Category Archives: Opinion

OK… next step.They are going to get me ready for surgery.

Hope this doesn’t take long…. I don’t really want to be knocked out for a long time. It’s my right brain that this tumor is on and I hope when they take it out I’ll still have mind enough to do this blog…an activity I am unusually fond of.

 

 

I guess I’ll be signing off now.  I’ll try to get back up tomorrow or Sunday.   –  Bill

 

Harold Kepnes, my friend, has died. I’m very sad.

Harold S.Kepnes, 1947 – 2012

He was a year younger than me, but we were both in the Class of ’64 at Tabor. Harold was my best friend and in the summers, when I worked on Cape Cod at the Candle Factory doing tours, Harold, who lived close by in Hyannis, had the home I hung out in.

Harry and Billy… that was how everyone knew us… wandered the Cape, went to drive-in movies, chased girls and hung out at his family’s private chunk of Craigville Beach. Even when I went off to college in Illinois and Harold went off, too, we would get back together in the summer.

Harold was the kind of friend you didn’t have to see in years and yet nothing changed. You don’t get many like that.

He spent the last couple of years fighting pancreatic cancer… in and out o9f hospitals and with the caring support of his wife, Monica, and his daughter, Caroline, who came in from California to be with her Dad. Caroline, a television writer of talent, has been keeping everyone informed about Harold and his condition.

Now he has died at age 65 and I shall miss him. What awful news to get from Monica this morning as I packed for Georgetown Hospital.

Artist Will Barnet dies at 101…

Will Barnet, a titan of the visual art world, died at his home in New York on Tuesday. He was 101.

His family said the cause of death was old age. “He died peacefully in his home,” said Phil Alexandre of New York’s Alexandre Gallery, which represented Barnet.

Barnet, an art educator and a lifelong champion of the arts, inspired generations of artists and lived long enough to enjoy many honors that most artists receive only posthumously. In 2011, President Obama awarded him the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor for an individual artist in the United States.

This year, France recognized him with the insignia of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters.

Barnet and his wife, Elena, lived in a duplex at the National Arts Club on Gramercy Park in Manhattan. They were without power for a few days because of Superstorm Sandy, and had to move to a warmer apartment.

“Woman Reading” by Will Barnet

Barnet got “a touch of pneumonia” during the power outage, Alexandre said, but had been feeling better in recent days.

His daughter, Ona, said her father visited many art galleries on Saturday, “doing what he loved the most.”

Hard of hearing and unable to walk, Barnet never allowed his physical ailments to limit his love of art, said a longtime friend, Ira Goldberg, executive director of the Arts Students League of New York, where Barnet studied and taught.

He was as committed to his work at 101 as he was when he was a young man making his way in New York, Goldberg said.

Barnett was probably best known for paintings and prints of women with their cats.

[thanks to the Portland (Maine) Press Herald]

 

What is it about tattooed people? A disdain for their skin?

After yesterday’s piece on the results of the man with the a Romney tattoo on his head, this bunch of tattoos popped up on the web (can you believe it?!):

So it doesn’t matter whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, if you have the amazing need to defile yourself as a party poster, you fall into a category of folks that is beyond my understanding, not that I am fond of the current trend to cover yourself with all kinds of tattoos at all.

Quote of the Day – The man with the Romney Tattoo

Remember Eric Hartsburg?  He was paid $15,000 to get a five inch Romney campaign tattoo on his face. Hartsburg did it as an auction. His only requirement for bidding on the ‘ad space’ was that it could not be racist or offensive.

 

“I’m the guy who has egg all over his face, but instead of egg, it’s a big Romney/Ryan tattoo. It’s there for life.
“I’m hoping this opens some other doors in the entertainment business.”

Hmmm. Opening doors in the entertainment business? I was trying to think of a situation where that would be possible, outside of a film about Romney’s loss… not something I see much of a market for. Perhaps the logo could be sold to an auto manufacturer (Rolls Royce?) and Hartsman could become a car dealer’s mascot.

How much do you want to bet that Hartsman will be whining about the tattoo to his grandchildren.

 

Favorite Television Shows?

Since I’ve been forced to stay pretty still most of the day I have been watching a lot of television (and thanks to Infinity I can go back and see many shows I’ve missed over the months) and have developed a list of shows I don’t want to miss. Act6ually, I’d repeat watching many of them several times (I often fall asleep before the end due to my condition and I want to find out what happened.)

