The Great Plotnik

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Brooklyn Day Two: Lots of Small Dogs and One Big One

Except for the building in which The Great PunkyDunky and The Great FiveHead live, there is no one in The Big Shmapple over the age of 35. A lot of them smoke.

In the building in which The Great PunkyDunky and the Great FiveHead live, no animals are allowed. And yet, from inside every apartment, when we walk by with Mischief on his leash we can hear a dog scratching at the front door and barking softly. There are probably as many dogs as people living in the apartment house where no pets are allowed.

Tiny dogs seem to be in fashion. Mischief is a delightful aberration. This morning we met Maddie, a Golden Doodle cross between a Golden Retreiver and a Toy Poodle. She is as soft as a pillow. She seemed to be interested in Mischief's equipment. If only she knew.

The Great FiveHead got home from Stiletto City last night and she and The Great PD went into Manhattan to hear Vernon Reid, the lead guitar player for PD's favorite band when he was a teenager. They both got home unable to hear out of the same ear.

It's time to go down to the flea market on Lafayette Street, and then come back home in time for Belly (UPS Driver), Billy (Train Conductor) and Kian (Shark) to do some early Trick or Treating. Apparently this block will be filled with people tonight, and street parties, and performers, and haunted houses, and probably fireworks, and in the old days Mischief would have been terrified but he's practically deaf as a post now. The vacuum cleaner doesn't even bother him anymore.

Tomorrow, the NY Marathon will run right past Isabella Boulevard. This town has SOOO many people in it. Something is always going on. There are more shows listed in the Saturday NY Times than in six months of SF Morning Bird Wraps. There are more hipsters, more hobos, more Hasids, and they all get off on Bedford Avenue.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Brooklyn Day One: Yanks Tie it Up

Cream Cheese is Forever.

There is always something to be said for arriving in The Apple after dark, so you can see the astounding amount of lights from the sky. Tonight, as the plane banked over Sheepshead Bay to land at JFK, there was so much ambient light in the sky, produced by the millions of houses and cars on the freeways below, that those lights reflected off the top surface of the banking wing and created a swirling, constantly changing light show. It was an amazing sight for Plotnik who has flown into this city many times but never seen anything like that before.

Flying United into NYC is always far easier and less exhausting than flying Southwest out of Providence, but United costs money and Southwest doesn't, at least when you fly back and forth to LA as much as Plot and Duck do, picking up free tickets in the bargain.

There was only one grumpy stewardess on the plane tonight, the usual number. It's actually kind of nice to know there's at least one person having as bad a time as the passengers in Coach.

Plot sat in Row 15, on the bulkhead right in back of Business Class. He could see the well-mannered stewards bringing goody after goody to the capitalist swine passengers in the swiveling leather easy chairs just in front of him. After awhile he started narrating for his seatmate: "The young servile United toady is carrying a silver tray. On the tray is a towel and on top of the towel are flat, hot, delicious chocolate chip cookies. Will the toady come back to the main cabin? NO-O-O-O-O! It's proletarian peanuts for us! Back to you, Howard!"

Mischief has gotten old and it's harder for him now that he has to go out a door, down an elevator, down six stairs, across a long lobby and out two iron doors to get to the street. Sometimes he makes it through the maze and out to the patch of grass near the street, but sometimes he doesn't. Mischief Walkers now carry paper towels to wipe up any unfortunate leaks, as well as bags for the normal usage.

Today kids on the street are wearing mouse ears and long flouncy princess dresses and carrying magic wands. That's because the Yankees won last night. If they'd lost, the kids might be carrying hatchets.

Whenever the Yankees lose there is collective despair on the streets of the Bronx. The Yankees are the big boys in town here, no matter how good the Mets might do in any given year. The Yankees have been here since they were called the Highlanders at the turn of the 20th Century, so kids today might have heard their great grandfathers talk about the Yankees. Or in Brooklyn, the Dodgers. Or in Manhattan, the Giants. But now the Giants are called the BrainDeads and live in Saint Plotniko and the Dodgers are the Plotzers and play in Stiletto City.

So The Big Apple is All Yankees All the Time right now. The guy who drove the car service town car and picked Plot and Duck up at the airport was wearing a Yankee t-shirt. As Plot exited the plane he said "What happened in the Series tonight?" to no one in particular, and a United clerk and a kid with a cell phone both looked up and said "Yanks t'ree ta one." They were both smiling.

