The Great Plotnik

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Fee Monster, Zhanar and the Battle of the Two Disneys

Fee Monster came over last night with her cousin Ashlynn. Brother Zinfandini brought a few choice syrahs, so this morning Plottie took a little bit longer to drag himself out of bed to head to the b-ball court.

In a few hours Plotnik and Ducknik drive to SPO to pick up Zhanar Rustemova. Zanar, friend of the Kazakh Desert Princess, is a 20-year-old Kazakh who is spending the summer in Saint Plotniko. She may turn out to be the spunkiest 20-year-old of all time. We hope she's got a sweatshirt.

Zhanar has sent her photo and a few emails, speaks some English and can spend her first two nights at World Headquarters, but she's got to get herself situated fast, because Plot and Duck leave for Brooklyn on Wednesday. Plotnik feels bad about leaving her on her own, but that's the way things have worked out.

Sorry, LeBron. Actually, I'm not sorry. You're great but your team stunk. So now it's Orlando versus Stiletto City in the NBA Finals -- Disney World versus Disneyland. You couldn't dream that up.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The M word and the F Word

This blog post has nothing to do with Kobe Bryant, but after last night he just damned well deserves to be up there. Kobe, the Mamba, the M-Word.

Now, when Plot picked up his tickets for Spamalot at the Press Desk of the Golden Gate Theater the other night, they also gave him a Free Download Card for 15 downloads from the I-Tunes Store. He figured these would be the songs from Spamalot. It was a reasonable assumption, seeing as that was the show he was standing in the lobby about to see. Right?

But no. After a lengthy and complicated download process he is downloading a 'Broadway Compilation,' heaven help him, courtesy something called "The Broadway League." If he's lucky he will at least get "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life."

...NO! It's one or two songs from fifteen current or recent Broadway shows, none of which Plotnik has the slighest interest in. And NO Spamalot! JJ-AKA-PP, you may want Plottie to send this your way but first let him shriek WAAAAA I WANTED MONTY PYTHON SONGS WAAAAA I WANTED MONTY PYTHON SONGS NOT LEGALLY BLONDE, THE MUSICAL, OR XANADU OR WHITE CHRISTMAS!

Of course, Plotnik already HAS most Monty Python tunes, but still. It's the principle of the thing. It took a long time to download this crap. And he didn't get a copy of "You'll Never Succeed on Broadway (Without Any Jews)," one of Plotnik's very favorite musical moments of the last 2,000 years.

So look out, M-Word, here comes the F-Word, courtesy Plotnik's children: It's Not Fair! IT'S NOT Ffffffffair!!

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Game Six Hat

When Plotnik showed this new photo of BZWZ and Ben (BenZWZ? BenZWenZ?) to Tiapos last night, the women all said: "Oooh. He's cute!" and "Oooh! He's a hunk!"

This is a good sign, Plotnik supposes. They were supposed to say: "BZWZ looks beautiful and happy." Well, they did say that, but later.

On further reflection, it ought to be BenZ. BenZ it is. For now.

BZ is heading for Minnesota next week to harvest more core samples from the bottom of Lake Malawi, which is in Southeast Africa, and if that doesn't confuse you nothing will.

Plotnik will wear the Game Six hat tonight.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What Happens in Camelot Stays in Camelot

If you are a Pythoniac and live in Saint Plotniko, you must go see Monty Python's Spamalot, which opened last night at the Golden Gate Theater. It's not the opera, y'know? You can read the San Francisco Theater Blog review HERE, but you are going to laugh so hard you might want to bring a diaper.

The Great Ducknik laughed a LOT, and that's saying something from someone who doesn't usually guffaw when the Frenchman says "I fffart een your zheneral direczhun!" This, of course, cracks up Plotnik with all resulting drool.

It's a full-scale Broadway production, with all-out marketing of Python geegaws and people standing in line wearing moose heads.

And last night, at the close, Eric Idle himself, with composer John Du Prez, came onto stage as the audience stood to cheer.

