The Great Plotnik

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Master of Science

Ms. BZWZ received her Master of Science and Ms. BB gave her a flower.

The nigh before there were fifteen minutes of unreal Eastern thunderstorm cloudburst and those were the minutes the Plotniks were attempting to walk to the Grad School bar for beer and pizza.

The Great BZWZ wore her lei on her head. The Great BB used a direct method for achieving bulls eyes on the dart board.

Last year's three roommates with their Master's Robes. Three years from year we will hopefully be back and all three will be wearing similar robes but will get sashes and funny hats for their heads.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Father and Son

Stone walled Ivy League buildings serve a lot of purposes.

The graduation was wonderful. Photos later.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


The rule is never plan to wait at any airport for anyone who is flying in on another plane from Atlanta, if that plane takes off in the afternoon in spring or summer. Plot and Duck got in at 6:30, jj-aka-pp's plane was due in at 7:20, then got delayed three hours by thundershowers. So BZ and Ben-Z picked up Plot and Duck at Boston's Logan Airport, took them to the North End for a great Italian dinner, and by the time the extra order of lasagna arrived for JJ, her plane had finally arrived. But it was a long travel day.

Boston under a full moon is very beautiful, though difficult under any circumstances to find your way in, especially when people are on the street cheering because the Celtics have won their playoff game.

Have you heard of Cell Phone Parking Lots? They have one at Logan -- a lot for you to wait in until your party calls you to tell you they're waiting at the curb. No more going really slow around the curve until airport security shoos you away.

It's Saturday morning and we're all back in pretty Providence. Plot and Duck and jj-aka-PP are staying in a grad student's apartment that is a lot nicer than the Motel 6 in Seekonk, Mass, plus cheaper too, and is across the street from BZ's house. PD, 5H and BB arrive later today. Graduation is tomorrow.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

All the Yap That's Fit to Print

It's hard to be a parent, especially when you're the kid. But this is where the Plotnik Brothers find themselves these days. She used to say "I'm sorry, you'll understand when you're older" but now they have to say to her "I'm sorry, you can't make these decisions by yourself anymore."

Mummy Plotnik has taken care of herself for a long time. She is, above all, sensible. That's how she has managed to keep on pushing, as she nursed three husbands through their final days and stood tall like a Monterey Pine for her boys. So it is rough for us all to see how muddled and frail she has become in the last few weeks, continuing a pattern that has been slow to assert itself, but steady in its approach.

A lot of that is due to those horrible pain killers they prescribe to her that temporarily relieve a little pain but whose side effects appear to be disorientation and confusion.

But this is to be expected. Doctors do not treat elderly people, they patronize them. They don't even like to see them taking up space in their waiting rooms. When Mummy P.'s long-time internist retired she lost someone who knew and cared about her. His son took over his practice. He says "Rose, what can I do for you?"

But it's not his fault that age doesn't let anyone slide.

No one who knows Schmeckl Plotnik will be able to imagine him getting mad enough at his mom that he ends up yelling at her on the phone, and no one who knows The Great Plotnik will be able to imagine him doing the same thing, but in the past two days that's what's happened.

For Mummy P. it's all about trying to maintain control over her life.

For the Plotnik boys it's about trying to fight their own denial while at the same time doing battle with their mother over her refusal to accept more permanent help. In the end the help will be hired, the extra bedroom will be converted into more comfortable living space for a full time housekeeper and those systems that are all too familiar to us boomers will be humming along as well as they can.

But if Mummy P. doesn't want someone living in her house with her she will hate her. She will. It's automatic. It could be Florence Nightingale, it could be Antonio Banderas, it won't matter. And when she hates this new woman she will make herself sick.

And when she's made herself good and sick she will either get over it or not.

We think this is hard? Just wait.

(Call her and say hi, those of you who might do so now and then. Not all at once but when you think about it. Just hi -- that's plenty.)


As Plot has alluded to recently, his blog is basically for himself and his family and friends. He knows he doesn't have to write about this stuff. But when that's pretty much all that's happening in his life, what other choice is there?

