the North and the South after the war. This new holiday was more inclusive, and more useful to a forward-looking nation eager to put its differences behind it. But something important was lost: the recognition that the Civil War had been a moral battle to free black Americans from slavery.

More at the NYTimes

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Seven Samurai Online

This can't be legal, but someone has posted the entire film "The Seven Samurai" on Youtube. In my opinion this is the greatest film ever made. In this segment we meet three of the seven.

Desperate farmers, who are being oppressed by bandits, have come into a village to try to hire samurai who will work for food, and they get lucky when they witness Kambei Shimada's stealth attack on a thief who has been holding a child hostage - the scene opens with the death of the thief. The next scene is great because it shows the farmers, the young samurai Katsushirō Okamoto, and the samurai wanna-be, Kikuchiyo, played by Toshiru Mifine, vying for Kambei's attention - it's a great way to display the individuality of their characters.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

PART 1 - To Bee or not to Bee - the bee poems of Emily Dickinson

"Nature" is what we see—
The Hill—the Afternoon—
Squirrel—Eclipse—the Bumble bee—
Nay—Nature is Heaven—
Nature is what we hear—
The Bobolink—the Sea—
Thunder—the Cricket—
Nay—Nature is Harmony—
Nature is what we know—
Yet have no art to say—
So impotent Our Wisdom is
To her Simplicity.


A little road not made of man,
Enabled of the eye,
Accessible to thill of bee,
Or cart of butterfly.

If town it have, beyond itself,
'T is that I cannot say;
I only sigh,--no vehicle
Bears me along that way.


Bee! I'm expecting you!
Was saying Yesterday
To Somebody you know
That you were due --

The Frogs got Home last Week --
Are settled, and at work --
Birds, mostly back --
The Clover warm and thick --

You'll get my Letter by
The seventeenth; Reply
Or better, be with me --
Yours, Fly.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Oh heart, why wilt thou suffer evermore?

Oh heart, why wilt thou suffer evermore?
What is thy limit of endurance? Spray
Rends rocks, and rust eats iron bars away;
the rest...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Jane! Jane! Jane!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


It's Mr. Fuzz and Miss Willow!

Miss Willow is camera shy but you can see her in the upper-left-hand corner of this picture.

Monday, May 18, 2009

pretty good marks

Well it looks like some people like my poetry... I don't know if it's enough to make up for the emotional anguish that was the source of the poetry... but it's something...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A day in the life of the ESB

When I lived in Hoboken I had a web cam pointed at the Empire State Building... I put a bunch of the shots together from a single day and turned it into an animated gif.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Got Poetry?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

another good article from the New Yorker

But once again, registration is required - very annoying!
These numbers do not lie or flatter. Up and down the line, obligations loom and prospects dim. Wall Street's tribulations have brought drastically straitened circumstances to nearly every profession. Whether you work for a contractor, a vender, a hospital, a restaurant, a transit system, a high school, a newspaper, a charity, or yourself, the Conversation likely involves a new and irreconcilable calculation of commitments: perhaps even an abandonment of a college education or the loss of a health-care plan.
Pretty damn depressing.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How not to write a (screen)play

One of the most annoying things that not-so-good playwrights and screenwriters do is create characters/scenarios that utterly lack integrity.

A producer/director in the local independent movie scene recently made a movie set in "space" somewhere, and although I think the plot is lame and the recycling of Star Wars technology even lamer (the sexy ladybot has to use a light saber to fight people wielding gigantic space blasters) the worst aspect is the script going for whatever is narratively convenient, rather than letting the characters and situations play out organically.

Most egregiously handled is the dumb-guy character, who is dressed like a cowboy and speaks with a Southwestern accent. Right in the middle of the movie, he takes time off from drooling and bumbling around to solve the movie's big mystery - he figures out that the hero of the story has returned incognito to seek vengeance. He lays it all down like a perfect logician: "so whether or not he is Mr. X, he's out to fry everybody connected with Mr. X's death."

You know the screenplay is bad when the dumb guy is given the job of solving the mystery.

The best part of this mystery-solving is that right before the dumb guy solves the mystery he is called "nitwit" and "idiot" - but that's not unusual - in fact, virtually every character in the movie insults the dumb guy's intelligence, except for directly after he solves the mystery, when his boss (a pointlessly long-winded and affected douchebag) calls him a king among men. To which the dumb guy responds something to the effect of - and I am freely translating here - "duhhh.... I'm back to being dumb again now that the mystery is solved."

They actually wrote a character whose job it is to be insulted the entire movie, except when he's solving the mystery.

But you know what - who cares? It's a "genre" movie right? As long as there's lasers and mutants and ladybots in tight-fitting outfits and actresses who get nekkid for free for the director, it doesn't matter how stupid the screenplay is. They'll just keep cranking them out, and there are people in Japan, apparently, who will watch them.