The Great Plotnik sees lots and lots of theater and he loves it all (with the occasional exception), but most of the time budgets are limited or at least restrained. Spamalot isn't going to have any trouble selling tickets, so they're spending it on production. True, the live orchestra is in Modernist Mode, meaning one violinist and a Kurzweil synthesizer to fatten up her sound, but that Kurzweil means they don't have to hire a dozen string players -- and there are three synthesizers utilized, to amplify the brass and winds as well. It's worth it -- we get to have live symphonic music and, you can trust Plotnik, it makes all the difference in the world.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Just So Much Love With Two Alternate Endings

(Memo to Domin-Nik: The NNNNNNC (Nick-Nik's New Nik-Name Committee) meets Feb 29 of alternate Leap Years. Please submit a formal request on Form NNNNN 275-987nn-09387-NN-028n (available at all Circuit City stores). In the meantime, how about The Great Pool Shark-Nik?)


Meanwhile, The Great Dance-Nik asks whether or not Plotnik is planning to see The Lieutenant of Inishmore at Berkeley Rep. Sadly, he missed the opening and now will be out of town during most of the rest of the run. Apparently, this play was deemed impossible to produce for quite a few years, and at the Berkeley Rep run there have been rumblings by people offended by the violence, and in particular violence to animals. This fact, of course, makes Plotnik want to see it all the more, on the assumption that a play that offends a lot of people has to have something interesting going for it.


Most of all, the subject reminds him, as it will all Tiaposians, present and emerita, of the time The Great Nguyen Sanchez/Goldberg/Jones brought her friend, whose name has been forgotten but who dearly loved animals, to the Tiapos meeting at The Great Wallace-Nik's beautiful home in Inverness. She walked in as Brother John Horan was reading his fantastically funny story which involved, if Plotnik remembers correctly, dynamiting a cat. In Brother John's defense, it was not a gratuitous dynamiting, that cat needed to be removed for what seemed like a plausible reason, and the story was very funny, but not to her, no. She never came back.


Plotnik was at the coffee shop buying his French Roast beans yesterday and there was a woman on the bench in front of Martha Brothers with a little poopsy dog on her lap. The woman was talking to another woman on the bench. She said: "Oh, they just give so much love. They climb on your lap and they just love you. They just love you."

Of COURSE the little dog had on a little red sweater. His ears perked up and he bared his teeth and snarled at Plotnik, with just so much love, as he passed by. Plotnik is not someone who particularly appreciates little overbite poopsy dogs with their nasty tempers and barks that sound like fire alarms in Hell.


He wanted to say "Your little $*%&^! excuse for a dog should be (silently) run over by a Prius," but Plotnik remembered that he is the spiritual leader of a minor Western religion whose non-Twittering aspirations may be cutting into its universal acceptance, but he is nonetheless responsible for displaying a proper example for his faithful flock. So he simply smiled, walked in and bought his beans.


When he came out to the street with his coffee beans, the dog and its owner lay dead on the street, blood puddling in crimson coagulations on the deceased dog's sweater, once sweater-red, now, heh heh, blood-red. The second woman stood over them with a bloody hatchet. "I TOLD her if she said "they give just SO much love" ONE more time I'd cut her and her dog's head off with an ax, and, well, she wouldn't stop, so..."


When he came out to the street with his coffee beans, both women were eating the dog. "He gives so much, y'know, meat..." said the first woman.


When he came out to the street with his coffee beans, the women and the dog were gone. No, wait, this is what really happened.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tillie Olsen

The documentary we saw last night on Tillie Olsen was cheaply done, with no budget and little in the way of production values. But it was worth seeing because of Tillie Olsen herself, who was such a giant of a writer. (Olsen died in 2007 in Berkeley at age 94, buried in Alzheimers.)

Everyone should read Olsen's short stories, and if you want to have your eyes opened wide about what life was like for workers in the steel mills and slaughter yards of the 1930s, try 'Yonnondio.' The bulk of this book was written in 1932 when Olsen was only 19, but then lost and unfinished for 40 more years. It's one of the strongest and starkest books Plotnik has ever read, and it is not long, but don't plan to read it quickly. There are punches to the gut in every short chapter. Here's how Yonnondio begins:

The whistles always woke Mazie. They pierced into her sleep like some guttural-voiced metal beast, tearing at her; breathing a terror. During the day if the whistle blew, she knew it meant death -- somebody's poppa or brother, perhaps her own -- in that fearsome place below the ground, the mine.

