Monday, November 30, 2009

Scrubbed the kitchen floor, went to B.J.'s and Shop-Rite (again) to pick up a few more things for Tuesday. Think I'll made an apple crisp for dessert. Talked to sister Betty, brother Larry, Mike and his adorable little girls (Violet said, "Hi!"), and my adorable little girl, Ellen.
Funny family story: My cousin, John, who's into genealogy, researches often at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Philadelphia, where a lot of our ancestors are buried. He discovered that a cousin of my father's (and his father's, as they were brothers), was killed during WW II and was interred there in 1948. What's incredible is that, according to cemetery records, THE HAND of somebody named Edward Werner is buried in the same plot! Why? Who is Edward Werner? What were the circumstances of the hand loss? To add to the mystery, it seems the Werners (there's a Frederick C., also) and several members of the Byrne family all lived at the same address in Philadelphia. Intriguing, no?
WIDER (Since Blogspot won't let me use the bold key anymore, I'll just put it in caps.) The NYTimes (sorry, it won't let me use italics, either) carried some interesting stories today. One was on the troubles of families who are drowning in medical debt. A young couple with a baby, for instance, may be forced declare bankruptcy and lose their home; they suffered injuries simultaneously. Get this: they pay $840 a month--that's more than $10,000 a year--for health insurance AND have a $4000 deductible! Insanity.
Second story: The O.'s had a fancy state dinner for the Indian head of state. Some of the guests--gussied up and showing all their teeth, of course--were pictured and they included Katie Couric. I don't know how many other "news" anchors were there--or regularly attend these affairs--but wouldn't be surprised if there were plenty.
My point? When members of the mainstream media rub reverent elbows with scum-of-the-earth politicians at dinner parties and other social events, how likely is it that they're going to demand answers to the really important questions? No, I don't mean what papers Sarah Palin reads, that's not important. I mean things like, "Do you have any idea of the number of children killed and maimed because of your decisions, Mr. President?" Or, "Senator, what percentage of your income is from the health care industry?"
May they choke on the foie gras.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Continued preparing for my little dinner party. Finished cleaning the bathrooms and went to B.J.'s and Acme to start picking up suppplies. I decided to have pork roast, white (baked) and sweet potatoes, corn, and a few other sides, with apple crisp--maybe--for dessert. Spoke to Ellen V., one of the guests and e-mail the others telling them to come about 5:30, figuring we'd eat an hour later. Barb said she'd bring cheese and crackers for appetizers; asked Ellen to bring a green vegetable.
I was disappointed to learn auditions for "Steel Magnolias" are on December 14 and 15when I'll be in California. Oh, well, I hadn't decided whether to read for it or not; now the decision has been made for me.
I cut out from the paper and hung on the refrig this quote: "It's never to late to be what you always wanted to be." Yes!
Wider: John Letman, in The Nation, reports on "Career Day" at his 5-year-old's kindergarten class and the soldiers in uniform who inform the children that they "only kill bad people." Oh, it's horrifying, all right--but they have to start bending minds when they're very young. Letman ends with
"Whether you find the Army National Guard visiting kindergarteners utterly disturbing or perfectly normal, each of us needs to ask ourselves, in an era when our government spends trillions of dollars supporting wars with no end in sight, at a time when we can't even fund our schools or public services at a minimum standard and only begrudgingly support health care reform, what kind of society and future are we building for our children?"
Amen.
NOTE: Blogger has suddenly and arbitrarily changed the "new post" and "edit" function in annoying ways. I can't seem to use the "bold" key, for one thing, and there are others. Hope it switches back soon.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Instead of going home when I got up at A.'s yesterday, I followed her and Mike to Freehold for a Day-After-Thanksgiving race. Freehold, where I've been only once or twice before, is a beautiful town in Monmouth County. The sun came out and the sky was so blue and the air so crisp--a perfect fall day. Somebody asked if I was in line to register--ha! (But if I were a bit younger--all right, a lot younger--I would have started training.)
I guess there were several hundred runners and walkers. A. decided on the latter, as her leg was bothering her--and I found out later she came in second. Mike did very well in his group, too. He won first place in his age category in the run on Thanksgiving morning, too--I took a picture of him with his plaque.
I stayed long enough to see the start, then drove home. Turned the self-cleaning device for the oven on, washed the bathroom rugs, made a big salad, and generally kept busy. I'm having six for dinner on Tuesday--acting company friends--and want to get the house in shape. It's the first time I'll be entertaining since Pat died.
It continues to be a very pleasant Thanksgiving weekend.

Friday, November 27, 2009

This was about the best Thanksgiving in years! Arrived at A.'s at 3:30 (I had talked at length to the daughter of my recently deceased cousin, Bob, so ran a little late) with three pies, whipped cream, mums for A., and my overnight things in tow. A. had everything looking beautiful; I don't know how she did it all, considering her busy life otherwise, but the tables were set, food prep done, hard surfaces sparkling, and the 22-pound turkey browning in the oven.
Brent and John were already there and Joel and Noel, Rob and Lisa, and their combined six children came shortly. The adults sat and talked with drinks and appetizers while the kiddies--mostly, but not entirely--played in the "toy room," later to be my bedroom.
Dinner was just scrumptious. There was the bird, of course, and it was very moist and flavorful. Sides included three kinds of stuffing, two kinds of butternut squash, mashed 'taters, cauliflower, cranberry sauce, olives, banana bread, and so on, all laid out on A.'s big island, so everyone could help themselves. I admit I went back for seconds--the stuffing was particularly good--and when pie time arrived, I was hard put to indulge, but I managed. Had a wedge of pumpkin and small pieces of apple and pecan pie--very good, I modestly declare. In addition, there were turkey cookies my friend Susan sent for the children, fudge, and other sweets, as well. Good coffee topped it all off and even better, topping the top-off were phone calls from Mike, then Ellen (P. and N. had Skyped earlier in the day).
Well, it was such a good, warm, convivial time with wonderful family and friends. I know having a half dozen 7-and-under (including two 2-year-olds) energetic kiddies and a cockapoo running around might not be to every adult's liking, but I believe the hubbub was so festive and such fun to this company--they're the hope of the future, after all.
