The Great Plotnik

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Earthquake Spaghetti


As the curtain was going down on last night's ACT performance of 'The Rainmaker,' The Calaveras Fault came a-shaking and a-rumbling. The Great Plotnik was sitting in his seat, having just put away his press kit, turned off his cell phone, located his Crystal Geyser water bottle under his seat and made sure his M&Ms weren't rattling. He can report to his concerned readers that the 5.6 earthquake (5.6? Hah! We speet on your 5.6!) didn't even penetrate his consciousness, until during the first intermission when the ladies sitting next to him were looking over someone in the next row's shoulder who was receiving info on his cell phone about the quake. Only then did it dawn on Plotnik that an earthquake had even happened.

The Geary Theater was built right after the '06 quake and renovated within the last ten years, so it's probably a fine place to be during a large one. The Great Ducknik was in the Ladies Room (not in 1906, last night) and she said it shook like crazy in there.

The Great Plotnik thought: No matter what Hemingway said in For Whom The Bell Tolls, you don't want to have your pants down during an Earthquake.

'The Rainmaker' is pretty good, beautiful to look at and it has Rene Augesen so it can't be bad. It might not be a jump-up-and-shout-Hallelujah though.

Meanwhile, the clock strikes Halloween tonight and The Meatball Kitchen has prepared a double batch of Halloween Spaghetti and Meatballs. Observe the nice, smoky Oaxaca chile in the middle of the sauce, yum.

Actually, the Spaghetti and Meatballs comes first, to give the stomach a base on which to add Snickers, Almond Joys, Baby Ruths, Butterfingers, M&Ms, Hersheys, Skittles and a little Ice Nine to wash it all down. All Plotnikkies who are in the area are welcome to come taste, but make sure you specify Meatballs or Snickers.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Editors and Writers and Respect

Snowy Valley Sal has been editing Plotnik's 'Doug's Private Highlight Reel' story for inclusion in the next issue. Plot and SVS have gone back and forth by email, the way they always do, about story issues. Plot likes it that way. It's Sal's newspaper, and she wants things the way she wants 'em. She is also a very good editor, particularly when space issues are involved.

The Great Plotnik, on the other hand, is a writer. He also wants things the way he wants 'em, and that means exactly the way he wrote them. But he isn't always right, because as everyone knows God made editors to piss off writers, but also to make the stories crisper and more readable.

This story -- it's about basketball, and growing older, but it is also marginally about race. Plot has strong feelings about all of these things. He has discovered, in the course of the last ten or twenty years, that white people do not like to talk about race. They don't even want to see the word 'white' or the word 'black.' They like 'harmony' and they like 'diverse' and they like 'Kumbaya My Lord' but they don't like 'F__ You, M___ F___,' even when it's the only possible statement of truth.

Just as in love, and marriage, and career, there is only one real issue in a basketball game: respect. If you're good, you gain respect and if you're not you have to keep earning it week after week after week. Young players always think they're better than older players, because they are. They jump higher. They shoot better. Their muscles talk to their legs and their legs say "Sure."

Older players, like Plotnik, have legs that say "Say what? Jump where?" Older players think about it in terms of brain power and survival. Their one advantage is they remember being young. Young studs have no freaking idea.

Plotnik remembers walking into the gym when he was a teenage Plottie. The game that had the old guys in it was the game Plot and his friends figured they could win. But they didn't, always. The old guys knew every trick in the book. They'd cheat and they'd gouge but they'd also make two passes to Plottie's team's one and the next thing he knew Plot was sitting on the bench and the geezers were still playing.

Race adds a dimension to it -- black basketball players don't fear white basketball players, unless they're really tall. Black guys play harder than white guys, at least on a pick-up game level. They have to. They've always had to. They've got a lot more to prove and not as many places to prove it.

But white people don't want to hear about fighting for respect. They take it as a given. It's not a given. Respect has to be earned and some people have to fight harder to earn it. That's the way it is, whether it fits the story guidelines or not.