"God damn that blowhorn," she heard her father mutter. Creak of him getting out of bed. The door closed, with yellow light from the kerosene lamp making a long crack on the floor. Clatter of dishes. her mother's tired, grimy voice.

"What'll ya have? Coffee and eggs? There ain't no bacon."

"Don't bother with anything. Haven't time. I gotta stop by Kvaternicks and get the kid. He's starting work today."

"What're they going to give him?"

"Little of everything at first, I guess, trap, throw switches. Maybe timberin."

"Well, he'll be starting one punch ahead of the old man. Chris began as a breaker boy." (Behind both stolid faces the claw of a buried thought -- and maybe finish like him, buried under slaty roof that the company hadn't bothered to timber.)

"He's thirteen, ain't he?" asked Anna.

"I guess. Nearer to fourteen."

"Marie was tellin me, it would break Chris's heart if he only knew. He wanted the kid to be different, get an edjication."

"Yeah? Them foreigners do have funny ideas."

Monday, May 25, 2009

I Don't Want Your Damned Eggs stop dive bombing me. I didn't know you had your nest up there under the eaves, I just wanted to fix the runoff from the tomato plants on the deck. Ouch! OK! I'll go!

After the bird episode, Plot and Duck went to see Krapp's Last Tape. (You can read the San Francisco Theater Blog review here. Krapp was written by Samuel Beckett. Krapp peels a banana. Krapp grunts. What Plotnik will not be saying in his review is that forty minutes is both 'way too short to count as a real play and charge real money to go see, and it's also thirty minutes too long for anyone to sit in an audience and watch.

He lied. He did say it. He also asks what is it about Irish writers once they're older than thirty? How morose do we have to get? How much whiskey can we allow ourselves to drink? How little motion can we make in our lives, except to drink more whiskey and mourn our mothers? How can anyone want to see a play about a man who eats bananas and listens to old tapes of himself, recorded when he was young and already considered his life worthless, now that he's old and knows for sure?

It doesn't help Plotnik's lack of enjoyment of this modernist classic that they are mounting Krapp at a theater in the middle of the Tenderloin, where America's drunken refuse lines the streets and intersection corners smell like outhouses, where they hand out cupcakes at the end of the show and you eat them quickly inside because once you're outside you won't have any appetite, unless you enjoy the smell of uric acid.

What the hell is going on on the streets of America, anyway? And why is this Samuel Beckett play considered to be one of his masterpieces? (Maybe because, compared to "Waiting for Godot," Krapp's Last Tape is an action thriller.) Shouldn't every writer be fitted with some kind of Self-Indulgence Buzzer?

(Jeezo, that's not a very good idea, is it? What would happen to bloggers?)

OK, maybe not. But it's Memorial Day. We celebrate the hundreds of thousands of soldiers from every nation on Earth who fought and died to defend their particular version of liberty. If you want to talk about self-indulgence, who could be more self-indulgent than a political demagogue? Our nations would all have been better off if certain leaders had simply gotten good and drunk and moved into a sleeping bag on Eddy Street, rather than into the houses of power.

Obviously, the sins of the mean streets of Saint Plotniko are not the worst sins humanity can offer up. Some of those faces, now bloated with cheap wine and illness, were no doubt once soldiers and sailors and airmen and paratroopers and kids from our farms and cities who were fighting to protect us.

Maybe it's Plotnik who needs the buzzer. What he is trying to say here to all the vets in his extended family, particularly Harold Lovell and Joe Senior and Joe Junior, who all went to war on ships in the Pacific, is: thank you. We all get to live more easily in our warm little nests because of the sacrifices you made.

Plotnik says -- that is, I say: Thank you.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Belly, Kobe and Tennessee Williams

Today The Great PD, 5H and BB are looking for a new apartment in Battery Park, the oldest part of Manhattan Island, where the Dutch set up their original colony, building a wall at the upper end to keep the natives away. This wall is today called Wall Street and we all know how that turned out.

Manhattan rentals have come down so much that it is possible, at least in theory, for three people to live there if the third person is only two and not yet earning twelve zillion dollars a year.