Cousin John provided a nod to the past with a box of pictures that had been Aunt Claire's. Here were Uncle Frank and her as newlyweds and Judy as a chubby toddler, an adolescent, a pretty girl with her fiancee--then, after the accident, valiently smiling from her wheelchair. There were other Byrne's, too--John's parents and mine and so many others--gone now and when a few more generations pass, they'll be forgotten, I'm afraid.
But enough of melancholy--it was a wonderful day and I'm so lucky, so very lucky, to have been part of it. Now A. and I will have oatmeal--I can't believe I can actually eat at this point!--then I'll drive home and enjoy the rest of the day.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Was Baker For A Day, what with crusts, fillings, and so on, but the pies--yes, I say it myself--look pretty darn good. Made the apple first, as it takes longest. I used a new recipe I found on the Internet, although I have another, similar one I like. Didn't get fancy with the top crust, just slit it.
The pumpkin I've made a million times before and it's easy. (I can't fathom why people would buy "pumpkin pie mix"--that is, with the cinnamon, ginger, and cloves already in it. It's no more trouble to add them fresh and the difference in taste is amazing. Okay, I can't understand buying cake mixes, either, culinary snob that I am....)
The only one I'm a tad concerned about is the pecan pie, which I made last. My third pie pan is smaller than 9 inch, so I borrowed one from Barb next door. Once it was put together, I saw the filling is a bit scant--probably, the smaller one would have been better, but hey--it's done and I hope will be okay.
Didn't finish the pies scene until almost 6:00 (I took time to run a few errands in the afternoon), then sat and watched the DVD of Steel Magnolias. Greatly enjoyed it, although it's a real tear-jerker; haven't yet decided if I'll audition for a part for when we put it on in April.
Note: This post was interruped by a welcome Slype call from P. and N., then it was time to pick up Susan for our morning walk. Am back now and will finish.
All I have left to do is pack (I'm staying over at A.'s), whip the cream, load up the pie wagon--my car--and zip off to Thanksgiving.
Am I thankful? Yes, every day of my life. First and foremost, for my family--immediate, birth, and extended--and for the oven where I can bake pies and the house in which it sits, and the community I fell into six years ago by the most fortuitous of circumstances, and for wine, and the Internet, and good friends and good health, and the theatre company which accepts me so warmly, and for those people in the world who cry out against war, for glorious sunshine, and for the surge of satisfaction I get when I clean the bathroom.
Believe me--everybody will believe me--that's not a comprehensive list.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"Riders" was a smash hit! Not only did I remember all my lines--and there were whole blocks of them--but I actually felt Maurya's pain. That frail, grieving Irish woman spoke to me from 1904, and I listened. The audience loved it--several said they had tears in their eyes as as I spoke my lament over the corpse of my dead son, Bartley.
I was a bit nervous, but not as much as I thought I'd be. What came first on the program for about a half hour were songs and skits organized by Desi and featuring Jim, Mary, Andrea, Bruce, Christine (who also played the keening woman in our play), and others. We in "Riders" complained about this among ourselves, thinking the ever-so-somber play should have been first so the audience was sent out on a light note. Actually, though, I think it worked out better that way it was.
A. came--so did a lot of my friends--and afterward, they crowded around with congratulations, hugs, and kisses. I introduced A. to Kathy and Lucille, my "daughters" in the play, and to lots of other LETCO members. What meant so much to me was the obviously sincere praise of my theatre colleagues, some of whom are really talented. Geez, I felt like a Broadway chorine being complimented by Meryl Streep for a performance in The Doll House.
A somber real-life (or real-death) note was that I received word that my cousin, Bob F., in California, has died. He was ailing for a long time and spent years grieving for his Karen, who died about 15 years ago. May he rest in peace.
Okay, now that "Riders" has ridden off, I'll turn my attention to Thanksgiving and start preparations for the three pies. Will not try to triple the recipe for the crusts--for some scientific reasons I don't even want to understand, that doesn't work--but will do them one by one. That'll be a piece of cake (or slice of pie--ha!) and a labor of love, of course. I'll sing while I relive in my mind the triumph of my first actual appearance in a real, live, serious play.
What a terrific, great, never-to-be-forgotten day!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Showtime tonight! Guess I'm ready as I'll ever be. We had a kind of, sort of, somewhat "rehearsal" yesterday. Only Kathy, Franklin, and I were there, but we ran through it, mostly for my benefit, I guess. It was supposed to be at 4:00, though the library closes at 5:00 on Mondays, but K. was late and we barely had time. We set up, though; I contributed my kitchen stool (will bring the other today), an oil lamp and a few other items. We also have a cot to put poor Bartley's corpse on. Have more things to add, which I'll bring this afternoon.
Earlier, I shopped for all my pie ingredients. I'll make pumpkin, apple, and pecan to bring to A.'s on Thanksgiving. I'm going to try a new pie crust recipe I found on the Internet, which uses both Crisco and butter. Will make them all tomorrow.
I can hardly imagine life after this play is over!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Enjoyed the little birthday party last night. A. made lasagna, which was delicious, and we had the stuff I brought, which everybody liked. In the morning, I decided to whip my homemade applesauce with the sweet potatoes, along with orange juice, brown sugar, and cinnamon. I did, and it was very good.
Four little boys were running around but, thanks to A.'s large living/dining/rec room, there was plenty of room. I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving there; she'll have a total of 15 people and I'll probably stay over that night.
I didn't do a lot yesterday other than getting my contribution to the dinner assembled. Continued reading Under The Dome and did some wash. It's amazing, incidentally, how seldom I have to wash now. I used to do a load everyday, but--with just me now--it's more like twice a week.
I was taken aback when I looked in the mirror yesterday to see I have a shiner around my left eye and extending down. It must be a result of walking into the door at Mary Ellen's the other day, but a delayed reaction, I guess. It looks pretty gross this morning--all purple and black; hope it fades by showtime.
Rehearsal this afternoon at the library, then we go on tomorrow at 7:00--yoicks!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

As noted below, I spent a lot of time cooking yesterday. Before I go to A.'s today, I just have to assemble the salad, bake the sweet potatoes, and ice the cake. Speaking of same, I was disappointed that both layers came out so flat. I'm wondering if my baking powder has anything to do with this. I have two cans, both almost full, that say "Best if used by 12/08." Now, I don't put much credence in expiration dates and 12/08 wasn't even a year ago, but maybe...