Yesterday my daughter Cassandra and I discovered we liked a lot of the same shows. Oh, there were differences, but so many of the major ones were on both of our lists that I was sure I had had a child who was just like me.

I know you probably have favorite shows, too. Here is my top seven:

  1. The Mentalist – I don’t know what it is about this one, but I am totally hooked on it. It’s Cassandra’s number 1 show as well.
  2. “Corky” Corcoran, my favorite “Copper” Cop

    Copper – Have you seen this one on BBC America? It’s the story of NYC cops in the 1860s during the late Civil War era and the conflict between the Irish slums of Five Points and the rich folk on 5th Avenue… not to mention the Confederate conspiracy to burn down New York with an explosive called “Greek Fire.” This one has finished it’s 10 shows of the season and is now running repeats. I guess the new season starts in January.

  3. Suits – New Episodes start in January, but you can see all the older one’s on USA Network‘s web site.
  4. White Collar – waiting for January for this one to come back for another season… really miss it.
  5. Covert Affairs – the current season is just ending, but I LOVE this little CIA girl and the stuff she gets into.
  6. Big Bang Theory – Got to have my favorite comedy in there.
  7. Burn Notice – which just came back for a seventh season last week. Watching Mike, Sam and the folks at work is sooo exciting.

I like “Vegas” on CBS, but the rumor is running around that it will be cancelled for low ratings. Too bad.

So, what are yours? Do you have the same esoteric crime and conspiracy lust that I do? If they had more shows like PBS’ Broadway Musicals (from 2004) which I have been watching the re-runs from, I’d be watching that stuff more.

I get most of my news from MSNBC and PBS. What’s life without starting the day with “Morning Joe?” or Sundays with CBS “Sunday Morning?”

 

So where are we with General Petraeus?

What on earth is happening when an American who has been trusted as much as General Petraeus has his little love affair exposed (which doesn’t seem to have effected his CIA leadership at all) and feels the need to resign?

This article is from Truthdig… I’m putting it all here:

How the David Petraeus-Paula Broadwell Affair Was Uncovered

 

AP/Cliff Owen
Former CIA Director David Petraeus.

Modern technology apparently cost ex-CIA Director David Petraeus his job. The retired general’s affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell was discovered by the FBI while it was investigating harassing emails she sent to Jill Kelley, a 37-year-old woman who serves as an unpaid social liaison to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla. A former associate of Petraeus says he and Kelley are just friends.

After news of the FBI investigation that uncovered the affair, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper stepped in and asked Petraeus to resign.

The Associated Press:

Clapper was told by the Justice Department of the Petraeus investigation at about 5 p.m. on Election Day, and then called Petraeus and urged him to resign, according to a senior U.S. intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.

…Concerned that the emails he exchanged with Broadwell raised the possibility of a security breach, the FBI brought the matter up with Petraeus directly, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss the investigation.

Petraeus decided to quit, though he was breaking no laws by having an affair, officials said.

Read more

In the wake of Petraeus’ resignation, members of Congress are asking for more information about the investigation, including why they weren’t alerted sooner and whether the probe had any impact on national security.

Now here are my thoughts. Given the world situation, why in hell are we letting a man with this amount of military and foreign policy and management experience leave this job over a little penis stimulation? You can’t tell me that the Congressfolk who would sit over his situation if he hadn’t resigned haven’t been involved in the same kind of stuff.

If I were Obama, I would have, at least temporarily, refused Petraeus’ resignation and let him go ahead with his testimony about Libya (which he should do anyway, whether he has resigned or not.)

If we really let him go we are more stupid than I already think.

 

Now that the Political Season is 0ver…

After the most expensive and longest and most frustrating presidential campaign in our history, we can now get back to0 the important stuff. To me, of course, that is the Arts, especially Visual Arts and Theatre. To kick off my searches and good feelings, here’s some verse by Kurt Vonnegut that my pal Joe Bratcher uploaded to Facebook:

I agree with you, Kurt. We have enough investment bankers, corporate execs and politicians already. Artists we need more of.

The questions you ask yourself…

I’m discovering as I face brain surgery and it’s unknown consequences that I find myself asking questions about what I have and have not accomplished over the last 66 or so years. It’s not a pleasant experience, btw, only one that makes me realize how many things I REALLY wanted to do which will probably never be realized. I guess, however, that this is common to just about everyone.

