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November 27, 2007

Who will watch the Watchmen?


I will. It's the comic book movie I've been waiting for. I just hope they don't let me down.

Watchmen is the comic book I always hand to people who don't think they like comic books. It's gritty, smart, relevant, and real. What I loved about Watchmen when I first read it was how seriously it took its subject matter. What if masked vigilantes and caped crusaders were real? What would the world look like? How would that affect their psyche? What kind of person would put on a cape or a mask? What if they, like us, had their own agendas, their own foibles and fetishes, their own sins and virtues?

I'm hoping that the movie is at least a fraction as good as the comic book.

[Picture from the backlot of the film as it starts production.]

November 25, 2007

What I want to find in my stocking Christmas morning!


My geeky crafty friend, Maria, sent this to me. The pattern is available for purchase on etsy.

November 18, 2007

They Paved Paradise...

07-10-13%20wapa%20theater%20marquee.jpgI'm looking forward to heading back to my spawning grounds this week for Thanksgiving some 750 miles away. One of the things I love to do when I'm back at my ancestral home is to go to the old Wapa Cinema, an old single screen movie house that was actually built as a theater for traveling vaudeville shows. So imagine my shock last night when I was on-line to check out what was playing there and found out it's closed.

It was an anachronism in the age of multiplexes and it has, apparently, succumbed to the forces of the marketplace. Even though they showed films for much less than the cinemas 30 miles away, they couldn't make it go.

I am rendered forlorn.

Another part of my childhood has been stripped from me. What's more, my children loved going there. They loved the feel of the place, the non-sterile non-corporate quality of it. Going to a movie there was as much about the space as it was the film. I loved the sloping wooden floors, the creaky seats, the balcony that overhung the last few rows of seats on the main floor.

Still, they haven't torn it down. It's just closed. Maybe someone with a vision can come in and make it work. I don't know. I just hate to see it closed.

November 17, 2007

J is for Jawa

Michael Fleming is in the midst of making a whimsical Star Wars ABC. He's gotten as far as R is for R5-D4 and he took a break for Halloween.

You can see his work so far on his site - Tweedlebop - or on his flickr site and see it as a slide show.

November 14, 2007

Halloween Pix

Here are some pictures of Emma and Simon and their friends Kai, Dane, and Annika on Halloween night. This was the first Halloween when I didn't walk with them the whole way and let them go out on their own a bit. Scary for me, but great fun for them.

They trick or treated a gas station, of all places. They went in and they didn't have any candy for them, but promised they would if they came back in a few minutes. They did and they did.

When they got back there was the requisite candy exchange. For the record Reese's Cups are the gold standard. Neco Wafers are pretty much down at the bottom. Also "Fun Size" candy bars have apparently gotten even smaller. Some fun.

Thanks to Amanda for the photos.

November 10, 2007

Katie & Martin

luther13.jpgAs long as I'm posting plays, I thought I'd pull this one out of the attic. I wrote this one about 10 years ago. It was the final "paper" for a class on Martin Luther. I was reminded it of it recently when I was watching Luther, the 2003 film starring Joseph Fiennes. I think the love life of Katharina von Bora and Martin Luther would make a fun romantic comedy in the mold of Tracy and Hepburn. Tell me what you think.

Katie & Martin

Dramatis Personae

Conrad - chorus and narrator
Martin - reformer, theologian, monk
Katie - an escaped nun
Koppe - a merchant
Wolf - Koppe's nephew
Jerome - a young scholar
Amsdorf - a professor
Various Nuns and Townspeople

Scene 1

Conrad - This is a tale of love and marriage, made more remarkable because the two people in question are a monk and a nun. The monk is none other than Martin Luther. (gestures toward Martin) At the beginning of our story it has been five years since he posted his famous 95 theses on the eve of All Saints' Day in 1517 and almost a full year since he appeared before the Diet at Worms. (pronounced "vorms" with an "o" as in "gore")

Voice - Martin Luther, you stand accused of writing against the pope and his teachings and so have failed to be obedient to your church fathers. Are these works in question written by you and will you recant any part of them?