Oh, well, I solved the problem by baking another single layer. I'll make half again the icing recipe, put the pieces together for a three-layer cake, and it'll be a higher cake. Clever, ain't I?
After my culinary chores, I sat for an hour or so and continued reading Under The Dome, Stephen King's new one. The damn thing is so big--1074 pages--it's hard to carry around, but I like it. King's characters are utterly predictable--as soon as they're introduced, you know whether they'll be heroes, start a romance with another character, or suffer a horrifying death. Those in Dome are no exception. Already we have Dale Barbara ("Barbie")--a male retired military officer who, due to his anti-war angst, now works as a short-order cook--and Ms. Shumway, a fortyish real estate agent who clearly (King gives you clues up front) has a tragic past. You know they're going to end up in bed together before too many pages are turned. Then there are members of the Rennie family; Dad is a corrupt town official, Junior is a psychopathic murderer, and the fun and games they foster will surely continue until King consigns them to their timely, ingeniously horrifying demises.
Lots of other stock characters show up and I recognize most of them. It's nice for King fans not to have to bother with figuring out who's a goodie and who's a badie--he does it for you.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Well, it's official: I've been inducted into the Dirty Stay-Out Club. Didn't get home last night until AFTER MIDNIGHT--which explains why I'm just getting around to this post at 12:30 p.m. I actually did get up in time to pick up Susan for our walk at 7:00--virtuous maiden that I am.
Had a terrific time last night at Mary Ellen's script-reading party. Those who took part were Jim and Mary H., Desi, Ellen V., Franklin, and me. We did "Greater Tuna," a hilarious satire of Texan foibles and we each took different parts as Mary Ellen dictated. I was Petey, then Didi, then Arles, then some others; we all mixed characters and genders.
Having concentrated on improving my Irish accent, I did very poorly as a southerner; in fact, neither Desi nor I even attempted the accent. The others did, though, and you would swear you had been plopped into the middle of the Panhandle, they were so good.
Mary and the three guys left about 10:00, but Mary Ellen urged Ellen and me to stay and have another glass of wine, and we didn't need much persuading. We sat and talked and talked, then ME (as she signs herself) gave us a tour of her big house on the bay in Barnegat Light. Boy, what a place; her bedroom huge--a kind of half-octagon with a panoramic view of the harbor. Hey, it was way cool, as the kids say (or did they say that that 20 years ago?) and just a terrific evening.
Backing up to when I first got there, however, I walked into one of the sliding doors, and it was the other one that was open. I led with my nose and gave myself a pretty good jolt; I thought it was broken, but it seemed okay after ME gave me ice to put on it. Today, it's still sore when I touch it and may have a bruise, but is pretty much okay.
Earlier, I went to the jeweler to have her get my engagement ring off. Even with the weight loss, I couldn't do it, as my knuckles have enlarged, I guess, over time. I didn't think it was appropriate for a poor Irish woman in 1904 to have a diamond ring and besides, I've been wanting to clean it thoroughly for a long time.
Have spent today cooking. I added sauted sweet peppers, onions, and mushrooms to corn, made applesauce, and pared and cut up sweet potatoes, which I'll cook tomorrow. Will assemble the salad tomorrow, too, and I have a cake baking in the oven. Along with my crystal pickles and a loaf of Italian bread, that's what I'll take to A.'s tomorrow for her birthday.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Had a terrifically enjoyable time with Frank and Marybeth in Delaware. At my suggestion, we met at Ruby Tuesday's in the gigantic Christiana Mall. Being geographically challenged, I thought it was about halfway from my place and Balitmore, but it was 104 miles for me and 63 for them. No matter, I had no problem getting there, in fact, was an hour early. I was delighted to find that Susan came, too, and brought along little Kelan, 13 months, and Gabrielle, 3 weeks.
What beautiful children! Kelan is such a sweet-natured little boy and so funny as he concentrated on sampling his grandmother's mashed potatoes and chewing on any items within reach. Gabrielle didn't say much, but clearly made her needs known.
Had a leisurely meal and, of course, never ran out of conversation. I tried out my Irish accent on Marybeth and she declared I sounded as if I had grown up with her in the ould country. Frank asked if we could stop at their place in Alameda on the way back from Tahoe next month; hope so and I'll discuss that with Ellen. We caught up on the comings and goings of our children and other family members, and just had a fine time.
Didn't get home until almost 6:00--I think I took the long way back--but except for a few sprinkles, the rain held off, so that was all right. Skipped a regular dinner (the hamburger I had for lunch was dripping with grease and calories--oh, divine!) and just had broccoli.
Wonderful day, wonderful family, and lucky me to be part of it.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Rehearsal last night. It seemed a shambles to me, but I'm heartened by the fact that I've read major productions often run very rough until just before opening. Hope that holds true for us, as our opening is also our closing--it's a one-time deal.
Jim and Franklin, who will carry Dave in as a corpse (well, it's just too long and involved to explain), were there. LETCO's board meeting followed, so Desi, Tara, and the other big guns sat in for part of it. They were complimentary, but I'm not sure if that was to shore up our confidence, or what.
Earlier, I thought my TracPhone had died (it didn't, it was the outlet, but I'll skip that boring tale) and I went to Wal-Mart to buy another. Incredibly, it was only $14.88 and I could transfer my old minutes (same number, of course). It also comes with "double minutes" when I have to buy them. I can't understand why people pay such unbelievably high monthly charges for cell phones. All I want is for the damn thing to send and receive calls. It does and perfectly well. I'm satisfied and I pay mere peanuts every once in a while to add minutes. End of story.
Spoke to Joel and A.; we'll celebrate A.'s birthday on Sunday at her place, as it's easier for the kids to get there. She's making lasagna and I said I'd bring everything else, including the cake, of course.
I'm meeting California brother and SIL Frank and Marybeth today for lunch; they're in Baltimore to meet their new granddaughter. We'll meet at the Christiana Mall in Delaware, 104 miles away for me, so I want to get an early start.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Met for Scrabble yesterday at Pat G.'s and we had a great time. I don't care for the game, but as I've mentioned before, I do enjoy socializing with my friends. And--an unusual event--I actually won one. I was trailing when I got 45 points for the word "fez" that I was able to place over a triple word score.