(Sorry… this is much longer than I expected and it will not hurt my feelings if you sign out right now,   – Bill)

Starting with the basics:

  • I have a wonderful wife who is taking care of me when she also maintains a full time teaching job that keeps us supported and in our mandatory health insurance mode.
  • I have three impressive and incredible grown children, Cassandra, Penny and Will (who we call Buddy… I don’t know where “Will” came from), and four wonderful grandsons, 3 in Maryland and one in Connecticut. (Allow me to say while I’m in this particular note about how lucky I am to have my son-in-law Matthew Corrigan in Connecticut who has made sure Cassandra could be down here with me during all of this.)
  • I set out many years ago for a life in the Arts, something I really discovered while a prep-school student at Tabor Academy in Marion, MA.  Between painting and sculpture creation under Lou LaVoie, drama and theatre discoveries under Tom Weisshaus, ending as President of the Drama Club where i acted, but didn’t do much in tech theatre, I was poised to take off when I headed for The School Of Speech/Theatre Department at Northwestern University in 1964.

And just what did I do that I remember proudly?:

  • After I discovered systems analysis through an amazing engineer, art collector and professor, Dr. Gustave J. Rath, I created my first small theatre company, Systems Theatre, which applied this amazing intellectual technology to performance creation. Our first major production was an adaptation of Frank Zappa’s “Lumpy Gravy” which eventually played Chicago’s Performing Warehouse between sets by the two great bluesmen B.B. King and Albert King (who I got to give a ride home to later… wow!) When I ended up in NYC in 1971 I restarted Systems Theatre with some of the same people who were with me at Northwestern
  • There were a couple of plays that we did at Theatre at St. Clement’s, one of the really great off-off Broadway locations in the city. Well reviewed, well attended and most important to me was my adaptation of Thomas Merton’s “Original Child Bomb” which had gothic-y chants composed by a wonderful musician, Ed Roberts, who I had met when teaching for a year at Tabor. Ed and I went on to do several shows together… at St. Clement’s and other places. My greatest pride came in a project we did a little later:
  • Lewis Carroll’s “The Hunting of the Snark”, an opera for children, was presented at the Whitney

    The Whitney

    Museum of American Art, thanks to a contact I made with one of the most  influential people in my life and someone who I am so proud to call a friend today, Berta Walker. Berta was working as the Administrative Assistant to Steve Weil at the Whitney and was looking for children’s programming. Ed and I suggested doing “Snark” which we had just started working on and now we had a reason for pushing through. We opened to great reception at the Whitney and, a little bit later on, Berta and I produced it for a few weekends at a little theater on the East Side of Manhattan. Following that, it was taken to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, a major museum which had been started by Berta’s grandfather, where it was also successful.

  • My friend and former Northwestern student John Driver, who played the original Bellman in “Snark” had been writing a musical based on Samurai warrior Mushami called “Ride The Wind” with pretty much of a rock ‘n roll score and martial arts based choreography. This was during the time that “Kung Fu” was a big television show, and we thought we were really on something here, so Berta and I decided to produce it (the company we created was called Snarkophilus Productions after our big success). We started out aiming for Off-Broadway, but then the Bijou Theater, a little house at the end of Shubert Alley, became available and we booked it. We were now a Broadway show… albeit a very small one. My set design professor, Sam Ball, agreed to do the sets, which were built by Northwestern students and which I brought to New York driving a truck across country. A number of the actors who auditioned were folks I had known from the New Theatre Workshop, a small non-profit group which acted as a try-out location for new plays that writers were working on. I was their stage electrician for a year before they tore the theater down to build the CitiPlace Center on 57th Street.
  • Unfortunately, “Ride The Winds” didn’t pass the New York Times test and I was no longer a Broadway producer.
  • I had to work, so I took a job as Administrator of the Jamaica Arts Center in Queens, where I structured classes, set up concerts, scheduled movies and ran the books. It was there I met Elly, my current wife, who I hired to teach Photography in the class size darkroom I had built in the Center’s basement (I took up photography, too… something I really loved.)  Eddy came down and we did a little revival of “Snark” in Jamaica for the kids in Queens. When I was hired later on by The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA, by their Board President (you can probably see this coming… it was Berta Walker), Elly came with me and we settled in on  lower Cape Cod. I helped the Work Center fund raise, grow and prosper over three years, then spent another three years on it’s Board. Elly and I however, moved down to the mid-Cape where we started a business that would keep us in debt and development for the next decade: Our photo studio, Photography Associates of New England Inc., and U-Design, Inc.
  • The appearance of the Apple Macintosh computer, the laser printer, a piece of software called Aldus PageMaker and things like scanners, modems, etc., inspired us to set up a rental-area business where folks would come in, rent space in a booth, and lay out, with our help, their ads and brochures. After a couple of years, we moved it to Hartford, CT… back in my home state. At one point we had U-Designs in three cities in CT (that was a mistake!) and we started doing more jobs for clients ourselves rather than booth rentals. We worked with major and minor companies, lots of non-profits, plus we offered desktop publishing classes. At one time we had a dozen or so employees. During this time I did no theatre, maybe a little painting, but not much (Elly was our painter and her work was wonderful.) While in Marlborough, however, I was recruited to be a Justice of the Peace, where I married several couples (I specialized in non-believers who I thought should have a person of their own.) I did start designing computer fonts at this time… still do it, especially my “picture fonts” which have been used on this blog many times. U-Design Type Foundry has attracted hundreds of buyers, for which I have great appreciation.