Silence, or yapping. That's it, silence or yapping. It's yap for now, but, you know, only all the yap that's fit to print.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Thinking Too Much

Maine: crabs, scallops, lobster.

Providence: mussels, pizza, chocolate hazelnut biscotti, Italian food on Federal Hill.

Saint Plotniko: clean out fridge by making salads out of everything. Eat as many of those home-made pickles as you can because they won't be as good when you get back. Divvy up the oranges and tangerines for three mornings of juice. Make sure there's enough coffee for the morning after you get back. Get a few bike rides in.

Stiletto City: try to resolve things down there, at least until you get back. Erase the blog entry you originally posted here. You don't have to keep talking about it.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Serious Geneology

Believe it or not, this is a movie review.

Plotnik recently received a piece of paper from his cousin containing the names and birth dates for her, her three siblings, their husbands and wives, all of their children and even a few grandchildren. Plotnik is known as the Family Tree Person, and though he originally set out in 1998 to locate his father's family, about whom he knew nothing, anyone who has ever done a family tree will tell you one family leads to another and to another.

The Joseph family cousins are from Mummy Plotnik's side. Here's how it works.

Mummy P's father had seven siblings. His sister Anna was the baby. She married Plotnik's great uncle Morris Joseph. 'Joseph," of course is a shortened version of whatever the Russian or Polish or Hungarian name was originally, possibly Josefski or Josevevich or Yoskelitzky or maybe even Schmutznik.

Anna and Morris Joseph had several children, amongst whom was David, who was a few years younger than Mummy P., but in her generation. David Joseph died two years ago.

David married Ruth. Ruth and David had Bruce, Karen, Marla and Alyce. These cousins are a few years younger than Plotnik, but in his generation. Marla and Alyce, in particular, are devoted to and treasured by Mummy Plotnik.

OK. Bruce Joseph married and divorced Sandy. She has become nothing but a blip in the software. Then Bruce married Lynne.

Lynne and Bruce Joseph had Jennifer, Jason and Daniel, who are a few years younger but in The Great PD and The Great BZWZ's generation.

Bruce's sister Karen married Marshall Varon. Yes, Karen Varon. Karen and Marshall had Alana, Melissa and Brett. Thank God, no Sharon.

Bruce and Karen's sister Marla married Michael Kantor. Marla and Michael had Anthony, Kimberly and Alex.

Bruce, Karen and Marla's sister Alyce married David Botwinick. Alyce and David had Brooke and Allison.

Also, Alana Varon married Jeff Olschwang. They have Remy and Gavriel, who are in Isabella's generation.

And Melissa Varon married Matthew Weinberg.

All these names! Plotnik remembers his great Aunt Anna, who died when he was a small child, and his great Uncle Morris, who remarried and lived several more decades. Morris's new wife was named Ida, was as big as a house and wore tents.


The reason is because last night he and Duck watched "A Serious Man." Plotnik can't imagine anyone who didn't grow up with an Uncle Morris and an Aunt Ida and people named Joseph, Olschwang, Botwinick and Weinberg could ever, ever, ever understand ten minutes of this movie. The small details are so chillingly perfect that Plotnik's eyes got worse, his stomach needed Alka Seltzer, new hair grew on his back, he began to ask questions when answers were needed.

All the women in this movie are short with wide legs. From the thighs down they look like the Czar. The men wear large black glasses and are all currently sleeping on the sofa. Everyone is miserable.

The three rabbis. Oh my God, the three rabbis. The Young One. The Old One. The Ancient One. Their desks. The shit on their desks. The parking lot at the synagogue. The big kid chasing the little kid.

The overbearing horse who is dating our hero's wife. Oh my God! The wife herself. Oh my God! The ineffectual men, none of whom can speak two sentences without apologizing. Oh my God! The kids who just want to smoke pot and listen to the Jefferson Airplane. Oh my God! The Nazi next door. Oh my God! The bill collector for the Columbia Record Club. Oh my God!