Good grief! Things are pretty bad when I have to resort to recording my score in a lousy board game! Goes to show to depth to which I sometimes fall. And speaking of depths--cultural depths this time--see below.
Wider: I haven't commented recently on Sarah Palin--in fact, I try not to think about her--but what I saw this morning on tape has opened the floodgates. It seems she complained to Barbara Walters about the Newsweek cover showing her in running shorts, a picture that had been taken for a runners' mag. The oh-so-intellectual Sarah said she was angry because she wants to be depicted as more "substance-oriented."
Now what substance is that, Sarah? Advocacy of the brand of religion that believes infidels should be bombed? The pandering to sub-normals who think all the world's ills can be attributed to non-Caucasians? The over-weening ambition that led her to quit her day job and "write a book?"
Oh, yes, the book. I wonder if members of the reading public--oops, that's excerpting public--realize that most titles are dreamed up by editors and not by the "writer." The trend in these dying last years of literacy has been to grab attention by coming up with titles that try to portray the subject before the book is even opened. Going Rogue is, of course, that kind of title. It instantly suggests a maverick who refuses to kowtow to the entrenched powers and, in her brave and lonely way, fights for truth, justice, and the American---
Pardon me while I wretch. All Palin's performances are, of course, choreographed by a phalanx of professionals: writers, directors, speech coaches, makeup artists, and clothing advisers, all overseen by political handlers who work day and night to present a candidate (I won't even put quote marks around that) who appeals to the brain dead. I thought it so-o-o appropriate that a tape of Palin being "interviewed" (yeah, I will set that off) by Barbara Walters was followed immediately by a uniquely disgusting commercial for dog food. It starts by having an actor--as dog--say that he enjoys "optimal stool quality." Somehow, that seemed to fit right in.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Rehearsal last night at Kathy's. Tara, who is on LETCO's board, came and gave us good critical insights into our performances. (Good grief, we go on a week from today!)
Rest of the day was mundane with errand-running and so on. I took the Deathtrap stuff out of the display window and replaced it with "Riders" info. Had stopped at a number of stores to see if I could get some old-fashioned fishing net for decoration, but had no luck. I'll go to the party store in Manahawkin today. I did put in a birdhouse I gave Pat a few years ago. It's in the shape of a fishing shack and although the people living in the Aran Islands in 1904 lived in thatched cottages, it conveys the nautical theme, I think.
Scrabble group today at Pat G.'s.
Wider: The more things change...department. From Harper's and cited in "A Tiny Revolution," a long and intriguing article on the right wind tradition blaming internal enemies for wars that go wrong, which includes:
"[T]he stab in the back has become the sustaining myth of modern American nationalism. Since the end of World War II it has been the device by which the American right wing has both revitalized itself and repeatedly avoided responsibility for its own worst blunders. Indeed, the right has distilled its tale of betrayal into a formula: Advocate some momentarily popular but reckless policy. Deny culpability when that policy is exposed as disastrous. Blame the disaster on internal enemies who hate America. Repeat, always making sure to increase the number of internal enemies..."
Think this kind of thing is gearing up for our current wars? Does a bear sleep in the woods?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Got to the the final performance (matinee) of Deathtrap an hour ahead and helped out with various things. It was again well attended. I think there's a definite characteristic or "flavor" to different audiences. The Saturday night one tended to be more of the sedate, "dinner and the theatre" crowd--lots of Sunrise Bay neighbors there--and to a certain extent, so did the Friday night one. Yesterday's matinee audience had more younger members and was maybe a bit more likely to complain if things went wrong. Not that anything substantial did, aside from a problem with seating, which will be hashed over at the board meeting on Wednesday. Stayed long enough to be in the cast and crew picture after, but wasn't able to help with the "strike the set" function, as I was due to go with Susan and Walter to the "Dine Around" dinner at 6:15. Did that--it was at SeaOaks--and it was fun, but boy, these constant late nights are getting to me. Tonight, we rehearse at Kathy's on LBI, but at least, it's from 6 to 8, so I should be home before 9:00.
Had calls from sister Betty and brother Jim, as well as a message from darling daughter, Ellen. Being a dirty stay-out, I wasn't able to get her back, but left her one and we exchanged e-mails. Less than a month to California--yay!
Wider: Here's a little tidbit from The Times that doesn't need comment: Drug Makers Raise Prices in Face of Health Care Reform By DUFF WILSON
Critics say the industry is trying to establish a higher price base before Congress passes legislation that tries to curb drug spending in coming years...
Oh, hell, I'll comment anyway: AAGH!!
Wider Still: Here we go again: I just couldn't--could not!--resist adding this other smidgen of information from The Times. It seems that
General Motors has reported that it lost 1.2 billion in its third quarter, which it cites as "making progress...."
What...what...what?! Picture me open-mouthed. They've made progress by losing 1.2 billion dollars? What would great success mean, losing 5 billion? But no matter, we'll just infuse them with a few trillion taxpayer dollars so they can lose a little more.
Hey, Eric,* just add this to your owner's manual on the English language, which is a major part of 1984: Not only is war peace, but failure is success.
* Eric Blair, of course.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The show last night attracted a sold-out crowd. We actually had to turn people away, suggesting that they return for the matinee today. Had a great time afterward at the cast party, which was held at Mary and Jim H.'s; Jim played the lead in Deathtrap. They have a big, beautiful house in the woods not far from here and the party was such fun. I didn't get home--get this--until 3 am and it's now quarter of six so, no, I didn't get much sleep. In fact, I'm a tad hung over, but it was worth it.
Matinee today, then it's over until our "Riders To The Sea"in--gulp!--less than two weeks.
Got a nice phone call from California brother, Frank, who will be in Baltimore next week and we made a date to "meet in the middle" on Thursday. He and Marybeth are "coming on" (used to be a common expression to denote travel) to see their new granddaughter.
Wider: Now all you cynics about our elected representatives, quit yer bitchin'. These fine, upstanding men and women have nothing but our welfare at heart, especially when it comes to providing us with quality medical care. From today's NYTimes:
QUOTATION OF THE DAY
"We were approached by the lobbyist, who asked if we would be willing to enter a statement in the Congressional Record. I asked him for a draft. I tweaked a couple of words. There’s not much reason to reinvent the wheel on a Congressional Record entry."STANLEY V. WHITE, chief of staff for Representative Robert A. Brady of Pennsylvania, one of dozens of lawmakers who used speeches ghostwritten by a biotechnology company during the health-care debate in the House."