More recent years… “Things fall apart, the center does not hold” – TS Eliot.

  • We had built a passive solar house in Marlborough, CT, where we moved so Buddy could go to school there and we could lead the suburban life (eventually, we moved the last vestige of U-Design to Marlborough where it finally ended up in our house until it died.) I started going out and getting jobs as an Information Technologist at some larger companies, finally ending up at Computer Sciences Corporation, where I spent five working years. For most of that I was commuting to the Maryland-DC area every week to do a major piece of work for the Internal Revenue Service with a bunch of my colleagues. I made more money here than I ever had before. When my whole department was laid off after three years I even got six months of part-time work for the IRS itself to finish some of the project stuff.
  • Elly and I sold the Marlborough house and bought a historic co-op space in Old Greenbelt, MD, where I was still doing CSC work. Eventually, when there was no more work and a guy in his late fifties had a hard time finding IT jobs when the market was stuffed with lower earning young guys. I had to take early retirement which, thanks to CSC’s salary, brought me a higher Social Security than I had expected. Elly took a teaching job in Graphic Design at Hagerstown Community College in Hagerstown, MD, and we eventually moved to

    Ride The Winds

    Hagerstown, then Shepherdstown (our favorite) and now Harper’s Ferry. While I was living in Greenbelt, I got involved with two community theatres, the Laurel Mill Playhouse and the Greenbelt Arts Center. Amazingly enough, with the entrance to all of this I made by meeting Linda Bartash, I directed several plays and musicals. The highlight of these was a revival of “Ride The Winds” which I got John Driver to rewrite the second act for. It was well-reviewed in the Washington Post and local papers and I breathed a sight of final relief. I also, amid all the shows I did, had a really good production of that unusual musical “Urinetown” at Greenbelt, also a success.

  • I got involved with a new Community Theater in Shepherdstown, The Full Circle Theater, where I

    The Hunting of the Snark, in Shepherdstown

    became the House Electrician and ran lights on a bunch of shows, And then, can you believe it, I go to to do a revival of “The Hunting of the Snark” and Eddy, who was then living in Pennsylvania, came down from time to time to help my friend and music director, Ruth Raubertas, get our favorite opera for kids off the ground. Everyone seemed to like it, but this was my last chance to direct anything and I sank into an ongoing depression hoping I would get to do it again some day. I don’t think, now, that it will happen. I have to say, though, that I made a great friend of John Case who played the Butcher in that last production. John had a weekday morning radio show on WSCH 89.7FM on Shepherd University’s radio station and originally he invited me on for an interview and eventually I was on every Friday, which John started promoting as “The Bill and John Show.” I guess I did OK, since a few months later the station manager, Todd Cottgreave, gave me a show of my own on Saturday mornings which I called “Talk To Me” and which I made into a call-in production. I think the radio shows really saved my intelligence and ability to carry on while under depression.

So those are things I’ve been thinking about. What I haven’t discussed here is this blog, which is the major occupation of an old, retired guy’s day. I hope I can keep it going for years (as you can see, I love to talk)… if it has to cease, however, someone will put up a final post.

Time to feed the dogs.