Did the Coen brothers grow up in Plotnik's world? Did he grow up in Minneapolis? How did the Coen Brothers' life experience end up the same as so many other people's life experiences?

Does Joel Coen have a cousin Jennifer, Jason, Daniel, Alana, Melissa, Brett, Anthony, Kimberly, Alex, Brooke and Allison? Yikes, probably.

And the tornado, what was that? Was that the dybbuk? Vas dot die dybbuk? Aiii-eeeee!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Things Are Getting Better and HSGH

Things appear to be somewhat better down in Stiletto, though Plotnik knows he only gets the headlines, not the whole story. Meanwhile, yesterday was one of those beautiful days up here and today looks like another, but the really gorgeous weather is scheduled to begin this coming Friday and terminate nine days later, on Sunday, for the rest of the summer.

Then, whenever Duck's high school reunion takes place in the fall, the sweet, warm and balmy days will make another appearance the minute Plot and Duck's plane's wheels tuck back into the wings and it will be stunning morning, day and night, back home that is, for as long as it takes for the Plotniks to get wherever they're going and back.

However, Mummy P. willing, a trip to see BZWZ receive a Master's Degree in Providence and several days with Captain Crow and Navigatrix Finch in Maine is highly anticipated in these quarters, and the longer Plot and Duck stay gone the more the tomatoes will receive HSGH (hot sunshine growth hormone). Plot's got to get some basil plants into the little pots next to the tomatoes because they need all the heat they can get.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Fun and Pig Parts

The point is to keep on keepin' on, and when you start to watch a depressing movie turn the sucker off! Better yet, go to the opening of a silly show where you can get some belly laughs.

After the Premiere of "(Title Too Long to Spell Backwards - we'll call it "Hog") last night, Plot's favorite playhouse set out their usual post-premiere spread of food and sweets and wine. "Hog" is being mounted in the smaller 50-seat second stage, while "Sue Lou A-ooo Shoe Hugh Eww Rue" is still running in the next room on the main stage. By the time the party started most of the patrons from "Sue Lou" had gone home but all the actors were there, and the actors from "Hog," and the set designers and director and all the critics who, like Plotnik, do love complaining about everything but hot pizza.

Even the Grumpy Guys were there and they were into the mushroom with sausage.

It's always fun to talk to local actors who you've seen in many shows at various theaters over the years, and remind them of the pleasure they've given you in earlier roles as well as the current show.

The fun is that these are such shy people off stage! Always! "Gee, gawrsh, well I'm sure happy you liked it, shoot, thanks for comin'."

Of course, you just saw them bite somebody's ear off and slather it with pig parts on stage. An hour later they're all Gee and Gawrsh.

Plot really likes all three actors in Hog and one of them was Bob Crachit in the Playhouse's wonderful spoof on A Christmas Carol a few years ago and every time Plotnik runs into him he tells him that whatever role he just did was almost as good as Bob Crachit.

Last night Plotnik did it again and the actor said "Gee. Gawrsh. Thanks."

It felt good to revel a tiny bit, to kvell about the Playhouse's success, not only because they always choose wacky and well-acted plays but because they're really nice people. A husband and wife team runs the company, and this time one is starring on one stage and one directing on the other. Two cool shows at the same time and lots of people attending both.

That and an earlier party during the day for dear neighbors who are moving to a house they bought in the Shmerkeley hills, along with their two little kids who Plottie has had a lot of fun playing with for the last year, helped smooth over some rough edges Plotnik has been feeling about what comes next with his mom.

It's not that she's critical. Maybe she'll get better, right? But she can't always keep getting better, isn't that right too? None of us can, though, once again, for the jazillionth time, the lesson can only be the obvious one: do it while you can, live it while you can, see it while you can, taste it while you can and love it all except for the shitty hostels, because that love, that taste, that vision, that life tends to get squeezed out of us if we let it. Even if we don't let it. But especially if we do.