So though it's not easy to be a Yankee fan if you've never been a Yankee fan, and moreso if you've always despised the Yankees, Plot does not despise them right now. He's rooting for them to at least make a good show out of it. The Big Apple could use a break, and Halloween is Saturday night, and we don't need anybody being prematurely pissed off.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Two Big Smiles

Plotnik's little girl shore is purty. But the thing Plotnik loves second best about this photo is the pastiche of the two women in the rear of the photo -- one who swallowed a bad shrimp and the other who has her hands over her face like she's in the Witness Protection Program.

In photo two you wouldn't know how much internal agony Ben-Z is suffering, due to the demise of his beloved Mets and ascension of the hated Yankees. At one time BZWZ would have had a long Dodger blue face on too, but too many years in the East have blunted the misery. They look like they're having a great time!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Rant: Stupidium

As The Great Plotnik was packing for the trip East, he realized he didn't have enough of the Stupid Pill that he has taken every morning since Dr. I Dunno Wadda YOU Think? suggested he begin taking it, perhaps seven years ago. The reason was that his blood pressure wasn't too high but it was tending upwards, so Dr. I Dunno prescribed Stupidathol. After that time, Plotnik lost weight and started eating better and staying in better shape, and all those slightly elevated numbers came right down.

So he could probably stop taking the pill, except he can't because he's stupid. He's stupid because he's taking Stupidathol. He has to take this pill every morning until he drops dead and when he mentions he is uncomfortable with the length of his sentence, Dr. I Dunno, Wadda YOU Think? says: "What? You're doing very well. Why would you want to stop?"

It's insidious, and Plotnik feels like an insidiot taking something every day that he probably doesn't need...wait, he didn't say definitely, did he? He said probably. And there's the rub.

The Stupid Pill might be working. So he keeps taking it.

It's like vitamins. Do you know they're helping you? No. But do you take them? Yes. Why? They might help.

When was the last time you stared closely at your multivitamin? It's tiny. How much calcium, selenium, magnesium, iron and stupidium do you think they can stuff into a pill that small? How can it possibly help you or anyone else?

If calcium were such a miracle drug, wouldn't humans crave oyster shells and egg shells? But we don't. We eat the oysters and the eggs and spit out the shells. We do that because all the nutrition is inside the shell, for the love of God, we DON'T eat the freaking shells, do we? EVEN THOUGH they are basically nothing BUT calcium, with a little magnesium and a trace amount of stupidium?

It's like praying when the plane takes off. Look around you as the engines begin to whine and the plane's brakes release, oh shit, and that enormous machine into which you are belted and hopelessly trapped begins speeding up the runway, and you will see that every single person on the plane has his or her eyes closed and their lips are moving 'hamana hamana.' Even the terrorist with his shoes on fire 'hamana hamana.' Even the pilots who are screwing each other in the cockpit (they don't call it the churchpit, do they?) 'hamana hamana, OH STEVE! hamana.' Even the stewardess. 'Hamana duh hamana duh.'

We do all these things because they MIGHT help.

It has been reported here that some people actually hold the remote control on one knee and the Manny Ramirez bobblehead doll on the other, while bouncing Manny's little blue head and repeating this mantra: 'Hamana hamana hamana,' only in Spanish.

We all know how well THAT works.

End of story: Plotnik has his new prescription. But a woman in the crowded elevator from the parking lot to the pharmacy was coughing up her spleen and sneezing into the air. OF COURSE! A trip is starting!

This means Plotnik now has to take Airborne, that little fizzy round pill that his kids swear by, the one that does absolutely nothing except create profits for Walgreen's, the one that tastes vaguely orange-y and is supposed to keep you from catching a cold.

Look at the ingredients on the side of a bottle of Airborne. What do you see?

Stupidium: 100g
Delusionum: 100g
Lobotonum: 100g
Senileium: 100g

Airborne has been sued for many millions of dollars. They can no longer say they protect you from anything. They can only claim they will boost your immune system. That's right. Stupidium, delusionum, lobotonum and senileium will boost your immune system.

I dunno. Wadda YOU think?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Perfect Day

It was a perfect birthday down here in the Old World. Plotnik got to talk with his kids, and to the Duck and even to Counselor Giuseppe, who called Mummy P. out of the blue and when told it was the Great PlotDay, and asked whether he'd like to speak to Plottie, said 'no.'