So the world’s culture changes… not necessarily for the better…

Is our view of social interaction unusually influenced by television crime drama? You Betcha!

For instance:

Dorothy, Dorothy! And what are you doing with your attack dog Toto?

Hey, did you see that they auctioned off the gingham dress that Judy Garland wore in the movie for $480,000.00?

It’s Veterans Day…

I’ll be clear, here. I am not a veteran of our armed forces. When my eligibility would have occurred I got a 1 Y on my physical and was never allowed in (I was also married with a child and in college at the time.)

What I do remember every Veterans Day, however, is my Uncle Butch (Marine Sgt. Irving B. Tchakirides, my father’s younger brother), who died on his third tour of duty in Viet Nam… a victim of American fire as it happens. Many times I have gone to DC to see his name on the Viet Nam Wall and to remember how much I liked him, along with my other uncles, as a child.

So I wish a Best Veterans Day to the memory of my Uncle Butch and hope that someday we won’t have to think about losing our young men in wars we never should have been in.

 

Cartoon(s) of the Week – It’s all over. Where are we?

Kevin Siers in The Charlotte Observer:

Perhaps we can start on getting religion out of politics. What are we, the Taliban?

- and -

Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

At least we know now that America is more than old white men…

- and -

Joel Pett in The Lexington Herald-Leader:

Of course, some Republicans will probably continue their uncooperativeness. It will kill them later.

- and -

Mike Luckovich in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Of course, this may make at least one news organization reevaluate it’s strategy…

- and -

Adam Zyglis in the Buffalo News:

And now forward into the second term (thanks, in part, to General Motors.)
 

 

 

 

 

Ever make out a “living will?”

My daughter, wife, son and daughter-in-law are all participating in making out the details for a “living will“… I guess they are worried about what to do with my books and check-protector collection and fat-man clothes and other stuff.

They need to know if I’ll allow an autopsey, or whether I want to be cremated or buried or stuffed and distributed on a timely basis to decorate the homes of family members. They need to know if I want to stay alive in a vegetative state. Nothing I’ve really thought about before.

They are doing all this by following instructions in a book (“In the Checklist of Life“) by Elly and my old friend and former employee Lynn McPhelimy who developed this stuff thirty years ago.

This has been helpful to many people in our family… Elly gave many of them copies of Lynn’s book as holiday gifts one year. You can get it, too… just go to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/In-Checklist-Life-Working-Leave/dp/0965784355b   where it costs under $20.00.

If you are planning last days of any family member, or yourself, you may want to consider one of the many five-star reviews that have appeared on Amazon:

This is an excellent book. Everyone needs to have one of these. I have filled out every page that applies. I told my whole family where it is located should my untimely death occur. I have had to plan and attend many funerals and when there is no plan it can make things difficult and stressful. It you take the time to fill out these pages, even some of them, it will help your family in a time of sorrow and confusion. This book is best for the division of property and sentimental items. It is also a good idea to have a living will and trust. Anyone who’s ever had to go through probate or a difficult family situation can relate. For those who haven’t, just know that death can often do strange things to people and even the most loving of families can be divided over who gets what. Get this book as a great start to planning an inevitable part of life.

…or this one:

“In the Checklist of Life” was a book that I found to be indispensable. In retrospect, after losing someone close to you, you realize how important this book really is. I have always joked with my family about writing my own obituary, and here is my very own chapter in which to do just that. The chapter about your pets is one that should not be missed for all pet lovers. This book is smart, it’s funny, it makes you think, it makes you cry. Be kind to your family and fill in the pages of this wonderful book. They will forever be thankful.

As I think about what might go wrong with the surgery I’m having next Friday, this will keep most of my family feeling much more secure.  Thanks, Lynn.

 

Another good reason not to trust rich Republicans…

This was on NBC:

“From the moment Mitt Romney stepped off stage Tuesday night, having just delivered a brief concession speech he wrote only that evening, the massive infrastructure surrounding his campaign quickly began to disassemble itself.

Aides taking cabs home late that night got rude awakenings when they found the credit cards linked to the campaign no longer worked.”

- NBC’s Garrett Haake

No trickle up…guess that falls in line with trickle down. Obama spent most of the night praising and supporting his campaign workers.