And don't rent "Iris" unless you're just too happy.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Peter Pan Is Right

Mummy Plotnik has been flat on her back since early this week. Lillian has been staying overnight all week and the Southern Cal Ks are all pitching in this weekend. It appears to be time to actually speak the frightening words: 24-hour care. This means hiring someone to live in the house with Mummy P., at least for the time being but possibly for the long term.

There are so many attendant problems to this situation -- one being that most full-time helpers have very limited English and they would not be able to do the things she needs most -- reading to her, talking about things that matter to her, being a companion. Lillian has her own family and cannot move in to Mummy P.'s house.

A few years ago it was necessary to find temporary care workers to help out with Mummy P. and The Chief when his increasing memory loss and health problems were making things tough for both of them. The helpers they hired all turned out to be nasty-tempered Philipina ladies who did not like their jobs. They sat around, smoked cigarettes and talked on their cell phones. It was horrible.

And of course, let's be honest: when Plot's Mom is feeling poorly her five-second filter becomes disengaged -- the one that would normally cancel out a rancid comment that sounds a lot nastier than she intends. People who know her understand it is exhaustion talking. People who don't just get mad and that makes their interaction even worse.

Last time Mummy P. recovered and the last five years have been better than anyone could have hoped for. We've all been trying to avoid this situation for a long time and it has worked pretty well up to here -- but even if M.P. recovers from this problem, it is certain to have derailed her. And if not now, soon. The decision has to be faced.

Going to a 'facility' is out of the question. She needs to remain in her own home, where even with limited sight and sketchy hearing she knows where everything is and can find her way around easily.

The Great Plotnik does not like decisions like these. He prefers pretending. He may be Peter Pan. Brother Pan is not much better. Nobody wants to grow up.

Friday, May 21, 2010

They're Not Good for Your Digestion

Last night Plot and Duck watched a really sad but excellent film called "Sugar," which is about a young pitcher from the Dominican Republic and how he has to manage his way through the totally alien world of the minor leagues in small American towns. Nobody speaks Spanish, everyone resents black people and the competition is cut-throat. The end is what's sad about the film -- not that anything horrible happens, just that you always believe, in a movie, that the good guy is going to get whatever he wants.

Also last night, the Plotzer's best young pitcher, Clayton Kershaw, pitched against the Padres, and the Braindead Caribbeans' best young pitcher, Tim Lincecum, pitched against the Diamondbacks. The Plotzer won and the Braindead lost, but the interesting thing is these guys are the real-life personification of what Miguel "Sugar" Santos had wanted in his life.

So many try, and for most Latinos this is their only shot at getting off their islands and away from a live of poverty. Very few can succeed. Often it's luck -- avoiding a devastating injury -- being at the right place at the right time. We forget that Kershaw and Lincecum are really young kids -- they're like three-year-old racehorses, in their primes, used for what they can deliver right now. They only get a scant few years, if they're lucky, and when they're done they're done. This is why Plotnik never resents a baseball or basketball player earning outrageous money for a few years -- if they're so good that people want to watch them throw or shoot that ball, they deserve to get paid whatever they can.

But most never even get off the island, or if they're lucky enough to get to Bridgeport, Iowa or Little Rock, Arkansas, they've got to be extra strong just to survive.

There was a great story in the film about a real-life Puerto Rican baseball player from the 1950s named Victor Pellot, who, when he got to the major leagues, used the name Vic Power. He had a distinguished career as a first baseman but before he got to the Cleveland Indians he was in the minor leagues in Little Rock.

This was the early 1950s and his English wasn't perfect yet. He went into a coffee shop for breakfast and a waitress whispered in his ear: "Sorry, we don't serve black people in here." Power whispered back: "That's OK. I don't eat black people."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

More Car Chases, Please?

