For Leta: 4

The obituary that Charlie and I put together for Leta is online at the Post‘s paid site. The anonymous copy editor who mangled the paragraph breaks, misnamed a G&S opera, munged the Donaldson link, and otherwise added no value, rankles.

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For Leta: 3

CASH: I made it on the bevel.
1. There is more surface for the nails to grip.
2. There is twice the gripping-surface to each seam.
3. The water will have to seep into it on a slant. Water moves easiest up and down or straight across.
4. In a house people are upright two thirds of the time. So the seams and joints are made up-and-down. Because the stress is up-and-down.
5. In a bed where people lie down all the time, the joints and seams are made sideways, because the stress is sideways.
6. Except.
7. A body is not square like a crosstie.
8. Animal magnetism.
9. The animal magnetism of a dead body makes the stress come slanting, so the seams and joints of a coffin are made on the bevel.
10. You can see by an old grave that the earth sinks down on the bevel.
11. While in a natural hole it sinks by the center, the stress being up-and-down.
12. So I made it on the bevel.
13. It makes a neater job.

—William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying
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For Leta: 2

Let us now praise famous men,
and our fathers in their generations.
The Lord appportioned to them great glory,
his majesty from the beginning.
There were those who ruled in their kingdoms,
and were men renowned for their power,
giving counsel by their understanding,
and proclaiming prophecies;
leaders of the people in their deliberations
and in understanding of learning for the people,
wise in their words of instruction;
those who composed musical tunes,
and set forth verses in writing;
rich men furnished with resources,
living peaceably in their habitations—
all these were honored in their generations,
and were the glory of their times.
There are some of them who have left a name,
so that men declare their praise.
And there are some who have no memorial,
who have perished as though they had not lived;
they have become as though they had not been born,
and so have their children after them.
But these were men of mercy,
whose righteous deeds have not been forgotten;
their prosperity will remain with their descendants,
and their inheritance to their children’s children.
Their descendants stand by the covenants;
their children also, for their sake.
Their posterity will continue for ever,
and their glory will not be blotted out.
Their bodies were buried in peace,
and their name lives to all generations.
Peoples will declare their wisdom,
and the congregation proclaims their praise.

Sirach 44:1-15
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For Leta

Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
As they are used to wear, and let the boys
Bring flowers in last month’s newspapers.
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

Take from the dresser of deal,
Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet
On which she embroidered fantails once
And spread it so as to cover her face.
If her horny feet protrude, they come
To show how cold she is, and dumb.
Let the lamp affix its beam.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

—Wallace Stevens, “The Emperor of Ice-Cream”
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Upcoming: 48

WATCH assignments are ready! I have a big stack of five TBDs, but I know that I will be seeing (or swapping for)

  • Durang, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike*
  • Finn, Sheinkin, Reiss, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
  • Kelly, The Univited
  • Wilson, Book of Days

*Nearly everyone is doing the show this season, so this was not unexpected.

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My year in books, 2016

Henry Beston and David Maraniss were my new faves of 2016.

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My year in cities, 2016

CATF, one trip for work, and VNPS. Overnight stays in 2016:

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My year in contributions, 2016

It’s too late for tax season, but I still encourage you to support the good work that these organizations are doing.

These are the groups and projects to which I gave coin (generally tax-deductible), property, and/or effort in 2016.

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My year in hikes and field trips, 2016

Most of my exploring was close to home this year.

And several trips to my home park, Huntley Meadows Park.

2015’s list. 2014’s list. 2013’s list. 2012’s list. 2011’s list. 2010’s list. 2009’s list. 2008’s list.

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New venues, 2016

One bucket list venue checked off this year:

  • Rams Head Tavern, Annapolis
  • Blues Alley
  • Eastman Studio Theatre, Gallaudet University

2015’s list.. 2014’s list. 2013’s list. 2012’s list. 2011’s list.

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The year in review, 2016

The last couple months have been eventful, albeit not blogworthy. Nevertheless, here’s the first sentence (more or less) of the first post of each month from this blog:

  • 2 January: Let the driving begin!
  • 7 February: Stephanie Strom visits a big soybean/corn agricultural complex (spanning two states) and finds a old school farm practice that improves soil quality, reduces sediment runoff, and improves yields: cover crops.
  • 5 March: Emily Graslie talks to Robb Telfer about his work to conserve Illinois’s only endemic flowering plant, Kankakee Mallow (Iliamna remota), to Langham Island in the Kankakee River.
  • 3 April: A generous notice from Susan Brall for DCMetroTheaterArts.
  • 1 May: Oh, dear Fox, yes: “Stop Saying ‘I Feel Like.’”
  • 5 June: One more report from the nest box monitoring team for the season.
  • 1 July: An oldie but a goodie, saved from linkrot: Thomas the NJ Transit train.
  • 6 August: Another visit to our Boston office this past week.
  • 2 September: We bounced back from the dismal 2015.
  • 2 October: “Why Some Wars Get More Attention Than Others,” by Amanda Taub.
  • 5 November: Guillermo Calderón’s Kiss is an ambitious, but unsuccessful attempt to bring the horrors of violence in today’s Syria into the American living room.
  • 1 December: Pat Padua reports that Artomatic is coming back to Crystal City for 2017.

The year in review:

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My 2016 in one beat

JIM. Woulda come to your aid there, only I’m dealing with a little, uh, issue.

RUSS. Oh yeah?

JIM. Piano I told ya about?

RUSS. Right?

JIM. Didya ever… (lowers voice) … ever need a truss? Have to wear one of those?

RUSS. Uhhhh… Don’t recall.

JIM. Oh, you’d recall it if you did.

RUSS. Guess not, then.

JIM. Then you are a fortunate man.

RUSS. I hear you.

JIM. Bend the knees or suffer the consequences.

RUSS. Yup.

—Bruce Norris, Clybourne Park, act 1
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Some links: 77

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Upcoming: 47

Pat Padua reports that Artomatic is coming back to Crystal City for 2017.

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Passings: 3

George Belcher watches the slow fading of New York diner culture.

After the Cafe [at 97th Street and Columbus] succumbed in 2005, I spent months looking for my next “third place.” Diner regulars can be particular. The ambience has to be friendly but not intrusive, the sound level low but not funereal, the smell a little greasy but not cloying, and the décor more utilitarian than fussy. I eventually settled in at the Metro [on 100th Street and Broadway].

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