 

Hey Radio Fans… I’ll be on from 10:30 to Noon today…

This will probably be the last time in the next two weeks that I can be on the air, given my forthcoming hospital visit next week. So… I’ll be thrilled to get your call-ins on “Talk To Me” (304-876-5369).b You can talk about anything you want to, as usual, or make an esoteric music request that you challenge me to find in a few minutes… it’s always fun for me.

If you are not in the 50 mile radius of WSHC at 89.7 FM, Shepherdstown WV, then you can go to 897wshc.org/listen-live. There are folks all over the country who listen, now (and a few friends in other countries) and I look forward to playing for everyone.

So, tune in this morning to “Talk To Me”. BTW, my daughter, Cassandra (from Connecticut) is my guest this morning. You can talk to her, too.

- Bill

 

 

A quote for the week – I can hardly believe someone would say this…

This is a quote that was published today by Buck Banks in Pensito Review. It was headed “Now This Guy Is A Sore Loser!”

Eric Dondero

“All family and friends, even close family and friends, who I know to be Democrats are hereby dead to me. I vow never to speak to them again for the rest of my life, or have any communications with them. They are in short, the enemies of liberty. They deserve nothing less than hatred and utter contempt…. I strongly urge all other libertarians to do the same. Are you married to someone who voted for Obama, have a girlfriend who voted ‘O’. Divorce them. Break up with them without haste. Vow not to attend family functions, Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas for example, if there will be any family members in attendance who are Democrats.”

— Former Ron Paul aide Eric Dondero, asserting that the only recourse to President Obama’s re-election is “outright revolt” and therefore is launching a “personal boycott” of Democrats.

Eric Dondero blogs at LibertarianRepublican.net.

I am impressed with how much difference can be read into the American psyche. What is wrong with these people? What good is a country where everyone believes the exact same things? How woud progress ever happen? Who would have invented the goddam lightbulb?

 

The Final Results of the Election…

If you haven’t seen where everything finally ended up after Florida was called (which took an awfully long time and right up to the very end the GOP said Romney had it… but he didn’t), then here it is:

This, to me, is a sure sign that Obama has a mandate to finish his agenda. To win by 126 electoral votes is not insignificant… it is a real rollover.

Now we will listen to Boehner claim that he is ready to cooperate, but will keep the House just a opposed to increasing taxes on the very rich and solving the rest of the economic problems. Will the House Republicans finally support Obama’s goal to increase jobs? Looks like they are going to stay just as opposed. Didn’t they learn anything from the election?

Mitch McConnell will probably keep the Republicans in the Senate from letting things go through, although they are still in the minority. McConnell is up for reelection in Kentucky in 2014, so maybe he will cooperate a little bit just to show that he’s not a schmuck. We’ll wait and see.

 

Looks like I’m on a revised schedule and a doctor change for brain surgery…

My wife, daughter and my son (who just came in from Wisconsin to see me) have just returned from a long morning and early afternoon in Georgetown (northern DC) where we have been at the hospital and physicians‘ center at the University.

It now seems that this is where everything will take place with the actual surgery one week from today. Tuesday we’ll have to go down again for more testing.

My new doctor comes with a very fine reputation and many years of experience. The hospital is one of the best rated in the country (something the Hagerstown hospital was far from) and it looks like they know what to do. The results of the surgery will take out part of the tumor, discover what kind it is and whether it needs chemotherapy, radiation or both. Then I will have an idea of how much living I will be able to expect… realizing that there is no 100% cure here.

Me and my brain. So this is what it looks like!

I now have much more need to research the idea of a brain tumor and how it will continue to effect my life. When you are 66 and facing something major like this in your head, it is also concerning how much life there will continue to be to effect.

I can, however, do my radio show tomorrow morning on WSHC, Shepherdstown. If you aren’t in our 50 mile radius for 89.7 FM, go HERE and listen live on line. Tomorrow I’ll be on from 10:30 to 12:00 ET and I look forward to calls and requests (and I think my daughter Cassandra is going to do the show with me.)

Hope you all had a better day than I did.       – Bill

(thanks to my daughter, Cassandra Corrigan, for the photo.)

I have such an urge to direct again…

… and what I really am eager to do is a production of the 1953 musical “Kismet“, whose music was adapted from classical work of Borodin.

The wonderful Arabian Nights story of 16th Century Baghdad about a fortune teller, a Wazir, a young Caliph and two very lovely women is something I have loved most of my life.

Many of it’s musical numbers became song classics. “Baubles, Bangles and Beads“, “Stranger in Paradise” and this:


“This is My Beloved.”