But he did. And then The Great FiveHead appeared at the door, followed by Cousin LilaLee, and later on Mummy P. kept Plottie up until after midnight yakking about the old days. When you're her age there are a lot of old days to yakk about.

Cousin LilaLee is unique -- she looks and acts like a youngster but is old enough to have been Mummy P.'s flower girl at Mummy P's wedding in 1936. She is the daughter of the sister of GrandMummy Plotnik, and remembers things from a different perspective. Like -- why was Plotnik's grandmother the only child who was never taught how to read?

Plot had never thought about it before -- he remembers his grandma always asking someone else to read her her mail, claiming she couldn't find her glasses, but never thought about the other women in the family. They were all educated except for her.

And how did LilaLee's mom ever get away with not marrying the man who sent the money to Russia to buy her a boat ticket to America? Actually, the man had wanted to marry LilaLee's mom's sister, but the sister already had a boyfriend in Russia and refused to accept the ticket. So her younger sister, LilaLee's mom, said "I'll go," left her family and everything she knew, and when she arrived in America the man, who had an old photograph of the sister, said "You're not her. But OK anyway."

The problem was LilaLee's Mom wasn't interested in this man when she saw him. Somehow she broke away and found another guy, LilaLee's dad, married him, had four kids, then spent the rest of her life complaining about him.
Family is great. If you have a large one you want a small one. If you have a small one you wish you had a big one. Plot wouldn't like more siblings, because what if they weren't exactly like him?

Mummy P. is doing great. She's smoking a lot again, but, you know, at 95 you can't say it's killing her, can you?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pony Ride

As we speak, The Great Ducknik is enjoying The Great Plotnik's birthday lunch with MizMush and Silent Bill, while Plottie is in Stiletto City eating some pretty darned good leftover Thai food from last night.

You might say to yourself: but why is Ducknik eating Plottie's meal, the meal he began earning too many years ago on this very day at exactly 9am? It's not her birthday, is it? Why, no, she had hers not that long ago. So. (you might continue on with this thought), why wouldn't she simply say: "Thank you so much for the invitation, dear friends, but my beloved husband is out of town visiting his aging mother so it would not be proper for me to indulge myself on such an occasion."

Actually, it's not Ducknik's fault -- the invitation came several weeks ago and Plot accepted, but he didn't write it down, so when he realized Sunday and Monday were the only free days he had to go visit his Mom before he and Duck head East, he figured he should take advantage. Yes, it's true, he forgot about his own birthday. He has the brain of a walnut.

But it was a sweet birthday anyway, and it's delightfully hot down here. Last night Shmeckl and Little Bear drove down from Westlake, where they had been at a brunch, and took Plottie and Mummy P. to dinner at Chan Dara, the Thai restaurant on Cahuenga where Plot and Duck had taken Mummy P. and The Chief many times over the years. Every time they went to Chan Dara, The Chief would empty his plate and everyone else's, lick his lips with satisfaction, then whisper to Mummy P. as they were leaving: "Please don't make me go to this place any more. I don't like the food."

Dinner was fun, and it was extra special because Plot's brother had made a lot of effort for everyone to be together. Plottie got a beautiful card from BZWZ on Saturday and spoke to PD and also to The Great FiveHead this morning -- she is is also in Stiletto City working on a commercial until Thursday. She'll get back to Brooklyn just about the same time that Plotnik and Ducknik are arriving.

And meanwhile Isabella got to ride on her first pony yesterday in the Staten Island Zoo, and then wanted her dad to tell her the story of "How Isabella Got to Ride Her First Pony in the Staten Island Zoo" when she went to bed last night.

Plot is feeling really good today. He raises a glass of organic imitation free range almost real liquid to his fellow Plotnikkies: Cheers! (Clink!)

(And he's really happy Ducknik could go out for lunch today. Everybody Wins!)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Almost Three

Bellybone's 3rd birthday is a week from today and guess who's gonna be there?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Nopales, Kayaker, Crescent Moon

A nopal cactus, loaded with at least 500 fruits, is about to burst into yellow flower in front of Mission Sonoma. A kayaker maneuvers through harbor seals below Marin Headlands. A crescent moon hangs over the crystal skyline from Treasure Island. We live in a ridiculously beautiful place.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

It's Laker Season!