Plottie has been an editor too, and when he wears that hat he wants quick, crisp, to-the-point. As a writer he wants truth. Truth and crisp can coexist, but it sure takes a lot of emails.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Noe Valley Against the War, Kinda

It's not that the march started too early, or that there weren't enough people, or that they marched 'way too fast, or that everybody was so smilingly well behaved, or that there were so many people sitting drinking their coffees in the outdoor cafes who barely looked up as the marchers marched past, or that the Farmers' Market banjo players couldn't stop their 'This Little Piggy Went to Market' long enough to even play a few bars of 'This Land Is Your Land,' or that nobody in line really chanted and everyone seemed pretty sleepy -- but it was all of that, and it was the realization that, in the end, we are five years into a war nobody likes and Noe Valley could only muster up 75 or so people to complain about it.

The Great Plotnik had this realization: Protest will only become action when one of two things happen. One: Disaster. Without a draft, you won't get younger people out of their XBoxes and without an economic crunch not many older people will even notice. War? Thank you, no. Wine? Yes, Please.

With a volunteer army, the only parents with kids serving are in neighborhoods not a bit like Noe Valley.

Barring the Great Crunch, it will take leaders with vision. We will all follow a dynamic, brilliant politician with an agenda. Sadly, it has become all too clear that the Democrats are interested in winning in 2008, which they probably will do, but that is all they're interested in. It's very discouraging. Nothing wrong with Hillary, and she's a lot better than Bush, but she's not going to change a thing, not really, and she won't get us marching, not really, and she won't attempt to direct our dreams to the stars so we might reach for our possiblities. Not really. Bill didn't do it either. Barack might but he's the future.

All that money and blood poured into the sand. Our futures mortgaged for people who despise us and everything that we believe in. Corruption on an internationally grand scale and we don't have enough money to keep the new Glen Park Library open on Sunday.

Think about it: you probably don't support the war. You realize we are behaving like spoiled, playground bullies in Iraq. But what have you done about it? What has Plotnik done about it? Little. Why? Because we're having a good time anyway.

So why march? Plotnik walked with the marchers, took a few photos, then found his friend Beverly and walked back home, talking about restaurants.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Young and the Ancient: Baby I and Preservation Hall

Baby I is having fun with her GrandPlotniks. She seems to like bagels.

There's nothing like the laundry basket with warm, folded clothes in it. Baby I is speaking now, too. There's budta budta budta, and there's emenenemenemenem. All the Plotniks speak the same words back to her. Whatever they mean, that's what everyone is saying.

Last night, Duck cashed in her last months' birthday present from PD and 5H, which was two tickets to see SF Jazz's New Orleans Night at the Masonic Auditorium. Dr. John, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the Wild Magnolias with Big Chief Bo Dallis were the featured acts, and it was a hoot.

The thing Plottie loves about this music is how simple it is. The youngest guy in the Preservation Hall band is around 50 but the others are at least 75. All they do is groove. Most of all, it's sweet.

Dr. John said: "All that money y'all sent to New Orleans. Nobody I know ever saw a dime of it. It's too corrupt to even laugh about."

What a great weekend this has been. Except for this morning, but we'll talk about that tomorrow when the swelling goes down. Not Plottie -- Plottie Junior.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Surprise! (And More Food)

There are a million different things to blog about today, especially the surprise appearance of...

...Baby I, The Great FiveHead and The Great PunkyDunky, as a most fabulastical birthday surprise for The Great Plotnik. Ducknik had been concealing this for a month, and pulled it off with amazing alacrity (including buying a crib on Craig's List and concealing it in the attic).