The show was a starring vehicle for Alfred Drake and the Broadway debut of Richard Kiley.

Unfortunately, my current physical condition makes it seem like I will never be able to direct again. If the tumor is removed it will probably endanger the part of my brain where cognitive creativity is connected. If we don’t solve the problem and I keep having seizures I will never be able to drive again and won’t be able to put in the solid effort that coordinating a musical production, especially a large and complex one as this, would be very difficult. It could certainly, however, make West Virginia community theatre history.

And then I have to find one of the local community playhouses who might let me do it… find 20 great performers … get a nice piano score for my dear collaborator Ruth Robertas to play from… and find a local choreographer who can bring the dancing girls to life.

If I get through this surgery and all that accompanies it, it will take at least a year before I can even get started (apart from notes I am doing now) putting it together. One can hope. It gives me something to focus on.

 

My congratulations to Stephen Skinner…My best wishes to Elliot Simon

The election finished in West Virginia with results I predicted on the air.

So we have a wonderful guy going to the State House of Delegates representing us here in Jefferson County.

Although I consider myself glad to know both Skinner and his opponent, libertarian Republican Elliot Simon, who does the radio programCommon Sense” on Saturday Mornings just before my show, “Talk To Me”, on WSHC radio in Shepherdstown, I must say it is Stephen’s politics that I agree with. It does not surprise me that he won.

I’ll be glad to have Elliot’s full time attention back on our Saturday Morning broadcasts. I’m sure he disagrees with me, but I hope we will still cordially greet each other between shows.

 

My daughter, Cassandra, has come down from Connecticut and is helping my wife coordinate all the brain surgery problems…

I don’t know what I would do if I were on my own, here, dealing with doctors changing schedules without giving us warning, accidentally taking medications that should have been discontinued before certain tests, getting up at 5:00 every morning to get into three or four appointments which don’t seem to get us anywhere.

The newest big problem is reports we have gotten from friends, employees of the hospital and others, where we have been told that the particular hospital we were going to have the surgery in is not one ANY of them would use. Isn’t that thrilling?

Now we are in a holding position. We haven’t cancelled the now set Monday surgery or anything, but tomorrow we are interviewing another practice at a much better hospital with a much better reputation and this may stop everything and set up a new schedule.

Cassandra

Fortunately for me, my daughter Cassandra Corrigan who is a private school Senior Database Administrator in Connecticut (Loomis, Chaffee School), took off from work, drove down here to West Virginia, and has been coordinating with my wife on getting all the papers ready, information on MRIs and other tests that have been collected in the last couple of weeks to bring to Ge0rgetown, down near DC, for the new practice interviews. We will be making a new decision after that, so surgery will most likely be postponed some more.

I am so impressed with Cassandra… my first-born, a fine wife and mother and a brilliant woman. I taught her to use her first computer and now she outshines and outperforms me in all things technical. Wow! And she and my two other kids (can you still call them kids after they are older, married and out of the house?), my Mother, My sister and so many friends have been so concerned that the phone doesn’t seem to stop ringing with folks wanting to know what’s happening.

Cassandra is just doing a spectacular job of getting me organized with all of this. I don’t know what I’ll do when she goes back up to the snow.

We’ve spent this morning and into the afternoon tracking down test reports from four doctors’ offices and we had a new blood test at a lab… and Elly got to go to work and teach her classes while my daughter brought me from office to office. I’m so glad Elly got to go to work today… she’s been giving up so much of her time for me, and when you are in a one-income household, the thought of impacting that one income is awesome.

A day of celebration underscored by personal madness…

AT 4:30 this morning when I posted Obama‘s win I had had 2 1/2 hours of sleep and needed to be up by five to drive to Hagerstown for the first of five different scheduled lab visits, Doctor conferences, and tests based on the notion that I’d be in surgery with my little brain on Friday.

Then, in the middle of all this, as my wife and I went from office to office (I had fasted for close to 11 hours because of one of the tests… so tired AND hungry) trying to get our neurosurgeon on the telephone to find out the results of yesterday’s testing, we were told the surgery would be moved to Monday from Friday!

Well, you’ve never heard anyone yell as loudly into a cell phone as Elly did to one of the front desk ladies at the Doctors‘ office who informed us of this unannounced time change. You have to understand, she takes time off from her work at the College to take me to these appointments and she manages our schedules and expenses, and she expects that professionals follow professional guidelines and maintain their schedules. They don’t.