The baseball season ended yesterday. It was a lot of fun and the Plotzers got exactly as far this year as last, and no further, but they were still a lot of fun to watch. Plot and Duck and Brother Two and Ben-Z got to see Manny's last great home run on Bobblehead Night, and there were lots of other exciting moments, so all in all it was a fantastic year.

Plot's brain checked out of the baseball season Monday night so yesterday he and Duck and Anneli and Geri went touring around in Sonoma and Plottie didn't need to watch the last blood-letting, a game that sounds like it wasn't worth watching.


As promised, here is how Gerhild Tietz and Anneli Goetz make German Potato Salad and Wiener Schnitzel:

Potato Salad -- boiled potatoes, sliced very thinly, covered with vegetable broth and added to minced onions and herbs plus a very thinly sliced cucumber, then dressed with white wine vinegar and lots of pepper:

Schnitzel: Buy veal scallops at the Embarcadero meat market, that are already pounded thin but you ask them to pound them even thinner for you, then you wash them and season on both sides with salt and pepper, dip in flour, then beaten egg, then bread crumbs, then fry in more olive oil and butter than Plot would use in a month. YUM-O!

And of course you end up with pecan pie and ice cream. OF COURSE YOU DO!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

German Kitchen Night: Sauteed Cherry Tomato Salad with Rosemary, Lavender, Feta and Arugula

First Geri and Anneli picked the herbs.

Next Anneli washed the cherry tomatoes.

The rosemary and lavender were steeped in olive oil and heated.

Tomatoes got added to the herbs and oil

Arugula and feta were added.

And finally extra rosemary went on the side of the dish. This was truly a spectacular starter course. We'll get to the Schnitzel, potato salad and Pecan pie tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ouch! Damn! Do You Believe This?

Oooooh, that one hurt. But as Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) said to Rick (Humphrey Bogart): "We'll always have The Lakers."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ai Chihuahua!

Thanks to James Mills esq. for sending this old photo of a recording session in, oh, maybe 1981?

We recognize two of these people: Ai and Chihuahua.

It seems like a tracking session, not playback, because nobody's sitting at the recording console. The guy in the blue sweatshirt is bending over the studio microphone and has probably just said something to one of the musicians inside recording. So Plot and Duck must be staring at...singers? Maybe the Byron twins, young and blonde, or maybe a horn section, old and grizzled? Maybe Jimmy Street is out there with his saxophone, or maybe Blue is doing a keyboard overdub? Or maybe it's D____, the junkie drummer who had to excuse himself after every take to go make a few phone calls?

The Duck's rapt expression and Plot's bright-eyed bleariness suggests coffee in that cup, but Duck's suit makes Plot think this photo was taken at a party at Rufus Studio that started early in the evening, so she had to come directly to the studio from downtown. Plot is dressed up too -- a Hawaiian shirt! You only wore broadcloth shirts and ties if you played traditional jazz or were someone's lawyer.

Plot is wondering right now how a guy with a rabbinical beard like that could have scored a fox like the Duck? It must have been the Mistletoe. Jeez, maybe it was.

The Great PD was only 7 or 8 and The Great BZWZ was maybe Minus 2?

Like the man said: Ai, Chihuahua!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Dance-Nik and Franny Potts

We spoke to The Great BZWZ a few minutes ago, who just happens to be in PhoolyDelphia where a certain baseball game is scheduled to take place in a few hours, and it's already down into the 40s, cold, windy and rain is expected. The length of the baseball season is ludicrous, unless they want to play the entire season in Panama.

The Great Dance-Nik is in town and Plot and Duck went to see her read a new set of poems last night but got there a few minutes too late, because first they went to see Ann Randolph's new solo show "Loveland" at the Marsh, which started late and took longer than advertised. The Plots were very sorry to have missed Dance-Nik, but they did get to the gallery in time to hear another New York poet shout loud stanzas about farting, puking and peeing. Oh, shitting too. Lots of shitting, really, more shitting than farting, I'd say, wouldn't you dear?

He was actually pretty good, but God help you if you'd just snacked on a felafel.

Valencia Street was absolutely packed on Saturday night with young people attending various other events during LitQuake. It's fun to have the streets and clubs filled, but of course that's because the entertainment is free. (The owner of the gallery where Dance-Nik was appearing spoke to the two old folks in attendance about how hard it is to stay in business these days.)