Yesterday morning Plottie almost guessed what was going on, so Duck texted FiveHead and said "He's Onto Us." FiveHead then called her friend Jade-Nik the Shakespearean Temptress and the next thing Plotnik knew he got a phone call from Jade-Nik, in Stiletto City, saying: "Happy Birthday, Plottie. I'm at the gym with The Great FiveHead. Oh, 'Bye 5H! 'Bye Baby I!" Plottie put down the phone and said to himself "Rats! They're not coming up after all! I had it wrong."

Ten minutes later Duck came home and said "Plottie Dear, come out to the car and help me bring something in." Plot walked out and guess which pretty little thing was walking towards him, holding her Mommy and Daddy's hand? You got it.

Last night, Plot, Duck, PD, 5H and BI went to what may become the Plotniks' favorite local spot: Lupa, on 24th St. It's not a red tablecloth Italian restaurant, it's far better. All four eaters (one was asleep) agreed it was one of the best Italian meals they've ever eaten. The seafood risotto, osso buco and fetucinni with black truffle sauce were absolutely outstanding, and Lupa has the very best house-made Italian bread this side of the Big Shmapple, hands down.

Plot went to the Noe Valley Against The War peace march this morning. To call it pathetic is a bit much, We'll talk about that tomorrow.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Happy Birthday to Meee-e-e-e

It's another day that's worth another year. Birthdays don't really amount to much except when they end in 0 or 5, so Plot is spared getting all philosophical about it for several more years.

So what shall he do on his birthday? For a start, he gets to ride downtown to do battle once again with the Betentacled Misbegottens at AT&T, formerly Cingular, on behalf of the Great BeezieWeezie's cell phone. The other day, when Plot first began this seemingly simple quest to make the company do what it promised to do a year ago when Plotnik, Plotnik and Plotnik signed up for the Family Plan (photo on the brochure of smiling family members speaking of simple things to one another using their new cell phones), the BMs balked. They needed to talk to their manager, who wasn't there right now, or their assistant manager, who had been there, they're sure he had been there, but by gawrsh he didn't seem to be there right now either. Plottie couldn't make 'em budge. You could not push the BMs through the colon of bureaucratic insolence.

At one point, Plot said to the well-dressed, nicely suited BM that was serving him: "Don't you find it hard to say things like you just said to me and keep a straight face?" The guy said "Yeah, I do," but that's all he said.

BZ's cell phone is a piece-o-junk. She has had to sit on her stoop outside to make any calls at all. Talking to her is like a bad commercial. Yesterday Duck called her to tell her Auntie M had died. Plot heard Duck say: "Honey, I've got bad news. Auntie Melba died. Hello? Hello? BZ are you there?"

Then BZ called back. The conversation went: "Hi, Honey. Yes, I'm fine. What happened is...hello? Hello? BZ? Hello?"

So back Plottie rides to attempt to be a prune. Plot will push a little harder. What happens will be anyone's guess, and Happy Birthday to you.

Later, he will wax eloquent to y'all about his new BBQ, and he will cook for everyone once he and Duck figure out where to buy a propane tank with a gauge, how you fill it with propane and which gizmo you touch to fire 'er up.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Auntie Melba

Plot is sad to report that Auntie Melba died yesterday. She was as sweet as sugar, Kentucky to the bone and always a pal to her niece and to Plotnik as well. It's good that Duck and Plot got to spend time with her in Somerset in April, where it was surprising to see she had seemed to have slipped more quickly than expected into older lady-hood. But she was still Auntie Melba: "Now, Honey, you just open that refrigerator and get you something to eat."

Back in 1970, just a few days before Thanksgiving, when Plotnik and Ducknik had only been married a few months, Duck's Mom, Mildred, passed away. She was buried in her hometown of Somerset, Kentucky, and the family flew down from New York. But you don't just fly to Somerset, Kentucky, you fly to Cincinnati, or Lexington, and drive a few hours through a Southern landscape unlike anywhere else. When the family arrived in Somerset, the metropolitan, impersonal big-city landscape Plotnik was accustomed to had disappeared. What had taken its place was a welcoming, overpouring of love on a scale he had never before experienced.