And don't think for a minute our UN-elected officials don't care about our sensitives, too. According to Truthout, to protect us,
"...Secretary Gates has blocked the release of photographs depicting US soldiers abusing detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, invoking new powers just granted to him by Congress that allows him to circumvent the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and keep the images under wraps on national security grounds."
Whew! I hope we all appreciate our leaders' vigilance.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Acted as greeter for the first regular showing of Deathtrap last night. Considering the continuing high winds and heavy rain, it was very well attended. It was fun greeting people, giving them programs, and helping them find seats. The majority had bought tickets in advance. I stayed for the whole show, so didn't get home until after ten, and to bed very late. (Anytime after 9:00 is "very late" for me.) I'll go again tonight and to tomorrow's matinee, but will probably leave after the start. It's a great show, but I've already seen the whole thing twice.
Earlier, I went to Kohl's and Target. Tried on a lot of stuff, but bought only a pair of casual slacks. I was actually almost blown over in the parking lots--what weather we're having. Now, after what seems like weeks of this, I'm anxious to see the sun again, if it's still up there.
The sty that developed on my left eye seems to be a bit better. Looked up treatment on the good ol' Internet and followed the advice to apply warm compresses. Also bought some ointment for pain and itching.
Later: Well, the news on the weight front continues depressing. Went to WW and I'm up yet again--by .4 or about 6 ounces. Doesn't sound too bad until you add it to what went before. I now weigh 142.6, which is a bit more than 17 pounds up from my low of 125. I've lost 57 pounds, not bad at all until you realize it used to be 74 pounds off. Not sure yet what my strategy will be to deal with this, but I'll have to think of one soon.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Went to the dress rehearsal for Deathtrap last night. What a great show! Just for openers, the set is spectacular. It's on ground level, with about six rows of audience seats directly in front. However, there's also a raised tier of seats, so viewing is much more convenient than it had been. And the new seats are padded--what a luxury.
Only LETCO members, and only a few of them, were invited to be spectators. It was a dreadfully rainy, windy night, which probably accounted for the fact that there were only five and I knew four of them. Margie and Franklin were in the acting workshop with me; Marge was in Plaza Suite last year and Franklin is on the board.
The play itself is full of murder, mayhem, plot twists, intrigue, and all kinds of other hi-jinks. Jim H. played the main character and a new young guy, Andrew Somebody, the second lead. Andrea B., with whom I acted in the murder mystery shows, is the wife, and Tara C., who directed the acting workshop, has a key role. My neighbor, Sid S., has a small, but meaty part, as the lawyer. All were superb and everything came off perfectly.
Didn't get home until after ten and had my wine and popcorn. Thought I might "sleep in" (where did that idiotic expression ever come from? You're really saying, 'sleep late," fer cryin' out loud--of course you're sleeping 'in' unless you're camping in a field or something!) today, but I got up and got my walk with Susan in, notwithstanding the practically monsoon-style rain and wind.
(Oh, what's that, Sister Gabrielle, a run-on sentence AND too many of the wordy asides I favor, AND the constant, annoying use of emphasis--italics, dashes, capitals--sprinkled throughout? Don't care, if it's in the language, I'll use it and look for more. It's how I write and who I am.)
Wider: A gem from Justin Raimondo at AntiWar.com:
"We can have an empire, or we can have our old republic back. We cannot have both."
But the whole--"The Winds Of Change Die Down"--should be read. In fact, Raimondo and AntiWar.com should be read everyday. Go here:
http://antiwar.com/

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Very good rehearsal last night--it's really coming together. I'm completely off-book, we were all very relaxed, and Director Kathy had some great ideas. I've decided to skip using the long white wig I bought, It looks very wiggy in the front and also, I have to throw my shawl over my head at one point and I'm afraid the wig will pull it off. Bought talcum powder and tried that before I washed my hair; it works fine and washes right out. (Of course, I could just let my natural hair color come out, but hell, no.)
Tonight is dress rehearsal for Deathtrap and I want to go to that. Will be acting as greeter for the regular performances this weekend.
Wider: Maybe this, in microcosm, illustrates what's wrong with the economy: I look forward to sipping a glass of Taylor Country Red every night as I eat my popcorn and relax. I've bought my wine for years at West Tuckerton Liquor, almost always with a fifteen percent off coupon from the local paper. That brought the cost to $9.09 a gallon. (Yes, this is expensive stuff.)
Anyhoo, I stopped to replenish my supply a few weeks ago, and found that the price has gone up: Even with the coupon, I now had to pay an even $10.00. Seems to me that's a pretty drastic jump. To add i. to i., I discovered that the coupons now are for only ten percent off. Yesterday, I had to fork over $10.58 for my wine.
Now, the single glass at night is just about all the alcohol I drink, and it ain't gonna break me to pay the extra cost. But I'm afraid it's been holding true for all kinds of goods and services: higher prices for the same thing--or sometimes, inferior things, I guess.
What really stuck in my craw was the attitude of the clerk when I complained about the drop in discount value. She said I should be "grateful" to have a coupon at all!
That infuriated me. It seems indicative of the "screw you" attitude of American commerce in general. You should be grateful they allow you to buy their lousy stuff, glad to pay hugely inflated prices, and how dare you complain!
Okay, maybe I'm just in a sour mood because of the everlasting rain. Nevertheless, it's annoying. I thought prices were supposed to go down in a recession. Joke's on me, I guess.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I didn't wake up until 6:50 this morning (Oh, that's shocking--call out the oversleep police!) and barely had time to wash and dress before running out the door to Susan's. We walked in steady rain, but that's okay as it wasn't windy.
I spent yesterday trying on clothes. I want to get some semi-dressy tops to wear for my greeter duties at Deathtrap this weekend. Tried on everything Macy's had to offer and rejected all, then went to Boscov's and got a black-and- white blouse, very similar to the one I already have, dammit. Could not resist a red pants and jacket combo to take to California. However, I'm annoyed that I'll have to take the pants to be shortened, as it was designed (they all are) for a seven-foot tall woman. Went to the library after dinner and asked to rehearse--yes, all by myself--in the room in which we'll perform. Went through the whole thing; I want to get comfortable with the venue.