There is a chance that they may not be able to do the surgery Monday, either, or that my wife will insist that we find another doctor (my daughters, I think, agree with that, too… I’m to worn out and dizzy to even think about it now. I’ll do what they say.)

So, if there is no surgery Friday, we will probably be headed to Georgetown ( 2 hours away) to interview another neurological practice.  If that does happen, I’ll probably be able to do my Saturday morning radio show on WSHC.

There is Joy In Mudville, though… Mighty Mitty has struck out. If you heard that snivelling concession speech he made (gracefulness is not a Republican skill) at 1:30 in the morning, then you have an idea of what kind of president he would have made.

Now we still have the House of Representatives with a big margin for the Repubs and John Boehner  which will let them trample the legislation we need for the economy, for single payer healthcare, for rebuilding our country and for getting out of all this war. I’m afraid it will be a difficult 4 years. Our support for the president will help get things done.

It will be one of the functions of this blog as long as I can keep it going.

- Bill

 

 

Getting this election over with is becoming an evening of sheer misery…

It’s not enough that I am going in for tests before my Friday brain surgery at 6:30 AM tomorrow and go through four different doctors and three tests by 2:30 PM…just getting my mind in the mood for that doesn’t let me bond with the TV pundits who are arguing out the campaign results they can’t really call.

Thinking about how miserable it would be if Romney won, but that is not nearly as bad as thinking about how graceless in their concessions the losers will be if Obama and the Democratic Congressional candidates win. Nobody seems to really be trying to tie the country together and make us the UNITED states that we have to become.

BTW, I want to really think the hundreds of you who have wished me well by e-mail, in Facebook, and those of you who have commented on this blog.  I never really knew how many of you visit the LobsterScope and it’s daily changing graphic background and what my daughter calls the rantings of an old man. I hope I’ll be back at full speed next week some time, but it will be hard to keep it up now through the weekend. Don’t be surprised if a day has no or only one post… and don’t plan on anything Friday or Saturday.

Those of you who listen to me on the radio at WSHC 89.7 Shepherdstown, either locally or on the worldwide live feed at http://897wshc.org , won’t hear me this weekend. I got friends and fellows to cover my time on the air and I thank all of them.

If you are in a state that has late polls open and you haven’t voted yet, get out there and do it. People have died for your right to vote!

Bye now… Bill.

It’s the beginning of the most important day of the year…

Waking up to Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire:

Nate Silver now projects President Obama’s margin of victory to be two or three percentage points in the popular vote, approximating the margin that George W. Bush achieved in defeating John Kerry in 2004.

In addition, he gives Obama a 91.6% chance to win the necessary 270 electoral votes for re-election.

John Avlon: “The final polls are out and behind the national horserace is a fascinating dynamic — Mitt Romney is narrowly winning independent voters while President Obama is winning centrist voters by a nearly 20-point margin.”

“This is significant because in past elections independents and centrist voters have been largely synonymous-overlapping cohorts, reflecting the belief of many independents that the two parties are too polarized and disproportionately dominated by their respective special interests. But what I think we’re seeing this year is the extended impact of the tea party – a growth in the number of independent conservatives that has moved the overall independent voting block slightly to the right. In turn, centrist voters are more likely to vote for Obama precisely because of the polarizing impact of the tea party and the intransigence of many conservative congressmen when it came to working in a good faith spirit of principled compromise with the Obama administration.”

OK… I’m off for my morning appointments (gee…how do people get up this early?).  – Bill

 

I might have limited posting for a while…

Due to a medical emergency (the discovery of a potential brain tumor… aint that a kick in the head?) I’m going to be going in for several days of testing, etc., but I’ll try to keep up with you folks. I want you to know how much I appreciate the readers of Under The LobsterScope, and your e-mail to me is always welcome, as well as your likes and comments.

DON’T FORGET TO VOTE THIS MORNING IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY.

I don’t want to wake up in a hospital and find that Mitt the Twit is president.

English: Nate Silver in Washington, D.C.

 Nate Silver

I’m glad that Nate Silver in the NY Times, 538 column, is still got his usually very accurate poll predictions on Obama carrying most of the swing states… and his prediction that our president will be re-elected.

Your e-mail is always appreciated… Bill.

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