Melba led the parade. Everyone stayed with her at the little house on Vaught Street, and this is where Plotnik discovered what country funerals really mean: food. Neighbors brought turkeys and hams and homemade jams, and you can see that rhymes so you know what Plotnik did with it.

Melba's husband James was a railroad man, but he had been seriously injured many years earlier and in his later years suffered from crippling arthritis. When he died, Melba moved forward with her life, but when her daughter passed away earlier this year, it seemed to take the starch out of her. She told Duck on the phone that she wasn't able to deal with it, that she couldn't figure out why Janice had died but she herself was still alive.

When Duck and Plottie were in town in April, they drove with Melba to the cemetery, where Plot looked at Melba's unmarked tombstone, already erected and carved with her name Melba Elise Murphy and her birth date Dec 19 1924, but no other date yet, and Plot hoped he wouldn't have to think about that tombstone again very soon, but that's not how it has turned out.

What a grand lady. Plotnik already misses her old family stories, her hospitality, her country ham and gravy, and above all, the melody of her voice. He can hear her right now, laughing.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Frog Never Rode the 14-Mission

Don't EVER ride the 14-Mission unless you just smell too sweet and need a little foot odor to balance out your aromatic portfolio.

Don't EVER try to reason with AT&T cell phone salespeople. Plotnik thinks it ought to be a crime, punishable by two hours on the 14-Mission, when they give you their manager's business card and say "Just call and talk to Shawn, he'll probably be able to help you," and then you call the number and it's a national AT&T call number where they tell you in English and Spanish to Press 5, eat ka-ka and die.

Don't EVER think Plotnik will ever learn how to link from The Great Plotnik to At least in this century.

However, DO go over to to read the review of "After the Quake" at Berkeley Rep, that Plot and Duck saw last night. It's a terrific show, and the Thrust Stage at Berkeley Rep is seriously gorgeous and definitely one of the very places in the Bay Area to see live theater. Great room, great show, three and a half Stars with a Bang.

But...Plottie thinks he's not very Berkeley anymore. He used to feel a real kinship with the folks over there. Now...jeez. We'll talk about that some more.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Baby I With Hat. Garsh.

The Great Plotnik has it bad this morning, thanks to Grandma Joy's wonderful photos that she sent last night. Man, Plot and Duck really miss this little girl -- every time new photos are sent, Baby I has seemed to jump up several more notches. Garsh.

She walks.

She smiles.

She swings.

And then she sleeps again.

Her birthday party can't come too soon, but it's still 13 days away.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Halloween Again? Already?

Admittedly, this photo of RR, The World's Best Behaved Child, is almost one year old, and since she's only four that amounts to a lot. Still, beautiful children are beautiful children, and Halloween is almost here again.

Which brings us to this morning's sermon, children. Is anyone sick to death of Halloween? Is there anyone else who is feeling like the grinch who stole all the pumpkins? Does anyone wish they were in some other country instead of knowing they'll be out on the stoop again in their silly fish hat, laughing, enjoying seeing the hundreds of excited kids in costumes walking hesitantly up the front steps to get their candy, the little girls as fairy princesses and Princess Leias and the little boy Darth Vaders and even a few George Bushes and Guv'na Arnolds?

Why is Plotnik tired of this holiday? Hold on, he's trying to remember. After typing that last paragraph, he's actually starting to look forward to it again. Does this happen every year? Probably.

The very worst thing, however: two full weeks ago they were already playing Christmas music at Costco.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Ivan Hurts His Knee

Today, The Great Plotnik played ball like the tired, old dog he is. He has noticed, as well, that the more poorly he plays, the louder he shoots off his mouth. Sadly, during one exchange of pleasant basketbally love taps, Plot flew off the handle and cursed his friend Ivan.

Ivan got in Plottie's face, saying stuff like "I never curse you, why are you disrespecting me?" and Plotnik immediately felt bad, apologized, diffused the problem and he and Ivan slapped palms and it was all forgotten.