It was a good thing the Premiere of "Island Noodle pause Theodore Harold Ergonomic pause Wimpy Action Krispy Eggroll" got started late last night because Plot and Duck got slogged in traffic trying to cross the Bay Bridge at 7pm in the rain. When the PlotzWagon was still in the city at 7:40 he figured they had no chance, but the other side of the Bay was wide open and Plottie actually got to the parking lot in front of the playhouse by 8:01. Then it took ten minutes of reverse Dante -- higher and higher circles of Hell -- to find a stall to park in, and another five to find an exit. By the time they ran across the street and into the theater the Press Tickets had already been returned to the box office so that took another five minutes and STILL they were in their seats for fifteen minutes before Act One began.

Plot wanted a cookie. Act One took an hour and a half! The cookie line was long at intermission but they had good coffee. Act Two took another hour. In all, the show was good but he should have gotten two cookies.

Plot is not getting jaded, he still loves live theater, but he's getting very impatient with wordiness on stage. Last night it was gay women examining all the world's problems, having affairs with each other and blaming society for making them all miserable.

Plotnik says: Grow UP! Have an affair with whoever you want. But make it count because there will be a price to pay and YOU YOU YOU have to pay it. It wasn't George Bush that got to cruise around those new curves, was it? No, it was you. So stop blaming him, pay for your transgressions and if you're going to write a play about it throw in some car chases for Allen.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Cat In The Hat And The Butter In The Bowl

Great Grandma Rose and Belly Bone enjoyed watching The Cat and the Hat together yesterday, but by now BB and her dad are already back in Brooklyn after taking the red-eye home. PD is at work and The Great FiveHead, who came to Saint Plotniko for a few pleasant days, is also on a plane heading back East.

Last night TG5H, Plot, Duck, Silent Bill and Ms. Mush went down to Little Larry's for what everybody needs: butter, cream, wine and garlic.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Welcome Back Nef, Fef, Vash and BBone

It has been awhile since Nefnik, Fefnik and Vashnik graced the pages of TGP. It turns out all they had to do was hang out with Belly Bone.

Vashie and Belly have always been buddies. Personally, Papa thinks Belly looks over the moon for Vashnik who isn't Little Vashie anymore.

And what about those drum solos?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Good for Chairman Bao

Plotnik's favorite bao truck (as in char shui bao, Chinese buns and other good stuff) showed up out in front of Economy Kitchen Fixtures the other day. They were looking for a bargain like everybody else.

And today The Great FiveHead is in town, so of course it's raining.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Pins Are on the Map!

Finally, the South America trip pins are on the map. Eleven of 'em! Each represents a stop of at least one night. Here's how that went:

Buenos Aires: seven nights
Santiago: five nights
Salta: three nights
Puerto Varas: three nights
Estancia de la Cuevas Pintadas: two nights
Puerto Natales: two nights
Iguazu City: two nights
El Calafate: two nights
Perito Moreno: one night
Comodoro Rivadavia: one night
Torres del Paine National Park: one night
Punta Arenas: one night
Bus: one night
Plane: two nights

Don't be confused about the two pins, one yellow and one pinkish, in the same place: Iguazu. That's because both the Plotniks and The Great PD and Great FiveHead have been there. But only one bought a charango there and it ain't Plottie.

Is this the most beautiful salad you've ever seen? The lady who made it -- Sue -- grew all this stuff out in the avenues and if you think this is pretty you should hear the guitars her husband Alan makes. And the empanadas weren't too shabby either.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Don't Bet the House on Double Zero

Still haven't heard from our City of Lost Wages Correspondent. We do expect he will be filing his report from Stiletto City tomorrow afternoon. This should be good.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Say it Ain't So, Leo

A wonderful guy -- one of those people who you love hanging around with every time you see him but you don't see nearly often enough -- Leo Holub passed away last week. His obituary and picture just ran in the BirdWrap this morning so it's official -- there was some question about when to say anything about it.

Jeez, what a nice man and a great artist too. Plot met Leo through the Snowy Valley Voice. Leo's wife Florence wrote a column in the Voice for many years, in which her recollections of her young woman-hood in the neighborhood were recounted to the delight of a generation of her readers. Florence and Leo lived up the hill, across the street from the Christmas Tree house, and they would come to the annual Labor Day party at Great Plotnik World Headquarters and the Christmas party at Snowy Valley Sal's, and all the other events that have tied this little community together for the more than 30 years Sal has been putting out our cool and literary little paper.

