Thursday, April 16, 2009


This morning, as I was leaving the Holiday Inn Express (nice, comfy beds with wonderfully firm mattresses), I passed by the indoor pool. The lights weren't on, and there was just the grayest bit of lihght coming in from the new sun. I could just see dark sillhouettes, but it looked and sounded like a family -- 3 or 4 kids of elementary or middle school age and a grown-up or two.

I was very pleased that my first thought was "wow--wouldn't that be cool to be playing in a nearly-dark pool," and it was only my eighth or ninth thought that got to "wow--that's a lawsuit waiting to happen."

Monday, April 13, 2009

Movie, Musical, Book

These are three works of art that I have really enjoyed in the last couple of weeks:

I was a little bit behind the curve in seeing this (on DVD from Netflix), but it was well worth the wait. Sean Penn is excellent, and it is a story well-told -- great characters, and a terrific script. It serves as a timely reminder of how far gay rights have come and how far society still has to go. Now I want to see Penn in All the President's Men to see how he handles a very different political leader.

The Drowsy Chaperone
This musical was on the MU Concert Series recently, and was hands-down the best thing I have seen in that series. The shows there tend to be inconsistent non-Equity bus and truck companies, but this production was excellent. The case was great, to a person, the direction was crisp, and the set was fun. I was not familiar with the show, other than a single number from the Tonies a couple of years ago, but it was remarkably funny. The songs were workmanlike -- fun, but nothing really to go home whistling. The script was quite elegant (using that term mathematically, I guess). Essentially, the show is a retelling of a '20's-era musical as seen through the mind of a man listening to the double LP in his apartment. I imagine I might have enjoyed it even more if a had more than a passing familiarity with such shows.

Last Night at the Lobster
This short (3 CDs, so 150 pages?) novel by Stewart O'Nan tells of the manager of a Red Lobster as he tries to hold his restaurant and his life together on the former's final night. Like a book one can't put down before going to sleep, I popped the first CD in as I was leaving Columbia for Kentucky, and didn't stop until I pulled CD 3 out on the far side of Illinois. O'Nan does a nice job of assuming his reader gets the jokes and understands the implications of the situations, so doesn't waste words overselling an idea. We have just 12 hours or so to meet each of the characters, but the tips of their icebergs make them entirely clear. O'Nan really manages to tell a story that is based in a place we all know and is about real and interesting people. Apparently, this is his 10th book, and I'm looking forward to finding some of his earlier work.

Peace, and Happy Easter.