Kobe is earning every penny of his twelve zillion. Plotnik hopes you are seeing the fourth quarters of these games. It's coming down to sheer will.

Plot had to DVR last night's game because first he and Ducknik saw "Three on a Party" at the Theater Rhinoceros. It's a pity that the publicity for this show centers around its gayness, the gay writers and the gay-themed stories. The pub photo the Rhino is using is a boy kissing another boy, which lasts perhaps two seconds in the two hour evening of terrific literature. They ought to look at their empty Saturday night seats and realize this niche marketing is underestimating their potential audience. The Tennessee Williams story, one of three presented in the Word for Word production, is pure theatrical magic.

You can read the San Francisco Theater Blog review here. The theater is tiny and a ticket is $20. This is cheap theater. It's well worth it to see stories by Williams, Gertrude Stein and Armistead Maupin.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Absolutely No Rules Pool

The Great Domin-Nik and The Great J-Whacky came over last night for a little pulled chicken bbq and Ducknik's incomparable buttermilk biscuits, followed by a few rounds of Absolutely No Rules Pool.

You'll see from the photos that Ducknik no longer plays pool, but she was probably tuckered out from making those biscuits. Damn! Light, hot, delicious, slathered with butter...

Earlier in the day, Plotnik had found the recipe for the bbq chicken legs with meat pulled off and stirred into a bbq sauce made with molasses and mustard and chipotle oil (his idea), so at the last minute he called Domin-Nik to serve as a taste taster. The food is pretty much all gone so it must have tasted pretty good.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Closers and Spring Flowers

Two comments for NotThat and the Bustiers: Yes, of course The Great BZWZ has a Plotzer cap to stick a feather in.

And speaking of baseball, remember that Brian Wilson is a Beach Boy. Closers are not always perfect and don't last forever. This even applies to Jesus. It is written that before Jesus was the closer he was the set-up man for Moses. Moses had some terrific seasons in the Egyptian League, but after only a millennium and a half he was on his way out and Jesus took over.

Now, of course, this kid Mohammad is getting a lot of publicity. He's already in the high minors and he's said to have a killer fastball.

The beautiful thing about a perennial garden is that flowers appear out of nowhere. Arugula (white flowers) and California poppies (golden unopened buds sticking up in the air -- they'll open in full sun) land wherever they want each spring and bloom when they will look their best.

Alstroalmerias, tall and short, in pinks and purples and whites and reds and yellows, are the best and most trusty flower at World Headquarters. You can't have too many of them, and they grow underground so the patches of flowers get thicker each year.

You probably didn't know that Italian parsley has a flower. Well, it doesn't. A wayward cream colored freesia bulb landed in the herb box a few years ago and we forget about it until it shows up each Spring. And it's just about day lily time.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Squares of Shmalifornia

Plotnik is always fascinated by the physical density of Stiletto City, all those people, all those roads, all those houses and swimming pools, all those cars, all that motion and all those geometrical shapes. Now concentrate on that square of the San Fernando Valley that has its lower right corner at the 737's starboard engine, rimmed by shops along its principal boulevards. Its upper corners are at the San Diego Freeway. Do you think that square is the same size, or bigger, or smaller, than one of these?

This photo was taken fifteen minutes later from several thousand feet higher. Plotnik always loves looking at the way they divide empty land into squares, and circles within the squares, and smaller rectangles within the larger rectangles. Unlike the crowded urban valley fifteen minutes earlier, these agricultural squares probably have nothing going on inside them at all, except for pesticides killing off bacteria and fertilizers encouraging growth from cotton or tomatoes or alfalfa.

When you get closer, you see that each square or rectangle is divided up into smaller ovals and rectangles with fluid shapes weaving their way through them, like a pencil line drawn from a compass, carving the squares into polygons. And then you open the door and walk inside and there's one last delicious circle, cut into triangles.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Great News from Providence

One of the two women in this photo called the Great Plotniks yesterday with fabulous news. Since they picked up the cell while on the noisy elevated BART platform in Smokeland, on their way home from Stiletto City, Plotnik could only hear Ducknik say:


Indeed, it is fantastic. The Great BZWZ has just been awarded a National Science Foundation Fellowship for her climate change research, which will fund her and her work for the next three years while at the same time being a huge feather in her Plotzer baseball cap, please everyone in the department because now they have to pay less out of their own pocket to have her doing her research at Brown, and of course it should look pretty snappy on her future resume.