Except that the very next time down the court, Ivan went to catch a pass and his left knee blew out. Nobody touched him, it just happened -- he grabbed his knee, screamed in pain and lay on the court until we could pick him up and move him to the bench.

Eventually, he limped to his motorcycle and was last seen trying to get on it -- nobody could drive him home because he didn't want to leave his motorcycle parked on the street.

The result is Plotnik now feels very guilty about somehow having contributed to that knee. Maybe Ivan was running even harder than usual to show that he, you know, respect, something silly, whatever. Guys always play harder after they think they've been taken too lightly. Ivan kept saying: "I've got three kids. I can't be hurt. I can't not work."

He drives a truck and delivers beer and sodas -- in other words, he is on his feet all day. No work, no money.

Ahhhhhh, shoot. We're all worried about the same thing. Ivan's probably only 30 or so. Hope it's not too serious.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A Good Friday

The Great Plotnik has been in a cooking rut for awhile, but last night, maybe because he finished his theater blog ***, maybe because the Voice took his b-ball story, maybe because he has FINALLY finished "Rabbi Karpas Hates Me," his story about being cabnapped in Bangkok, or maybe just because he keeps staring at that chubby cheeked photo of Baby I on top of his speaker and it makes him chuckle every time, he pan broiled a New York Steak slathered in garlic, black pepper and Tony Chachere's, sliced it thin and put it on the plate, then covered it with arugula from the garden, thin slices of reggiano parmagiano, a little homemade Russian dressing and capers.

Then came the big ol' mushroom caps, sliced with green and red peppers and green onions and finished with white wine.

The Persian cucumbers were next, with tomatoes, parsley, lemon and lime juices and olive oil.

At the very end came biscotti from Trader Joe's, but you don't need to see a picture of those, because you're probably munching on one right now, right?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Large Pants is Back

His pants are probably still as large, but The Great Large Pants himself doesn't seem to be taking up as much room in them as he used to. Spending the summer in Provincetown rooting for the Red Sox has caused him to slim down gracefully. Last night at his return to TIAPOS, Large Pants read from the beginning of his Return to Saint Plotniko journal, including a pretty fabulous description of a woman staring at a church and painting a pear.

Bombshell read about being done with her Can Everybody Get Along? Yes We Can new-age church and discovering a latent attraction to Buddhism. Miss Domin-Nik showed a marvellous and inspiring Marta Beckett video and The Great Plotnik read two chapters of 'Rabbi Karpas Hates Me,' about being cabnapped in Bangkok on the way to a gig.

It's great to have Large Pants back, but the question is What Happened to Chef Pickle? She never showed up. Time to find out why.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mmmmm. Butterfingers.

It's candy time again. Plotnik went down to Costco yesterday and bought 3 enormous bags of Snicker's, Reese's, Kit Kat, Baby Ruth, Butterfingers, Nestle's Crisp, Hersheys and M&M's, 150 pieces per bag, because he'll use 'em all up and more in his neighborhood Halloween Night. Plus, Li'l Fee donated a bag of candy too, because she remembered that Plotnik ran out last year, and she doesn't want any problems this year. It's always a madhouse in front of the Great Plotnik World Headquarters and Candy Dispensary. Plotnik's fish hat is ready.

(OK, so maybe he won't give 'em ALL away, so maybe a few Butterfingers and Baby Ruths will find their way, somehow, into the freezer, tossed into a plain paper bag labeled "Spinach." Snickers too. Maybe.)

Sadly, Halloween Night will be Dana and Leslie's last night in SP. They have given up the ghost and are moving to Sonoma, to eke out a modest living in one of the many five bedroom-with-pool homes they have purchased up there in the last few years. So long to good friends and all that wonderful gumbo.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Last Photo's a Doozy

Blogger is not accepting photos this morning. What's a blog without a photo?