As George Lucas, with his post Harrison Ford Star Wars films, and Steven Spielberg with his last Indiana Jones film (proving that Harrison Ford can't save every movie) demonstrated - it doesn't matter how good the director is, or how big the budget is, if the screenplay is bad, the movie is bad. Period.

So of course screenwriters are the lowest of the low in the movie world's pecking order and screenplays are cobbled together as an afterthought. I guess space-western director guy figures if the big boys make movies with shit scripts, why can't he?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Thank you Adam Gopnik

...for saying what I had been thinking...
...the three-blade razor may be the first known instance in the history of capitalism of a product mocked long in advance of its invention. "Saturday Night Live," on its very first program, thirty-odd years ago, not long after the two-blade razor appeared, actually did a parody commercial mocking the imagined advantages of the still imaginary three-blade razor: "Because you'll believe anything," the slogan went. And we did. We believed. Pity the capitalist, who, having made belief, must now unmake it, for fear of not being believed again.
More (need subscription though...)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Live Paul Krugman song!!!

Thank you Rachel Maddow!

Friday, May 08, 2009

great news for breastfeeders

It appears that breastfeeding is great for the mother's health:
The longer women breastfeed, the lower their risk of heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular disease, University of Pittsburgh researchers said.

"We have known for years that breastfeeding is important for babies' health; we now know that it is important for mothers' health as well," Dr. Eleanor Bimla Schwarz said in a statement.

The study, published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, found postmenopausal women who breastfed for at least one month had lower rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol -- all known to cause heart disease.

Women who had breastfed their babies for more than a year were 10 percent less likely to have had a heart attack, stroke, or developed heart disease than women who had never breastfed.
more here

Whoo-hoo! That's good news for me! And it makes up for the sore nipples and leaking through my shirt.

Youtube now has quite a few educational video clips about breast feeding and what appears to be a documentary about a woman who breastfeeds her 8-year-old. I'm pro breastfeeding and all, but that's a bit much. I actually couldn't watch it.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Really great article in this week's New Yorker

These were the daughters of computer programmers and people with graduate degrees. They worked on science projects, and read books, and went on ski vacations with their parents, and dreamed about growing up to be marine biologists. Ranadivé knew that if they played the conventional way—if they let their opponents dribble the ball up the court without opposition—they would almost certainly lose to the girls for whom basketball was a passion. Ranadivé came to America as a seventeen-year-old, with fifty dollars in his pocket. He was not one to accept losing easily. His second principle, then, was that his team would play a real full-court press, every game, all the time. The team ended up at the national championships. "It was really random," Anjali Ranadivé said. "I mean, my father had never played basketball before."

David's victory over Goliath, in the Biblical account, is held to be an anomaly. It was not. Davids win all the time. The political scientist Ivan Arreguín-Toft recently looked at every war fought in the past two hundred years between strong and weak combatants. The Goliaths, he found, won in 71.5 per cent of the cases. That is a remarkable fact. Arreguín-Toft was analyzing conflicts in which one side was at least ten times as powerful - in terms of armed might and population—as its opponent, and even in those lopsided contests the underdog won almost a third of the time.

In the Biblical story of David and Goliath, David initially put on a coat of mail and a brass helmet and girded himself with a sword: he prepared to wage a conventional battle of swords against Goliath. But then he stopped. "I cannot walk in these, for I am unused to it," he said (in Robert Alter's translation), and picked up those five smooth stones. What happened, Arreguín - Toft wondered, when the underdogs likewise acknowledged their weakness and chose an unconventional strategy? He went back and re-analyzed his data. In those cases, David’s winning percentage went from 28.5 to 63.6. When underdogs choose not to play by Goliath's rules, they win, Arreguín - Toft concluded, "even when everything we think we know about power says they shouldn't."

more here

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Huck Finn, MD

Move over Dougie Howser - NYCPlaywrights actor member Nick Fondulis is now a doctor on the NBC series Mercy.

Watch him get yelled at by the head nurse here. And this was after he gave her donuts!

At least he doesn't get punched in the head, like he did in Kings.

I revised the script for them:

Dr. Nick: "Veronica, I feel terrible - what do you want?"

Nurse Veronica: "I wanna pinch your nose! Like this! I learned how to do it in IRAQ!"

Dr. Nick: "oh oh oh oh oh - I'll never screw up again!!!"

Monday, May 04, 2009

New Rules

My 10-minute play NEW RULES was part of this weekend's NYCPlaywrights Spring 2009 Fundraiser

Saturday, May 02, 2009

8 year old divorces

8-year-old girl gets to divorce her 50-year-old husband.

An 8-year-old Saudi girl has divorced her middle-aged husband after her father forced her to marry him last year in exchange for about $13,000, her lawyer said. Saudi Arabia has come under increasing criticism at home and abroad for permitting child marriages. The United States, an ally of the kingdom, has called child marriage a “clear and unacceptable” violation of human rights. The girl was allowed to divorce the 50-year-old man after an out-of-court settlement was reached, said her lawyer, Abdulla al-Jeteli.