It's hard to surprise this family, though. Plotnik knew it all the time. And when he called Mummy P. to give her the news, she said "That's wonderful, Honey. But I knew she'd get it."

Plot and Duck must celebrate immediately. The only decision is which bottle to open.

Meanwhile, PD, 5H and BB are home from President Obama's house. They were knocked out by the graciousness and richness of history inside the residence and the West Wing, to say nothing of all the art. This picture was taken in the Rose Garden.

Seeing Brother Jimmy Street in Stiletto was great too. Brother Street had one of those LA Musician weekends, with one gig in Newport and another in Redondo and he lives in Idlewild. You can't imagine how much driving this entails, and when he was done he drove all the way up to Mummy P's house and spent the night with Plot and Duck and Mummy P. before driving home the next day.

This is the Mother's Day Card that is sitting on the coffee table. Plot had Snapfish do it. They do a great job, and that picture makes everybody smile every time they pass by.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Carrots in Stiletto City

This is what happens when Ducknik serves the carrots.

It's 3:45pm Tuesday and the Plotniks are home. It was a very fulfilling couple of days with lots of good news to go around. Plot will detail all tomorrow. And it's a Game One day, which means a little worry but not too much.

Speaking of worry, in today's New York Times Jane Brody wrote this, about people who fret too much about the things they can't control: “It is almost as if we have to be afraid of something, as if we carry about in our heads a bucket of worry that we are compelled to fill with whatever’s available.”

Nope, don't recognize that syndrome at all, not one bit.

Here is the photo on Mummy Plotnik's new Facebook Page.

Yup, that's little Plottie and Big Schmeckl with her. Here's two High School graduation pictures -- Lindblom High School, South side of Chicago, 1931 -- Plottie's parents before they knew they were waiting for each other.

Isn't that amazing to think about? Two names a few pages from each other in a yearbook who didn't really know each other when these pictures were taken. 78 years later, Ducknik cuts beautiful slices of carrots from the Farmer's Market. It's all related. Our lives cross so unexpectedly. It's so random. You couldn't write this stuff.

Shrine Hat Put Away For Now

Heading home this morning. It's a Game One Night. The Shrine Hat is put away until needed again, perhaps very soon. More later,

Sunday, May 17, 2009

One Picture is Worth 126 Points

It's way too early for Shrine Time. And yet...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bring Us 75 Plates of Nachos, Please

Old friend Brother ChrisNik-Short got tickets this weekend for The Great FiveHead, PD, Bellybone, DCNeeCee and Brother ChrisNik-Tall to take a tour of the presidential residence, or as Belly says: "We're going to President Obama's house!"

Tomorrow they see the Oval Office from the inside, and we will bet that Barack is watching that Game 7 of the Houston-L.A. series. Now, wouldn't it be a hoot to watch a playoff game with Barack Obama, his brother-in-law the basketball coach and 75 secret service men?

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Garden of Zucornotash

...and then there's the garden. Plotnik didn't know about gardens until he moved to the Big Shmapple and didn't have one. He grew up with a back yard that was a liability because his Mom made him pull up crabgrass on his hands and knees with a garden fork. In college he lived in cottages with beautiful gardens to which he paid no attention. In Nashville there might have been a garden but his landlord was insane and it was hard to concentrate on nature, or anything else, with the landlord's wife screaming all the time for Jesus to save her, followed by the sound of breaking glassware.

Then Plot moved to The Big Shmapple where his friend Uncle Bob lived in an apartment in the West Village with one scrub tree in the back, surrounded by four apartment blocks. The tree was gasping for light and breath like everyone else -- it was a skinny, pathetic weed, but it was tall. And green. All the neighbors came out to sit on their rear fire escapes to enjoy that one tree.

But not long after Plotnik met Ducknik, they bought their 12 1/2 acres in Shmensylvania. The whole world became a garden. That's where Plot caught the bug and he has never lost it. You've all heard the stories.

