Hello, readers! Yes, I am alive and well, and sincerely apologetic for this unprecedented lapse in updating. If it’s any consolation, the main reason that I haven’t been writing is because I’ve been having lots of adventures. So, pull up a chair and stir up some Swiss Miss, and allow me to catch you up…
I would usually write in the evenings, but how could I possibly keep my eyes anywhere but on the TV earlier this month, what with the Yankees winning the World Series? It was a great series overall, and ended with a decisive win for my boys in pinstripes at their new home. Most importantly of all, at least for me, is that Alex Rodriguez finally has a ring–and he earned it. The sleeping giant of the post-season was at last awakened. Seeing all his neuroses melt away after the final out made me smile. For the first time in a long time, he looked like he was having fun. I don’t think I knew the dizzying highs and lows of fandom until this World Series. No doubt if they had lost to the Phillies, I would still be in mourning. Now, however, I am already counting the days until spring training.
My other preferred time for updating the blog is on the weekends, but most of those this month have been spent on the road, driving to see my brother play football. His game at the Merchant Marine Academy on Long Island brought out quite a vocal, local crowd, and Mom and I drove up to his campus this past Saturday for his final game. It was a bitter loss to unruly Susquehanna University. It was understandably hard for my brother, the senior, to say good-bye to something that has been such a huge part of his life since he first went out for the team in seventh grade; but he tends to be even more resourceful and adventurous than I, so I’m sure he’ll find entertaining ways to spend his new free time. Regardless, I’m impressed by and proud of him. Here’s to you, little brother.
But don’t think that I was only watching sports this month. No, sir. Two Sundays ago, Yours Truly was in East River Park with some fellow show biz types, playing softball. Organized over many e-mails, a good number of us came out to take our chance at America’s pastime. You might think a softball game amongst theater folk would be excruciatingly low-scoring and mind-numbingly slow. You’d be wrong. This was a genuine contest. The agents’ team came up short to the casting directors, 9 – 7, but it was a lot of fun. Rumors are spreading of another athletic challenge in the new year. Volleyball, perhaps?
There has been kickball, of course. After waltzing away with an 11 – 3 victory in Week 5, we were scrambling like mad to overcome a four-run deficit in Week 6…which, of course, we did. Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, courtesy of a ceaseless rally clap led by Yours Truly, we added another W to our column with an epic 9 – 6 win. Our juice ran out, though, in Week 7. An incredibly tight game ended in a 2 – 1 loss. Yet our 4 – 2 – 1 regular season record was enough to earn us the #2 seed in the play-offs. The post-season begins (and ends) next Tuesday at 7:00. I realize this is a rather brief summation of the second half of our season, so I’d be remiss not to mention that Scott earned MVP status in Week 6, and Jill had the Quote of the Week that same night for loudly telling Erin she needed a muzzle.
It hasn’t been all athletics all the time for me, though. I took in a performance of the Broadway revival of Finian’s Rainbow. This is the first major revival of the show since it’s debut 60-some odd years ago. I expect it will be 60-some odd years before anyone revives it again. It’s not that the show was bad. The direction was smart, and its cast (charming Jim Norton, clever Christopher Fitzgerald, lovely Kate Baldwin, and even lovelier Cheyenne Jackson) is wonderfully talented and delightfully paired. There’s two or three truly great songs, and the choreography was energetic and lively. But the show is just dated; not necessarily in its material, but in its tone and style. The story is virtually nonexistent, and when you try to put it into words, it’s just silly: an Irishman steals a pot of gold from underneath a rainbow and, fleeing its leprechaun owner, comes to the Jim Crow South where his headstrong daughter instantly falls for the local hero and also succeeds in turning a bigoted white politician, with his own eyes on the gold, into a black man. Finian’s Rainbow comes from a time when musical theater still didn’t always have to have a point or a context. Rodgers and Hammerstein were working concurrently to Finian’s Harburg and Lane to change that, thankfully. The cons outweigh the pros here; Finian’s is one you can skip, unfortunately.
Also underwhelming was the Star Wars: Crimson Empire collection, scripted by Mike Richardson and Randy Stradley. The break-neck pacing yields confusion rather than excitement, and the number of lost character-building opportunities are too great to count, particularly in Part II. The hero of the story is Kir Kanos, one of the Emperor’s former Royal Guardsmen, who is out to avenge the wrong done to his slain master. A guy like that is hard to get behind. The depthless traitorous Imperials he hunts and his two-bit Mara Jade-knock-off love interest aren’t terribly compelling either. The only delight for true Star Wars fans comes in the form of a small supporting role played by the nefarious Nom Anor, who later goes on to become a major heavy in the New Jedi Order series. Consider this one ripe for a book sale.
Finally, one of the reasons I have been lacking in my output, is because I have begun preparing in earnest for a future adventure. Come February 2010, I will be traveling to Rome, and as such, I have started brushing up my Italian. After six years of middle school and high school lessons, I’m surprised how much I’ve retained. Still, I’m the designated translator for my companions, so there is work to be done. I don’t expect to read much else other than Italian for Dummies (no joke, it’s awesome!) in my free time between now and then, but I’m enjoying it!
And there you have it, ladies and germs. There will still be things to write about before the holiday blitz, so stay tuned. I’m back in the saddle and I’m going to ride this bucking bronco of a blog straight through to Christmukkah!