Wider: Is it any wonder there seems to be a profound ennui almost universally felt in this country? Here are just the beginnings of three articles from The NYTimes today:
Blackwater Said to Pursue Bribes to Iraq After 17 Died By MARK MAZZETTI and JAMES RISENFormer executives said it was unclear if payoffs of about $1 million were made to Iraqi officials, but the goal was to hush criticism and buy support after 17 civilians were killed...
President, at Service, Hails Fort Hood’s Fallen By PETER BAKER and CLIFFORD KRAUSSPresident Obama took on the role of national eulogist on Tuesday for the first time since assuming office...
2 Bear Stearns Fund Leaders Are Acquitted By ZACHERY KOUWE and DAN SLATERA jury found that two managers did not lie by presenting an upbeat picture while their funds plummeted in value...
So we learn of the corruption of a government-employed company, then are solemnly informed that a mass murderer is the "national eulogist" after a mass murder. We read further and discover that men who enriched themselves by participating in the robbery of widows and orphans can't be faulted. The following comment from a juror is indicative, I believe, of the moral depths to which we've fallen:
"'The entire market crashed. You can’t blame that on two people.' ARAM HONG, a member of a jury that found two former Bear Stearns hedge fund managers not guilty in a major criminal case stemming from the financial crisis."
In other words, even though the financiers on trial may have contributed to the looting of the national fortune, they weren't the only ones, so they must be let off. It could be called "collective innocence," I guess. Those who are rich and powerful never, under any circumstances, are made to answer for their crimes. If you lie, steal, bribe, and kill on a large enough scale, you're home free.
What a crock.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

On my way to Manahawkin, stopped at Mary Ann Van O.'s to tell her all about my wonderful Met adventure on Saturday. I credit her with turning me on to this pleasure, as she runs the monthly "Sunday At The Opera" show at the clubhouse.
Went to the SOCH thrift store to look for costume pieces for Riders, but didn't find the fringed shawl and plain half-apron that I need. Stopped at Kohl's afterward to try on stuff for my greeter duties for Deathtrap, but didn't like anything there. Will look at my existing wardrobe.
After lunch, I got ambitious and attacked the Montauk daisies bushes on either side of the front walk. They're so attractive in late summer and early fall, but after their peak, tend to get woody and fall over (sounds that a lush). I cut them to the ground and dragged the branches to the trash can.
Got a morning Skype call from P. and N. Skype has improved remarkably, I'm happy to say, and my sound no longer suddenly cuts off as it did before. A. came in late afternoon to help me get the hoses inside and that was my day.
Wider: Re my post below about the Fort Hood killings:
It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets. --Voltaire
V. also wrote "Prussia is an army disguised as a state." Hmm...does that ring a bell with anybody?

Monday, November 09, 2009

Enjoyable days continue. We rehearsed yesterday morning at the nearby home of Lucille (my "daughter") in order to accommodate the fact that she and her husband don't use babysitters for their lively--to put it mildly--2 1/2- year-old. I'm now off-book and the play is coming together nicely.
After a bite for lunch, went to B.J.'s for cottage cheese and squash, then ran a few other errands. Dressed for our dinner date and was at the D.'s door about 3:30 to drive to Ellen V.'s in Forked River.
Ellen's small, but nicely laid out home is right on the water and has a dock, although she no longer has a boat. Wow, oh wow, it's great. We went out on her deck and what a pleasure it was to look over the wide canal, with ducks and a majestic white swan gliding through the still water. She served a delicious beef stew made in a big Dutch oven, along with homemade biscuits and store-bought apple turnovers. With it, we had the good Weight Watchers pumpkin fluff Barb brought. Ellen made coffee and it occurred to us--yes, we discussed it--that she's one of the few people we know who still uses a non-electric drip coffee maker that brews on the stove.
Well, it was a delightful evening. Ellen has "retired" from The Fourth Wall Acting Company (she directed "Sorry, Wrong Number" which we attended a few weeks ago), but remains in our own acting group. Of course, our talk covered a range of subjects, from the trials and triumphs of performing, to the fortunes of family and friends, to Ellen's annual participation in roughing-it trips down the river in the Grand Canyon. (Considering she's 75 years old and not slim, it's remarkable she's able to do this.)
Altogether, another very nice day. Got home about 9:00, Skyped my Ellen (as opposed to the Ellen who hosted the dinner party) and had a nice talk, then went happily to bed.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

What a glorious day! We left at 9 am, drove to Jackson, and boarded the chartered bus to Manhattan about noon. It took about 90 minutes to get to New York, so we had plenty of time to look around Lincoln Center, find our seats, and settle in.
It was a perfect fall day: a bit nippy, but brilliantly sunny with blue skies and just a gentle breeze. I had forgotten--it's been so long--how exciting and exhilarating New York can be. The streets around Lincoln Center were jammed with people of all ages and types, walking and strolling, talking and gesticulating, laughing and exuberant. There may have been some burglars, rapists, and neocons among them, but yesterday they all seemed wonderfully benign and determined to do good in the world.
The Met itself is so beautiful. The entrance is all red and gold with soaring ceilings, huge windows, a gigantic, sweeping, open staircase , and spectacular light fixtures. The motif is followed pretty much throughout and the theatre itself is breathtaking. We were seated way, way up on the top tier balcony in the heavens (apt expression!). These are the "cheap" seats--$44.50--but, I understand, the sound is better there, anyway.
Interestingly, there's a "standing room" area at the very top; spaces are reserved here, too, and they cost only $17.
The opera, Turandot, itself? Even I, the musical illiterate, loved the sound that arose from the stage. The singing and the orchestra by themselves, and the combination of both, transported the listener into a realm of beauty . And the sets! They were breath-taking and changed for each of the three acts, one a courtyard outside the Imperial Palace in Peking, the next inside the palace, the next the imperial gardens. The stage is huge and allows for spectacular effects, as well as the accommodation of what seemed to be several hundred members of the company. The costumes rivaled the sets in opulence, with the heroines in gowns and headpieces of brilliant blue, red, and green, and the comic relief, Ping, Pang, and Pong in dazzling colors, too.