Like the zucchini? Plotnik and Ducknik have a barn but no animals, and a neighbor has a pony but no barn. So the neighbor keeps his pony in Plotnik's barn, and that sounds so smarmy but we're talking about a real horse here. The pony produces prodigious amounts of what ponies produce. Plotnik is reading Rodale's Organic Gardening paperback.

So he brings a wheelbarrow to the barn and hauls off ten zillion pounds of horse poop and pitchforks it into piles a foot high and a foot wide, on both sides of his twenty foot row of zucchini plants in the large truck garden he and Duck have planted. Nobody has mentioned that when you put that much horse poop in one place it gets incredibly hot and can spontaneously combust.

Then Plot and Duck drive back to the Big Shmapple and don't return to the farm for three weeks.

When they return the manure is gone, there is a burnt patch three feet wide on both sides of the zucchini patch, the fence posts are singed and the plants in those outside rows are scorched and dead.

He also has mega-zucchini three feet long and six inches wide, with large, green smiles on their jubilant faces and enormous orange blossoms ready to produce nonstop until November. It's July.

Plotnik hates zucchini to this day. He cannot look at zucchini. Don't nobody give the boy no goddam zucchini bread.

Anyway -- the garden was a revelation, and the orchard, and fields of hay where ring-necked pheasants nested and does tried desperately to hide their lovely, spindly fawns. Apples dropped from 50 year old trees in November and perfumed the grass. Corn? Corn! Real sweet corn, picked five minutes from consuming. How can Plotnik convey to anyone how much he misses those days?

Now, a large garden full of flowers and plants that enjoy fog have to suffice, and they do. But Plottie must add 'a garden' to yesterday's post about living here and not there. He remembers Dance-Nik's lovely place in Potrero Hill, because it was nestled in the trees. He thinks her current apartment in the West Village is as cool as you can hope for, but -- no garden.

Plot doesn't think he wants to live without some sort of garden anymore, though he's gotten pretty good at growing things in containers, like mold and dead twigs and, occasionally, some pretty damned good tomatoes and basil.

That big skinny thing is a curry leaf plant. Yesterday Plotnik planted epazote. It ain't corn. You give something and you get something. You live here or you live there and either way life gives you both corn and zucchini and that's why God invented Zucornotash.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Broadway Shmroadway

Dance-Nik was talking today about having her semiannual NYC 'turnaround day,' as she calls it, the one that makes her stop missing someplace else and exult in the delicious maelstrom she's living in, 'a sensual stew, an artistic feast,' as someone once put it. All of us who lived for any amount of time in The Shmapple recognize it, remember it and miss it. There's nowhere else like it.

Plotnik was thinking about the same thing yesterday, but in reverse. He doesn't get to see rip-spanking new NY productions or Broadway shows while they're still on Broadway, but he does see some of those shows before they get to Broadway (and some that never make it), and first rate Bay Area theater companies taking innovative chances, and Broadway shows with excellent traveling companies, and he is privy to a renaissance of local theater that he would match against any other city in the country outside of The Shmapple itself. Even Shmollywood, with its sheer size and endless pool of creative talent cannot match Saint Plotniko's bubbling and creative surge on the legitimate stage.

Last night, Plot and Duck saw Jose Rivera's 'Boleros for the Disenchanted' (you can read the San Francisco Theater Blog review here) at the A.C.T. Theater, in one of the four grand old theater palaces still in existence in the city (the others are the Curran, next door, the Orpheum on Market St. and the Golden Gate in the heart of the 'Loin). A few nights before that they saw Sarah Ruhl's 'Dead Man's Cell Phone,' and in the next two weeks they'll see openings of Monty Python's 'Spamalot' at the Golden Gate, an Ann Randolph work-in-progress at the Marsh, Samuel Beckett's 'Krapp's Last Tape' at the Exit and a Word For Word presentation of short stories by Gertrude Stein, Armistead Maupin and Tennessee Williams at the Rhino. He turned down dance openings (sorry Dance-Nik) and a few other plays because he just can't do them all justice.

Unlike Dance-Nik, The Great Plotnik does not find himself missing his two previous homes, Stiletto City and the Big Shmapple. He misses the people he loves who still live there, but let's be honest -- he could move back to either city if he chose to. But no thank you. Please pass the organic Zinfandel.

