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Sunday, January 15, 2012


It's been an unseasonably warm winter here in little ol' Escondido, California.

(Escondido - "Hidden" in Spanish. We live in a Hidden Valley, thus the name).

Temps have been in the 80's for about a week and a half. It's fooling Mother Nature herself. We have flowers blooming already in the front yard . . . we quite often hear Mockingbirds singing to attract a mate. I think it's gonna be unrequited love as I'm pretty sure the female mockingbirds won't respond until the real spring arrives . . . but, then, I could be wrong. If a guy mockingbird is a good whistler ... you just never know.

A few of the trees have had their leaves blown off by the late summer and early fall winds. I noticed this morning, during Trixie's walk, that a lot of those trees have big clumps of mistletoe. If I were a young, athletic, and enterprising kid, I'd climb those trees with a pair of nippers, shear the mistletoe bunches off and drop them to the ground, then bag them up, put them in a cooler and save them till late November, early December, then put them in cellophane packages and sell them for $2 a bag. I'd make $15,000-$20,000 in one month.

I'd be doing a great favor for the owners of those trees as mistletoe is a parasite. Cutting them off the trees would make the trees healthier. Too many mistletoe, draining the sap of a tree, can kill it. We had mistletoe back in Omaha, where I grew up . . . but nowhere near the volume we have here in California.

But, I'm no longer young and athletic and I don't climb trees much any more. It seems I have grown older and we old folks have no business climbing trees. Besides, I have taken a solemn and sacred vow to avoid anything that closely resembles work.

I write. That is my work. Some might say . . "work? Writing is work?"

Yup. I often work 12-18 hours a day. Writing is not a 9 to 5 job. Granted, some writing jobs, with advertising agencies, newspapers, etc., are 9 to 5. Mine isn't. I sometimes, often, in fact, write at 3, 4, 5 am. When ideas for a story, essay or commentary come to you, you have to write it. Now, lest you forget it come morning, upon awakening.

Not complaining. Not at all. I love to write.

I can't do anything else. I'm all thumbs when it comes to repairing anything. A frozen right shoulder due to arthritis limits what I can do around the house. I'm not interested at all in gardening or yard care. Have lost my desire to travel. We'll be going to New Orleans in June for the International Kiwanis Convention. Love New Orleans! We're got someone to look after Trixie that we really trust, so we should be able to relax and enjoy ourselves. I hate conventions. They bore me. But I'll tolerate one to get a trip to New Orleans.

But to "retire" and travel a lot? Nope. Not for me. But I have no idea what I'd do if I sold the paper . . . or if health issues would interfere with my ability to read and to write. I'd be bored silly. I'm not the type to sit on the front porch rocking chair. I like to raise hell now and then . . . and do.

So, I write. And seeing as how it is now time to bring the current issue of The Paper up to date and get ready for this coming week's issue . . . I bid you adieu.

For now.

I'll be back to pester you later.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Spring Awakening

Took in a musical tonight. Well, we stayed till intermission.

A good friend had invited us to see "Spring Awakening, A New Musical," staged by the California Youth Conservatory Theatre at the (Lawrence) Welk Theatre, near Escondido.

We've been to the Welk many times before. Almost always enjoyed ourselves.

My good friend has a daughter, a high school junior, in the musical. While I didn't feel like going to a musical or play I didn't want to let my good friend down and I wanted to support his daughter's efforts.

He, Evelyn, and I, all three got quite an education.

The musical, billed as an 8-time Tony Award winning musical, left me cold. Almost shivering, in fact.

We were prepared to accept and understand that there was adult language and an adult theme. I have heard adult language . . . on rare occasions, I may have even used it myself. I have also read books, and seen movies . . . with adult themes. Somehow, I survived. They did post a disclaimer:

ADVISORY: SPRING AWAKENING contains mature themes, sexual situations and strong language. This production is in no way affiliated with or produced by the Welk Theatre and Welk assumes no responsibility for content.

Well, wait a minute. How can Welk assume no responsibility for content? The Welk organization has built an outstanding reputation for presenting family fare, music and plays you would not be ashamed or embarrassed to take your family members to see.
Did anyone from the Welk Organization read the book or the score? If so, I'm surprised they agreed to rent the theatre to the Youth Conservancy. I would think, in order to not tarnish the Welk reputation, they would have repudiated this musical and declined to rent.

In my judgment, and I'm far from being a prude, the musical was totally inappropriate for the venue of The Welk Theatre.

Several of the scenes give pause to a theatre patron:

a. One scene where one of the male actor simulates masturbation. (At least I THINK he was simulating)!
b. Another scene where the male and female lead simulate copulation on the stage (At least I THINK it was simulated)!

The theme of the musical has to do with the "timeless story of teenage self-discovery and budding sexuality as seen through the eyes of three teenagers."

Those elite theatre-going folks back east in New York City . . . on Broadway, seem to think this is the cat's pajamas. Rave reviews.

This little ol' farm boy from Nebraska will not give a rave review. Those who know me know I am anything but a prude. The musical might be okay in a proper venue. An avant-garde' theatre, for example. But at the (Lawrence) Welk Theatre? Nope. Totally inappropriate.

I would not take a family member of mine to see "Spring Awakening," not even at another venue. Indeed, by intermission Evelyn and I had seen and heard enough. We took leave.

My friend who had invited us, met us as we headed toward the lobby at intermission. He was flabbergasted. "I had no idea this was the theme or dialogue of the show. The only issue I had with my daughter is she was rehearsing for the last three months and I thought that was too much, taking away from her other school work and activities. I never really knew what the musical was about. Now I have to figure out how to address this situation with her." He was clearly uncomfortable.

While I told him we did not care for the musical, it wasn't 'our cup of tea,' we also told him we thought his daughter did an excellent job of singing and dancing, which she did.

Being sophisticated patrons of the arts and used to fine dining . . . we went to IHOP for a late night dinner of Belgian Waffles with two eggs, over medium well, and blueberry syrup. Evelyn had some hash-brown potatoes with scrambled eggs on top.
I believe these food items are what sophisticated theatre patrons order routinely.

So much for my foray into the world of theatre arts. Broadway can keep this one. Not for me, thank you very much.