At the close, there were several standing ovations, then we slowly filed out of the theatre, which took about a half hour, there were so many people there. We boarded the bus again and were driven to "Michael Anthony's," a restaurant right on--or over--the river in Jersey City. The views were spectacular and so were the appetizers, the wine, the meal, and the conversation. We met a couple--he originally from Ireland, she was England--who live in Great Oaks and I practiced my Irish accent on them. They thought it was good (at least, they said that), which heartened me and I was pleased when they said they intend to come to the play.
We ate, drank, talked, and laughed, and by the time we got back on the bus, it was past 9:00. Arrived back at the point of origin, St. Aloysius Church in Jackson by about ten, then got home at exactly 11:00. I promptly poured myself a second glass of wine and put "Nessun dorma!," meaning "Nobody Sleeps!" (the exclamation point is part of the title) into the search engine and enjoyed hearing it sung by Pavarotti and others. This is a famous aria in Turandot--which I had never heard of until yesterday, of course--and it's beautiful and moving.
What a day! What a thrill! What a realization that there are so many things in the world I know not and that I want to know. Opera? I barely knew what it was until a year or so ago and now I'm enthralled by it. I hope to go back to the Met--maybe in the standing section--before too long and to enlarge my embryonic knowledge of this basic musical theatre.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Incredible news: I'm going to the Met today! Was invited by Frank-Next-Door and we're leaving at 9 am. He had been planning to go with Desi S., our artistic director at the theatre company, but Desi became ill. Frank's wife, Barbara, had other plans, so Frank asked me. I had been booked to go to a luncheon today with Susan and Barb H. (to benefit the Tuckerton Library, where Susan is on the board), but immediately accepted Frank's offer. Rushed across the street to Susan's to explain and apologize, and she was perfectly fine with it; said she would have done the same.
We drive from here to Jackson and board a bus at a church there. That takes us to NYC, where we see the opera, Turandot (composer Puccini's last), and after, to dinner in Jersey City. Boy, do I feel like a club-hopping sophisticate!
Went down to Ventnor yesterday and spent time at the Historical Society talking to volunteer and fellow St. Jamesian, Madeline D. Stopped at the school--now Holy Family--to ask after the whereabouts of the pictures I archived and framed for them several years ago. The secretary wasn't quite sure, but will call me. (Yeah, sure, uh-huh, and that'll happen when Obama earns the now-forever-devalued Nobel prize.)
Called sweet Jen just to say hello. Things okay there, although T. had a little stomach upset. Hope I can get to see her and the boys before too long.
Later, just because I was still in a get-out-of the house mood, went to Manahawkin and looked over stuff at Kohl's and Target. Didn't buy anything, I'm happy to say. Went to the Barnegat Library and picked up a few books. Cooked myself up a satisfying fall dinner of salmon, broccoli, and butternut squash, then--Frank called and we're going to the Met!
P.S. Called Mary Ann Van O., who runs "Sunday At The Opera" at our clubhouse, to tell her the good news. Coincidentally, she's going to a theatre up north today in order to view on closed-circuit T.V. the same performace I'm seeing in the flesh. I credit Mary Ann with introducing me to opera and allowing me to realize I actually like it.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Got my prescription in Manahawkin in the morning; also a few other items and two 2010 calendars. I use the large, flat kind that lies on my desk and it gets dog-eared after a while, so I like to change to a fresh one mid-year. Started a pot of lentil soup in the crock pot.
Went to the cemetery after lunch, then to Shop-Rite, then stocked up on veggies at Santori's (avocados, limes, lettuce, acorn and spaghetti squash, broccoli, and cauliflower). These stores are conveniently on Jimmie Leeds Road in Galloway, between the cemetery and home. Once home, I cooked up a lot of my buys, so I now have a refrigerator full of good stuff to eat.
Aside from that, did a wash and went to the library. Sister-in-law Therese called to get the address for a nephew, a new daddy. That prompted me to get a card, too, to welcome the new addition to our huge extended family. Sent it off.
Somewhat slow, but not a bad day.
Wider: Random violence seems a special kind of horror. Who among us hasn't thought of, say, walking into a convenience store for a cup of coffee and being gunned down by an insane person? Or of sending our child off to school and being notified of his murder at the hands of a fellow student? Being killed by a stranger, and casually, "accidentally," just because we happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, can't be guarded against. So Fort Hood...
The president called the killing of 12--according to The NYTimes, 10 soldiers and 2 civilians--"a horrific outburst of violence" and I guess no one could argue about that. And yet...and yet...
Why is the violence of the military never characterized as "horrific"?" If a soldier kills 12 people in battle, he is honored, decorated, and called a hero. The very purpose of his existence is to kill other humans and, so often, the killing takes place in arbitrary wars of aggression. Does it make a difference to their survivors whether their loved ones were rendered dead at the hands of a fellow soldier on an army base in Texas or in battle in some faraway land?
Yes, of course, it does, but I'm not sure why. The dead are just as dead. It may be harder, in this circumstance, to say Johnny "died for his country," although I'm sure it will be done. I never did understand what those words mean, anymore than "he fought for our freedom" or "freedom isn't free" or any of the other old, worn, diabolical slogans and cliches to which we seem to cling. They've been used for decades to entice people into supporting violence and death and to erase thought.
Those who were killed yesterday didn't "deserve to die" anymore than the civilians in the middle east do, but they died anyway. The killing spree was just a random act by a deranged man, like swatting a fly on the wall. After the shock and grief staged so expertly by the media and accepted so gratefully by the populace, the whole thing will fade away and become yesterday's news.
Meaningless murder--the epitaph of our times.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Went to my appointment in the morning with Dr. K., whom I like a lot. She takes the time to chat--yesterday we talked about chiggers (she's had them herself), politics (superficially, that is, but she's agreeably liberal), and the pleasures of picking wild blueberries, which you can find around here. I was pleased when she said my blood work results were "wonderful" compared to "ninety percent" (note that that's a direct quote) of her other patients my age. I credit my weight loss, combined with my level of physical activity for that. She did say my vitamin D level is slightly low, even though I'm out in the sun a lot. She advised me to take a supplement, which I picked up immediately. Aside from all that, the only real concern is my blood pressure, which was 138/90 yesterday and tends to run around that. I confessed my addiction to salt, she told me to get the 50 % less sodium kind, I did, and I hope that helps.
Met Frank at the library at 4:00 and we dressed the display window with info on Deathtrap. It looks okay, I guess, although I wish it had been possible to cover the rough background better.