Leo started and then headed up the photography department at Stanford in the 1960s and he knew everybody and everybody knew him. His history -- from son of an itinerant Arkansas blacksmith to Chicago Art Institute -- was a fascinating one. But aside from his many accomplishments, this was one really nice guy. If 'sweetheart' ever fits comfortably on a man, Leo wore it like his favorite wool sweater. What a great dude.

And, Plotnik has to admit, Leo was a great listener. He loved to hear Plotnik sing his songs. He was a true fan, and you don't lose those easily.

Worse, Florence has lost much of her memory now -- it appears to be Alzheimers and in not such an early stage either -- so we probably won't be seeing her much either in the future. Leo had taken to coming to the Voice parties recently without her. When you'd ask 'how's Florence doing?' he'd say -- "...well, she's getting along."

And then, apparently, Florence came downstairs and found Leo lying on the floor of their kitchen. Just like that.

It took her awhile to really understand what had happened -- she is still saying that Leo's gone out but he'll be right back. Fortunately, they have a couple of kids who can shepherd her through whatever it is that comes next.

What comes next for all of us in our little corner of the bubble is to have another party but not have Florence and Leo to talk to, to pick our head up from our guitar and not see his face smiling back with that look that says "I hear you, man."

Here's a piece of 'Bodhidharma' by Billy Collins:

"This morning the surface of the wooded lake
is uncommonly smooth - absolute glass --
which must be the reason I am thinking
of Bodhidharma, the man who brought Buddhism
to China by crossing the water standing on a single reed.

...I recognized him one night in a Chinese restaurant
after the diasppointment
of the fortune cookie, the dry orange and the tepid tea.
He was hanging on a wall behind the cash register,
and when I quizzed the young cashier,
she looked back at the painting and said
she didn't know who it was but it looked like her boss.

Thinking of her and Bodhidarma
makes me want to do many things,
but mostly take off my shoes and socks
and slide over a surface of water on a fragile reed
heading toward the shore of a new country..."

(Jane Underwood's photo)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

New Blogger and Another Nameless Premiere

The Great Plotnik hired a new blogger this morning (whose identity must remain anonymous due to security considerations), to handle the Celebrity Wire. His first assignment will be to blog from Lost Wages, Nevada, during a particularly interesting convocation of Hollywood celebrities that will be occurring this weekend. We will keep you posted. If we hear one word we'll consider ourselves fortunate.

Meanwhile, Plot and Duck saw another show last night whose name will not go up on the headline. It was SOOOOO disappointing. Let's just say that the only way Imagine Nudnik pause Terrible Horrendous Egregious pause How Ever In God's Holy Trepidatious Silly could have won the Tony award some recent year for Best Musical must speak to the relative demise of the idiom. Not that it wasn't good. It was good. But BEST? Of the entire YEAR?

One great thing, though, is that the demographic in the audience last night was far younger and that's good. The American theater audience is only one or two steps away from needing a cardiologist in each aisle. Much of the show is in that language they speak in those countries down there that aren't Brazil and so people appeared to be more Leopoldo Antonio Tomas Irma Norberto Omigod as well. This is also good. Let's hope the audience remains large even after the Night of Free Tickets (Premiere Night).

Plotnik thought about not commenting about his and Ducknik's relatively funky seats (relative to the great ones they usually get) in his review. But shoot. He couldn't hear a thing -- but did that stop him from commenting about the music? Oh, hell no.

You can read, you know, over at, you know.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

At Least Use Some Duck Fat

If you're a renter you don't worry about stuff like this. But if you just spent a lot of effort redoing various parts of your house, including putting in a new (old) door and window over it, and all the old (new) facing and molding around it and a new roof to cover it, you're not happy when you look out and see this guy building a nest up there.