But BOY the drunks and street people must be cashing in, because they were everywhere, camped along Valencia Street, lying on the sidewalk, or waving imaginary guitars while lurching from side to side singing atonal stanzas of "Kiss My Ass!" in English and Spanish.

The Great Plotnik has read Shantaram. He knows he is not being hip to notice these citizens, but criminy already.

As for art and lit, he only heard the one guy. And the bilingual "Kiss My Ass."

Now then, about Ann Randolph: She's a phenomenon, very very funny with an elastic face and a new show even better than last year's "Squeezebox." You can read the San Francisco Theater Blog review of "Loveland" here. This is a fabulous show that is also cheap. Couldn't recommend it any more highly.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

No Dessert For You

Plotnik has been carefully pruning and grooming his apple tree for the past fifteen years, arcing it over the entry to the rear acreage as well as training it to branch out towards the deck. He learned to do this kind of thing when he and Duck lived on the farm and he is quite good at it.

The problem is, the apples we eat come from hybrid trees. The upper part of the tree, that has the great tasting fruit, is grafted onto the lower part of the tree, that has genes for a strong trunk and spreading roots. If the top dies and the bottom continues, you end up with fruit from the rootstock, which, as we now can see, is only good for furry fellows with long tails and strong teeth.

His Mom didn't teach him very good table manners. No dessert for this boy -- he never finishes his dinner.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Looking for Muni in the Dark

Anneli and Geri have rented a car and are off down the coast to Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur and possibly Hearst Castle, for a few days. So Plot and Duck have the weekend to themselves and today the Phoolies are in Stiletto for a day game.

Plot finds himself, strangely enough, not as hyped up for this playoff series as the one with the Kurds. He thinks his team is better but they could win or lose and his world will not dry up and blow away. The Phoolies are not the Braindead Caribbeans. When the Braindeads beat the Plotzers, Plot feels it.

Having guests in the house means remembering what it's like to be a traveler, living out of a rucksack. These two always smile, and are interested in everything. That's the way to be when you're on the road. Accept what comes along and revel in the good parts.

They loved the Alcatraz tour. They loved eating fish on the Wharf. They even loved telling the story of their cable car ride -- two blocks only, because there was a fire at Tiffany's on Union Square, everyone had to get off the cable car and service was stopped.

Last night they had a MUNI horror story, as they attempted to get home from Fisherman's Wharf at 9pm. They thought they could take the 49 Van-Ness, like they did to get down there earlier in the day, but they discovered they could not find the correct bus stop in the dark.

Everyone they asked told them something different. When they finally got on the bus, it was the wrong bus, the 47 instead of the 49, but it was so crowded they couldn't get to the bus driver to ask a question, and they couldn't see the overhead announcements. They eventually rode all the way to the Transbay Bus Terminal, and had to figure out where Market Street was. Again, all the wrong information, MUNI bus drivers who wouldn't answer them, riding the wrong way on the right bus or the right way on the wrong bus, and many people trying to be helpful but most of them totally misinformed.

Sure, they could have phoned, but these two like to figure things out for themselves. They did get home, eventually -- closer to midnight, but with a story to tell their friends. The four of us drank a glass of Frivolo and listened to their adventures, as Plot and Duck felt the Chile/Patagonia bug rising again in their bellies.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Parlor and Fireplace With the Candle

The Turkish rug came back from the rug repair shop. The new hourglass-shaped rattan thing is now a table between the two chairs. The furniture has been moved around and pillows stacked on the old love seat, and BZ's Nigerian snake skin hassock has been restuffed with a new round of crumpled newspapers, and the various other thingamabobs brought back from travels abroad re-arranged. The parlor is now done, sort of, for awhile, maybe.

Things will change again, of course, especially if Plot and Duck ever get back to Peru so they can go to Ayacucho and find that amazing tejido artist who does those modernist wall hangings. Or somewhere else. For now, probably for the first time since Plot and Duck have lived in this house, the parlor is a really comfortable room to sit in, the way it was in the old days. The only problem is that Plot and Duck feel like their great great grandparents when they sit and read in the parlor. But, hey.