Well, while reading an older entry on The Great Domin-Nik's blog this morning, Plotnik saw a column where she had ordered her blog entries into categories by subject, including one called "Domin-Nik's Journey."

Plotnik thought: What is Plotnik's Journey? And what categories would sum up his blog entries? And what would the photos look like?

1) Here's a photo of a fabulous shrimp curry with lemon grass and green chili paste, sitting next to a tray of zaatar chicken, served with brown saffron pilaf.

2) Here's a photo of Baby Isabella. Look at those chubby cheeks! Doesn't she remind you of her grandparents? Cutesy Ooopsy Poopsy (GP 5000 Baby Talk Filter Engaged.)(Missle Launched.)(Plotnik Paying No Attention.)(Ouch.)

3) Here's a review of "Hot Balls, Def Leppard Live," the latest adaptation from record to the live stage, currently running at the We Will Piss On Your Car Theater on Skid Row. Sam Shepard as Leppard, was excellent, as was L.V. Beethoven as Def.

4. Here's a photo of the new Valencia Corridor Restaurant "So Hip My Stomach Gurgles." The "Beef Hoof Stewed in Prunes" ($47) is crappy but it's better than anything else.

5. Here's a shot of the latest Plotzer's shrine. Here's another shot of Plotnik taking down the latest Plotzer's shrine, dousing it in gasoline and doing the Laotian Monk on its ass.

6. Notthat reminds Plottie: Photo six is a shot of current progress of all the useless and inedible herbs in the Plotnik Back 40, including huacatay, sorrel and dead curry leaf.

7. But here's the doozy. Here's the final photo: Plotnik, Ducknik, PunkyDunky, BeezieWeezie, FiveHead, Baby I, Mummy Plotnik, Shmeckl Plotnik, Little Bearnik, Nefnik, Fefnik, Vashnik, Dominant Force-Nik, PP-aka-JJ, John the King, Mushnik, Dance-Nik, NotThat, Blogmaid, Loquacious Sal, Zinfandini, Miss Domin-Nik, Famous Author Nguyen-Lopez Tyrone Finkleface, Big Blogs, Blonde Bombshell, Large Pants, Neecie Weecie, Cousin Mrs. Two Names, Cousin Seattle and New Cousin Jeffrey PunkeDunke. Anyone who can identify most of the above gets a free dinner at the Meatball Kitchen with your choice of chow.

Wow! What a photo! Who Knew?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Plot is Going Stark Blogging Crazy

For the first time in several years, Plotnik forgot about his blog this morning. Why? Because he's going stark blogging nuts trying to set up his OTHER blog, which he will use to post his theater reviews. He never realized how easy Blogger is to use, until he started messing around with WordPress. He's just gotten out of the Circle of Divine Misinformation, operated by the WordPress Customer Service Department, pictured above.

We'll talk tomorrow.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Bella Venezia: No es para nostros.

From time to time through the years, Plotnik toyed with having his own restaurant. He got scared off by zillions of factors...for example, Chiefie worked for the last twenty years of his life for an organization of retired business people who advised perspective new business owners. 80% of the people who came in with new ideas for a new business wanted to open restaurants. A good 90% of them went broke within a year.

But what always scared Plotnik the most, was the above picture --- you're there at 6am making all your sauces and getting everything ready, and then you open for dinner and...nobody comes. Ducknik and Plotnik went to Bella Venezia on Mission Street, which had been recommended highly, and they were literally the only people eating in a 100+ seat restaurant, on a Saturday night. Very scary.

The food is not very good, either. An Italian restaurant in a Latino neighborhood where the waiters, the cooks and the few people who eventually straggled in off the street, all spoke Spanish to each other. The food tasted like Italian food the way the owners figure Mexican people want to eat it. The only thing missing was sour cream and chips.

Too bad. Prices are inexpensive and there would be plenty to try on the menu. But the Plotniks aren't going back.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Guess Who's Having a Birthday?