Normally, Plotnik wouldn't think twice about it -- I mean, pigeons are just birds, what harm can they do?

Apparently a lot. Read "pigeon damage" postings on various pest removal sites and you'd think these guys are Al-Queda at the very least. One method for removal calls for taking a cast iron skillet up to the roof and then letting the pigeons watch you break their eggs into the frying pan. You think Plotnik is joking, but he isn't.

Oh, man. Really? Is this something he really has to do? Pigeons? Can they really be so awful?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tiny Button Crankypants

Pins. Plotnik needs to find 10 new pins for his map. They have to be a brand new never-used-before color. Where in the city (forget on-line for now) would he look? Probably Flax. OK, he'll try Flax.

And he has to go see if that small Latino grocery store on Mission, owned by Argentinians, sells pre-made empanada wrappers.

And he has to call Verizon to see if they will give him the password to Mummy P.'s cellphone message center, because she can't remember it and it's hard for her to call them to ask about it. The problem is her hearing is getting dodgy so she sometimes doesn't hear her cell phone ring, and then she can't get past the password request to access her messages to see who called her.

And then there's the TV remote control. Make that remote controls. Mummy P. has a lot of trouble making out small visual details. Unless you have a person in your family with limited sight and a memory that is less than it once was, you probably haven't noticed that every new appliance comes with a multi-function remote control. The idea seems to be that the more buttons they put on something, the more they can charge for it.

But to fit lots of buttons on a device they have to make them TINY. Try explaining a new TV/DVD remote control to someone who has trouble seeing the buttons and has a hard time remembering the difference between COMPOSITE 1, VIDEO 4 and HDMI 2.

She'll be 96 in August and Plot knows he shouldn't get all crankypants about this minimal stuff. But the cable modem at World Headquarters was out this morning so he was on hold with Comcast. You understand his righteous ire.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tripping Over His Superlatives

It took The Great Plotnik all morning to write his review of yesterday's premiere of -- uh -- Prince Eatery Tranquilizer Everybody Romanov (pause) Perfection Animation Nimrod. The show is so spectacular Plotnik kept tripping over his superlatives.

They've set up a tent across the street from the F(airy) Building and it's got all the minor irritations that huge, expensive productions always bring along with them -- commercial exploitation mostly -- T-shirts, little wands for the girls, little swords for the boys. You know.

But stop right there. The show is a fantasy. It's what happens when marvelous storytellers look into their pockets and discover wads of venture capital. They have not made it into a Disney movie, there is not one moment of triteness nor cutesy putesy. What there is is a spectacle to which Plotnik wishes he could take all his friends and have them bring their kids. OK, grandkids (but over the age of, oh, eight? It's probably too scary for anyone younger).

Read his review at the usual place and then make up your mind. The run appears to be open-ended, and it's a U.S. Premiere so they're going to try to keep it here as long as it takes to get all the kinks out. There have to be a lot of kinks -- it's closer to Cirque du Soleil than Broadway. There are no bad seats -- a $30 cheap seat is no more than 13 rows from the stage. No need to be closer.

Why is Plottie not writing out the name? Because he wants to comment about The Grumps. The Grumps are a bunch of reviewers he knows who never like anything. They are nice men but always find something to kvetch over.

Plot was pretty sure they'd LOVE this one so when he approached them at intermission, everyone holding (complimentary) mimosas, he expected all to be oozing delight. Especially because of all the boy cheesecake going on (the lead character -- Puzzle Emeril Titmouse Early Roadrunner) is bare-chest hunky most of the time).

But no. Nobody liked it. Everybody missed the old version. Or the other old version. Or the older other old version. Sigh.

Sometimes Plotnik wonders if his eyes (and Ducknik's too) are attending the same show, or are even in the same theater or country (or decade) as the other guys.

It may be about tradition versus entertainment. Plot likes the first but craves the second. Traditional theater guys seem to look at it the other way around. Shammy Hose Edgar Elephant (dash) Italian Trumpeter!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

The World's Best Moms on Mom's Day