Attended rehearsal at 6:00. It went all right, although Kathy, the director, wants me to work more on my Irish accent. I'm afraid I slip in and out of it; I find it very difficult. David, my "son" Bartley, was there for the first time.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Note to reader: I have no idea how it happened, but somehow, the bottom part of my post below came out in pale yellow in my regular entry. Don't know how to fix it, so just copied to this addition.
Wider: Great fun with my friends yesterday--and yet and yet...one of the members of our group has a son in the military. Yesterday she told us he was being deployed to Iraq for the second time. Mind you, this is her son's career--he's not a ghetto kid unable to find a job. He's been in for years and is married with two kids. Now what do I do here? Do I express my utter and complete opposition to the criminal action he's perpetuating? Do I say, "Oh, so he's a hired killer, huh?" Do I remind his anxious mother that, if he does his job properly, he'll participate in the slaughter of humans? No, I don't have that kind of courage--I don't even think it is courage--I simply said, "I'm sorry." I think this points up the almost hopeless task we face. It grieves me to know that so many people I like and admire--so many friends, so many relatives--blindly follow the warmongers' lead. If I express my opposition or even question the morality of our crimes, I'm greeted either with puzzlement or shocked indignation. So I remain silent. And I feel guilty about it.
Back To The Mundane: Anyhoo, it was generally a good day. My buddies stayed until 5:00. After they left, however, I somehow fell off the good food wagon and devoured pretzels, peanut butter, and several slices of the luscious homemade cake from the freezer. Boy, I haven't done this for an age and I paid for it. Woke up with acid reflux or whatever it is and I can tell you, that smarts.
Doctor appointment today, then I'll set up the Deathtrap display at the library. Hope Frank can help me this afternoon.
Our little Scrabble club met at my place yesterday and we had a very enjoyable time. Julie, Barb, and Pat oohed and aahed over the new game I just bought. It's the "diamond anniversary edition" and comes in a carrying case, has grooved spaces for the tiles so they don't move around, and best of all, is on a swivel base, allowing the players more comfort and freedom in seeing what's available on the board.
Even more enjoyable than the game itself was our talk--okay, gossip--about neighborhood doings. Some of it reminded me of the old saying, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" or whatever it is. None of us can stand a certain arrogant couple in our community and we passed a smug few minutes assuring each other that said couple should be boiled in oil or at least condemned to watch "American Idol" for the next century. (Okay, that last I just made up.)
Note: See additonal post for today above.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

'Twas a housework day. Considering I'm hosting (or is it "hostessing"?) our Scrabble group, I thought it would be a good idea to clean up a little. Early on, though, I went to the supermarket and to the library to check out the display window where I'll put the Deathtrap information. I'll wait until tomorrow when Frank can help me, as there's some glass shelving I want to readjust and it's pretty heavy.
Director Kathy called to say that Lucille, our fellow actor in Riders, had been exposed to the Swine Flu, so wanted to be sure she didn't come down with it before being with others. The upshot was that rehearsal was cancelled, which was fine with me, as it was at Kathy's on LBI. We'll still meet at the Gifford Road facility tomorrow; David, my "son," will be there for the first time.
Wider: Today is election day for our governer and various other thieves and swindlers. As we've done before, Susan and I will stop in to vote at the clubhouse during our morning walk. I wish they'd add a "none of the above" choice, or better yet, one for "turn them all out, the scoundrels," but no such luck. I sure as hell won't support the dems or the repubs. There's an "independent" named Daggett running. I have no idea--and no interest in learning--what he stands for, but I'm amused by his name. It puts me in mind of some hayseed saying, "dag nab it" in a comical way. That's as good a reason as any to vote for somebody, it seems to me, so that's what I'll do.

Monday, November 02, 2009

November started on a high note: went with A. and M. to the New Egypt street fair at A.'s invitation. It was a beautiful fall day--the rain held off, luckily--and we wandered around looking at the booths, sampling some goodies, and enjoying the crowd. Left about 4:30 and went back to A.'s. She and I took Lulu for a walk, then she made dinner--yum, it was good. We had tofu, which A. cubed, breaded, fried, then baked (she gave M. a pork chop), along with spinach and butternut squash. I left right after dinner, already full dark, of course, now that DST is over. Got home in time for a Skype call from darling daughter, Ellen, and admired her new hair cut.
Susan and Walter returned from Canada yesterday, so I have my walking partner back. Rehearsal tonight at Kathy's on LBI.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Went to the Toms River Halloween parade with the D.'s and R.'s last night. Lots of it was fun--I especially liked the families with little children dressed up and riding in homemade "cars" and carriages. There were plenty of zombies, fairy princesses, and rock stars, along with the occasional fairy-tale character. Interspersed were antique cars, high school marching bands, and a remarkable number of flat-bed trucks, elaborately decorated and staged with typical Halloween themes. The weather cooperated, with only a few sprinkles of rain, and it was comfortably warm.
Some of it was disturbing, though. My friend, Leslie R., a Mennonite and staunch pacifist, and I were dismayed at the strong militaristic flavor of the event. The parade opened with several camouflaged army trucks--some very large and menacing--followed by "honor guards" displaying the American flag. There were lots more interspersed in the parade, along with "patriotic" floats and groups, including one particularly unsettling one: An open truck, the kind that transports soldiers, that carried what looked like an equal number of adults and children, maybe thirty in all. They were all dressed in camouflage outfits and some carried guns (I hope they were fake). I don't remember the legend on the side of the truck, but it certainly emphasized the "heritage" of "supporting the troops."
Another float, repugnant to Leslie, who actually adheres to the teachings of the Prince of Peace, featured a huge cross superimposed on the stars and stripes. A sign on it read "One Nation Under God." It was frightening to see so many onlookers clapping and cheering feverishly every time floats like that one or the flag appeared. Many jumped to their feet or pumped their fists in the air and, of course, encouraged their children to do the same.
I wonder if they know exactly what they're cheering. Do they understand what their "support" actually means? Do they know how essential they are to the continued, and ever expanding, menace of American aggression? Do they realize that the bottom line is the two-year-old in Afghanistan whose legs are torn off by a drone bomber? How do they square this with their kindliness to their own children? How do they process it when they worship at their church or synagogue?
Oh, I forgot. The flag is proudly displayed there, too.