Note the candle in the fireplace. The first thing Plot and Duck did when they bought the house in 1993 was to get the flue repaired so they could use the fireplace for nice, vibey wood fires. But the firebox is so small it renders the fireplace basically useless, because to get the bricks hot enough to create the draw that allows smoke to rise and go out the chimney, you first have to burn so much wood the entire house is engulfed in smoke.

Then, the city wrote an ordinance the makes it illegal to have wood fires within the city of Saint Plotniko. Plottie wants his money back. Ha ha ha, money back! Right!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Spiders of Joy

The two cosmopolitan German women, Gerhild Tietz and Anneli Goetz, have traveled the length and breadth of Saint Plotniko since their arrival last Thursday, seeing museums and neighborhoods and high as well as low culture, but what they appear to have loved most of all so far are the name cards that Ms. Mush made for them last night. Halloween is something new to them, and every day they see new spiders and jack-o-lanterns and skeletons popping up on front lawns and apartment windows and they are intrigued. Now, they each have a spider of their own and they couldn't be more pleased.

After dinner, there was a mandatory pause on Bernal Hill for Geri to take this cloudy, brooding photo. The different views of Saint Plotniko from different spots have intrigued them too.

Five of these chocolate bars arrived with Geri and Anneli and only two are left, which is amazing because Ducknik and Plotnik haven't stopped eating them, two squares at a time.

Famed Children's Book Author Nguyen Sor Juana Tyrone Applebaum signed several of her new books for Plot and Duck to give as Christmas presents this year, as they gave out her first book a few years ago. It feels so nice to have friends' projects turn out beautifully and be able to share them with other friends. Sounds like The Great Dance-Nik has a new chapbook, and Brother Large Pants has a wonderful volume of poetry and who knows who else by the time December rolls around?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

This Time it's No Joke

This is not good. Plotnik's recording project has been saved to an external hard drive. It now appears that the external hard drive, which is only a few months old, may have failed. The data may or may not be recoverable. Plotnik has earlier versions of most of the songs on the hard drive of his Powerbook, but the whole reason for the external drive was not to have to store the songs in the hard drive of the computer, but somewhere else.

So it appears he should have had a backup for the backup, but then again maybe that would fail too?

Oh, man. His brand spanking new Macbook Pro appears to work, and is very fast, but this won't help recover data if the data is gone. G-Tech, who makes the external drive, says it sounds like a simple problem they can repair while saving the data -- but it'll take two weeks and there are no guarantees.

Criminy. Plot doesn't hate technology but when it fails it becomes a tortuous process. Keep your fingers crossed, please. And backup your backup of your backup? It sounds funny but is really no joke at all.

Monday, October 12, 2009

"The Chosen," and We Don't Mean The Yankees

(Follow-up to yesterday. Small is small, big is big. Whether or not the lumbering Great Plotnik continues to run up and down a basketball court while failing to impress Latino street kids, is small. Thanks very much to Cousin EG for such an incisive comment.)

Meanwhile, Saturday night Plot and Duck drove down to Mountain View to catch the Opening of the beautiful Chaim Potok story "The Chosen." It would be easy to say that the story of two Orthodox Jewish boys, one Hasidic, or ultra-religious, and one secular, in Brooklyn in the 1940s, would have trouble resonating with a non-religious American audience. But the relationship between the two boys and their fathers is so touching that Plot and Duck were spellbound by the production. Those of you who have seen shows at The Traveling Jewish Theater will recognize Corey Fischer as the old rabbi. He is so good your stomach starts feeling like his stomach does.

Theaterworks has hit it out of the park this time. You can read the San Francisco Theater Blog Review of "The Chosen" here, and if you're a sucker for father-son stories, as Plotnik is, you'd better not forget the hanky.

Plot was sitting right in back of The Witt, theater reviewer for the Morning Fish Wrap. Plot kept looking over The Witt's shoulder to see how much he was writing -- a lot! The man had little notes all over his program. At least Theatreworks is still handing out Press Packs -- most other theaters have gone to On-Line-Only press information, which means reviewers have nothing to write on except their palms and wrists.

Openings are always fun because the production companies give away as many free tickets as they can, to make sure the house is full when the reviewers are there. So Plot and Duck always see actors and directors from every company in town, whoever is not working that night, in the audience and at intermission. There is a theater community in every theater town, and nothing brings them together like free tickets. Right, JJ-aka-PP?