You guessed right. But can it really be almost one whole year since this:

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Amanda Moody is Fabulous: Three and a Half Stars for "D'Arc."

Amanda Moody and Footloose want you to approach Moody's one-woman show "D'Arc" with aloof hipness. The set is sparse, there's an electronic cellist in high heels on the stage and the fellow in the seat on the other side of Ducknik is asleep before the show starts. But it's hard to remain aloof with Amanda Moody -- she's so darned good. With bright red hair and a rapturous smile, she opens as Joan of Arc, with a thick French accent, sallying into battle on her horse; she then morphs into a mother sounding like she's from Little Neck, Queens, who is desperately trying to locate her missing daughter Joan; and the daughter herself, a do-gooder who has disappeared somewhere in Afghanistan, where she was attempting to instruct local women about beauty. A box wrapped in white paper drops from the ceiling at some point, as Moody takes us back and forth, from character to character, filling out her story and making us sweat, as we keep wondering WHAT IS IN THE DAMNED BOX?

'Hip Show' usually just means 'weird sophomoric music,' but D'Arc's music, composed by Jay Cloidt, has intriguingly (and Plotnik is) Grateful (for its) Depth. It helps that Moody is a trained singer and superb performer. Indeed, one gets into the car afterwards singing "Everyone Burns, Everyone Burns," and it may not be all that uplifting but you do exit singing.

D'Arc is an excellent and thought-provoking show, very much worth seeing and bringing your friends along. Arrive with your own chocolate, though, because the show is an hour and a half long with no intermission. When they lop ten minutes off the ending, D'Arc will be even stronger, and the guy on the other side of Ducknik may wake up.

The Great Plotnik Theater Awards Division awards D'Arc three stars for Moody's story and performance, plus half a star for the way she stomps incomprehensibly off stage, down the stairs and out the front door with a loud slam -- and the show isn't even over! -- plus another potential half star for when they shorten the ending -- it's over when the door slams, folks.

Three and a Half Stars for D'Arc and a long round of applause.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Columbus Day and the Indians

It's October 12, Used-to-be-Columbus Day, the 515th year after Cristophorus Colombus (Latin), Cristobal Colon (Spanish) and Christopher Columbus (English), all the same man, stepped from his flagship the Santa Maria onto an island in the Caribbean, having been hired by the Spanish Queen to look for gold to steal and heathens to make into gentiles.

What is left of Columbus today? In his English name, a long avenue in New York City and the capital of Ohio. In his Spanish spelling, a vital piece of the digestive tract and an American League pitcher. He used to have a holiday, but no longer.

It is fortunate that the first explorers to land in the new world brought with them a great love for the game of beisbol, and immediately formed a team, naming their team after their new friends on the island. It is also fortunate there was a photographer waiting to take their team photo.

Look closely in the upper right hand portion of the photo and you will see a rare photo of Christoforo CoPlotnik, the team's coach. Captain Omar, his assistant, is standing next to CoPlotnik. Omar owned a wonderful restaurant nearby and always wore those shorts. In the bottom row are the team's two best players.

Baseball rules. Remember, Colombus and CoPlotnik were working for the Queen of Spain, whose name was Isabella, heh heh yupsy dupsy oopsy poopsy (GP 5000 Baby Talk Filter Engaged)(Inquisition Notified).

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Favorite Uncle Dave: The Puzzle

Discovering a new cousin has gotten The Great Plotnik to dive back into his old Family Tree notes and photos, and the Puzzle. The Puzzle is that Plotnik's grandfather had five brothers and a sister, but never spoke one word about them while he was alive. Plotnik only discovered he had a large, unknown family ten years ago.

