Category Archives: Like Life

Not looking good for the Arcade

Ted Rall offers one explanation for what happened (is happening) to Dayton, Ohio.

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On deck: 17

once moreAugmented by a stack of books from Leta’s library. She was holding out on me with the Alison Bechdel and Jane Smiley. I haven’t read Memento Mori since I borrowed it from Jim Gleason’s dad when I was in high school.

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My year in cities, 2016

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

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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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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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On deck: 16

on deck: 16Fresh arrivals from Powell’s, and some interesting choices from the freebie shelf at work. I picked up the DeLillo at our new indie bookstore, Scrawl Books. Plus, I’m doing a book exchange at Vanessa’s in a couple of weeks: who knows what that will bring?

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Side project

free, for the time beingA little digging, and we have one temporarily freed fire hydrant.

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On deck: 15

on deck: 15Some gifts, some post-holiday purchases, Cheryl Strayed via book swap meet, Anne Enright via the freebie ARC shelf at work. Echenoz in French, with backup translation—maybe this year?

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Holiday break projects

@mkramer likes to post lists of tasks that she has completed, large and small, required and optional. In that spirit, here’s what I accomplished over my holiday break:

  • Scrubbed coffee stains from my breakfast cup set.
  • Registered as a prospective host for my university’s externship program.
  • Snacked on a tasty (store-brought) Christmas stollen.
  • Updated my medical emergency/end-of-life instructions.
  • Replaced the battery in one device. (Thought there would be more.)
  • Cleaned out file folders of 20-year-old travel brochures and directions to birding hot spots.
  • Made some birthday arrangements for Leta.
  • Received a judgment: “Not eating at home brings good fortune.”
  • Restocked the food and water in my Go Box.
  • Cleaned out the closet of linens/bathroom stuff.
  • Tightened the buttons on one of my comfy shirts.
  • Remounted a wobbly toilet roll holder.
  • Straightened up the basement after October’s mini-flood.
  • Set up my script for my next show; set up my 2016 notebooks.
  • Watched two movies, in cinemas, like a grownup.
  • Mislaid the power adapter for my music keyboard. Again.
  • Cleaned up the cabinet of PC gear; organized the hall hat rack and closet.
  • Vinegared the coffeemaker.
  • Played Scrabble with Leta.
  • Went for a walk in Huntley Meadows Park.

Since I usually finish a bout of to-do checkoffs with more to-dos than I started, it’s nice to look back on what got done.

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Dear employer/

charity I work for-contribute to/conference organizer,

enoughPlease don’t send me another tote bag. I’m good.



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60sWhy, yes, I was a child in the 1960s, why do you ask?

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My year in cities, 2015

Mucho travel this year, even a trip for my job. Overnight stays in 2015:

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New venues, 2015

Didn’t get around much this year, but I did visit one performance space that is no more.

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

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Quick trip

A couple of quick snaps from a short trip to Boston for training and meetings, with a visit to our Digital Services unit.

nice breakfast stopTasty breakfast at Sorella’s in Jamaica Plain.

startup boxThe building for NPR Digital Services, in the old warehouse district of South Boston (we’re on the fifth floor), on the singularly-named Wormwood Street. A tech-rich environment here: an old smokestack bristles with comms gear.

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Upcoming: 44

Ezekiel J. Emanuel has written the truly provocative “Why I Hope to Die at 75.” His thesis, to chop the article down to an elevator speech, is that he’s rather certain that when he reaches that age he will no longer be a creative, contributing member of society, but only a consumer of health care services.

… over the past 50 years, health care hasn’t slowed the aging process so much as it has slowed the dying process.

And for Emanuel, what seems ethical for him to do at that point is to refuse major treatments and let nature take its short, brutal course.

I think this manic desperation to endlessly extend life is misguided and potentially destructive. For many reasons, 75 is a pretty good age to aim to stop.

I find a certain affinity with Emanuel. Like him, I fear the loss of faculties; for me, to be bed-ridden and watching endless daytime TV would be miserable. I think we differ on the milestone. Eighty sounds like a nice round number, but let me get back to you as that time post looms.

On the other hand, consider what Fred Jones (88 years old) has to say. He’s one of a half dozen elderly New Yorkers that John Leland has been talking to. Jones is one of the unlucky folks who has too much income to qualify for government subsidies, but not quite enough to afford services that would make his life more comfortable. He’s sort of trapped in a rent-controlled $300-a-month Crown Heights walkup; if he were to move, he’d be priced out of the market. Nevertheless,

Mr. Jones was not dismayed. He never is. “Oh no, I don’t have any money worries, thank God,” he said. “I have none. My only money worries are, keep the ladies away from it.”

* * *

I asked him when in his life he was happiest.

“Right now,” he said without hesitation. “I have health problems, but it’s been going on a long time, so it’s secondary. But I think happiness really is what’s going on at a particular time. I used to think happiness was something that somebody brought to you. But happiness, as opposed to enjoyment, is when you are doing something and you are elated.”

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