Saint Plotniko is a ludicrous place to live -- it's cold and foggy, it is governed by ideologues who would rather demonstrate for the rights of LGBT cocker spaniels than fix our financial problems or fill in the potholes, it has three weeks of summer (in April and October), you don't even think about going to the beach without a thermos of scalding coffee and a parka and it has a baseball team that gives Plotnik the creeps.

But it ain't Broadway (where you line up for hours to get any seat at all for a new show and a seat and a sandwich at the Stage Deli on Seventh Avenue will set you back $150 EACH if you're lucky. Plotnik is blessed to receive great seats from the production company and then comes home to leftover seared ahi in a rolled black pepper and wasabi crust, a salad pulled from the garden and maybe a full moon and a view of the bay). Nope. It sure ain't Broadway.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Twitter to Titter to Breather

The blogosphere is becoming less populous. People who took a little time to think about their world and compose a blog entry now toss off a few sentences on Facebook, or a word or two on Twitter. It's faster, easier, less involved. And you don't leave much of a trail.

Twitter will soon morph into Titter, where you hit an emoticon to let people know you just chuckled about something. When that becomes too much they'll develop Breather, where you have a calendar engine notify everyone in your address book that you're still breathing, twice an hour.

The trend is to exposing less of yourself to greater amounts of people.

Those big boxes with wings? They'll never fly. Humph. Humbug.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

BANGLES and baubles and the New Rating System (Which Appears to Be More Confusing than The Old One)

The San Francisco Theater Blog has changed its ratings system, though no mention has been made of it yet. The idea is that most plays fall between the stars, which is fun to say but hard to work out. For example, a four star play and a three and a half star play are very close, but yet Three and a Half Stars means GO SEE THIS PLAY while Four Stars means GO SEE THIS PLAY AND IF YOU DON'T WE'LL BREAK YOUR LEGS. The new system does away with half stars and substitutes BANGLES of PRAISE or baubles of despair. BANGLES add, and baubles subtract. Get it?

I don't either. Anyway, we'll see how long this lasts. The first show to carry the new rating is Sarah Ruhl's "Dead Man's Cell Phone," which opened Saturday at San Francisco Playhouse and is really terrific, but flawed, but ingenious, but self indulgent, but funny as hell, but might have hit harder, but. In the old days it would have probably been Three and a Half Stars with a BANGLE of Praise but now it earns Three Stars with Two BANGLES of PRAISE.

It could have made Four Stars with a bauble of despair, but there weren't any baubles of despair.

You can read the San Francisco Theater Blog review here, but better yet go see this wonderful show and rate it yourself. Help us out here.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Little Girl in the Nate Robinson Jersey, JadeNik's Baby Shower, and THE Cookies.

Memo to Spike Lee: This is what it feels like to be a Knicks fan.

Meanwhile, yesterday was the baby shower for The Great JadeNik. Remember that old aphorism about how pregnant women shine?

The Great JadeNik and The Great NickNik (Plotnik has been waiting a long time to give Nickie his Plotnik name) live in Stiletto City, in the old 'hood, and the little plotzito or plotzita is due in the middle of July.

One thing is certain: they are going to have a wacky and wonderful little baby.

JadeNik has the good fortune to have an aunt and uncle with a gorgeous home in Claremont -- one of those 1920s ultra-gracious homes with mature redwoods on the front lawn and rooms giving onto other rooms which lead to little stairways and cozy sun porches.

It's hard not to love the weather in the East Bay. We Fogheads do yammer on about our cool and crisp blue days, but over there you get all that plus 10 more hot degrees. Since college, Plottie had always figured he would some day live in Beserkely, and maybe when he and Duckniks' bones get brittle they will totter across the bay and find two nice packing boxes to live in, in the hills, with redwood trees, a large garden, tomatoes the size of beach balls and HD you can grab out of the air.

By the way, Plotnik proposed to this woman yesterday. Her name is Blanche and she made the most delicious cookies Plot or Duck, or half a dozen other guests at the party, had ever tasted. Duck just rolled her eyes when Plottie proposed, but she knew what he was talking about.

(You can make them too, but first you have to cook gallons of goat's milk for eight hours until it reduces. Or find someone who is willing to do it. Ah, Blanche.)