Since then, he has tried to find photos and stories of the other six. The man above is the largest enigma -- it's Plotnik's Great-Uncle Dave, the sixth of the seven children. Grandpa Max was number seven. Everybody seems to have loved Uncle Dave (whoever took this photo wrote on it 'my favorite Uncle Dave'), who lived, at various times, in Portland and Seattle. One of the women in the photo is Aunt Nellie Armstrong, who Uncle Dave married, divorced and remarried several times, apparently.

But which woman is Nellie? The hat and dress of the older woman seems to date the photo around -- 1915? If so, Uncle Dave would have been around 30 -- he looks around that age here -- and so the lady in the flapper dress in the snow with the scarf and the hat would be Nellie. If the photo is later -- perhaps Nellie is the shorter, older lady. Plotnik likes the irreverent looks on both the women's faces.

No one knows much about Uncle Dave, except that Dave and Nellie had one son, whose name was Milton. Milton lived in Daly City, but died in 1998, just a month or so before Plotnik would have discovered his existence only a few miles away. Damn! Milton could have filled in one more piece of The Puzzle.

Yesterday, Plotnik got an email from Cousin Corrine, in Florida, a woman who is the aunt of New Cousin Jeffrey. Of course, Plottie has never met her, but corresponded with her when he discovered she existed some ten years ago. Cousin Corrine recounted to Plotnik about her sadness since her husband died and how she has gotten into alternative healing and can help people by various holistic methods.

This is the part Plotnik loves: there are threads that exist in families. The Plotniks are filled with alternative people. Perhaps every family is. Perhaps Plotnik's quest is to find these off-center people who are his own flesh and blood. No, that's not true. He wants to know about all of them.

He likes seeing their pictures and looking for the telltale Plotnik signs: thick eyebrows and square chins. He likes hearing their stories and hearing if they are often beset by explosive sneezes, another family trait.

Poland to England to Brooklyn to Portland, that's Uncle Dave. What happened in between? And did he sneeze? Why did he marry and divorce his wife so many times? Damn -- Cousin Milton could have told him. Damn.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A New Cousin

The Great Plotnik discovered a new cousin last night, the first new cousin to appear in the past few years, ever since Plotnik started researching the Plotnik family tree ten years ago. The Great PunkyDunky saw concert tickets on Craig's List that he wanted to buy, so he wrote to the seller. When the seller wrote back he noted that his last name was spelled PunkyDunke, almost the same as PD's except for the E on the end instead of the Y. Could they be related?

Of course they are related. New Cousin Jeffrey PunkyDunke's great-grandfather Sam was the older brother of The Great Plotnik's grandfather Max. This makes Jeffrey Punkydunke a third cousin to the Great PunkyDunky and a second cousin, once removed, to The Great Plotnik (and a third cousin, once removed, to Baby Isabella).

So, NC Jeffrey PunkyDunke, of Stiletto City, California, the man and woman in the above picture are your great-great-great-grandfather and great-great-great grandmother. We should all have that cool a suit. Welcome home.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Belly Gets to Nawlins

Thanks to The Great PD for all these wonderful photos of New Orleans in September, 2007.

Sitting naked on a New Orleans porch isn't all that unusual, unless you are as knock-out gawjus as Baby Isabella. Yes, Grandpa P. thought about splinters too, but he is assured there weren't any.

The beignets are still just as great at Cafe Du Monde and the Po Boys at Liuzza's haven't lost a beat. That LOOKS like a piece of processed meat in The Great FiveHead's Po Boy but it has to be a salamptical illusion.

The traffic lights still work just like they used to.

And at Jacques-imo's, The Great Plotnik's favorite restaurant in the world, you can still eat your dinner in the pickup truck parked out in front.

The Treme Brass Band still roams through the French Quarter Market.

Tubas and Trombones rule. Even inside. These guys are playing in church.

Hard work by The Great FiveHead and many others are the only hope for a city knocked down as hard and as far as New Orleans.

A foundation like this one...

...will lead to a house like this one by next Spring.

Plotnik and Ducknik are going to go soon. If anyone is interested in coming along, let us know.