Martin - Unless I can be instructed and convinced with evidence from the Holy Scriptures or with open, clear and distinct grounds and reasoning - and my conscience is captive to the Word of God - then I cannot and will not recant, because it is neither safe nor wise to act against conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me! Amen.

Conrad - The Doctor became a bit of a celebrity as he was hounded by the papists and sought by princes loyal to the pope. A theological outlaw and an ecclesial exile, he found sanctuary in Wartburg for a time and ventured out in disguise. In March of 1522 he returned to Wittenberg still wearing the black cowl of an Augustinian monk, even though his teachings on Christian freedom were causing an uproar in monasteries across Europe.

Monk - Doctor Luther writes, "One does not live for himself alone, but for all humanity."

Nun - Doctor Luther writes, "The Son of God sets free those, like monastics, who have cloistered themselves under false vows; and by means of grace joyfully welcomes any who turn to Him and renounce these former vows."

Katie - Doctor Luther writes, "A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all."

Conrad - Nuns and monks were reading his works and not only reading, but acting and leaving their cloisters, sometimes enlisting the aid of the Doctor Luther himself.

Katie - Doctor Luther, our consciences, enlightened by the Gospel, do not permit to live as nuns any longer.

Scene 2

(Leonhard Koppe, an elderly man, perilously walks along a ledge, helped but mostly hindered his assistant and nephew, Wolf Tommitsch. He stops, trying to reach a window just above him. He finds that he cannot. After several tries, he taps on the wall with a key, maintaining his balance on the narrow ledge.)

Koppe - (sotto voice) Miladies. (no reply; clears throat) Miladies!

Katie - (opens window; looks around to find Koppe and nephew below) There you are, Herr Koppe! We had grown concerned about your punctuality.

(Koppe and Wolf take off their hats and make polite gestures of greeting while trying to keep their balance.)

Koppe - I beg your pardon, milady, but my nephew, Wolf...

Wolf - Good e'en'.

Koppe - ...and I, we were a bit waylaid, you see, ma'am. We are merchants, not mercenaries. 'Escape' is a bit out of our league.

Katie - (frowns) I see. We have procured some rope. (She tosses it out the window, narrowly missing the two.)

Koppe - I can see how that might be quite useful. Are you and the other ladies prepared to go?

Katie - We are, assuming you are men of good character.

Koppe - What?!

Katie - I trust that Doctor Luther would not send someone who might besmirch our reputation.

Koppe - (sighs) Milady, I am an old man and a well respected merchant. I mean you and your companions only the best. There will be no doubt as to your innocence when we arrive at Wittenberg.

Katie - (nods) And the other one?

Koppe - (looks over at Wolf, who smiles) Why, he's my nephew. He's... (stammers a bit and frowns) He's harmless.

(Wolf's smile disappears, realizing he's been insulted, and puts his hat back on defiantly.)

Katie - Very well. I suppose we have little choice.

Koppe - Yes, milady. As you say, milady. I urge that we go now.

(Wolf nods his agreement.)

Conrad - Katharine von Bora and eight other nuns stole away from the convent Marienthon at Nimbschen that night - that Easter eve in 1522. Katharine had been sent to a boarding school when she was five. After her mother died and her father remarried, she was sent to the convent, where she had two aunts to look after her.

All of her life she had never had to make any decisions for herself. But now she chose freedom and all the uncertainties that freedom brings.

Koppe - (shepherding the nuns) Please, this way.

(Wolf nods and mimics his uncle.)

Katie - (recoiling) What is that stench! (nuns join in, holding their noses or waving their hands)

Koppe - (looking around) What stench? (He looks accusingly at Wolf, who is testing the air with loud snorts. Wolf locks eyes with his uncle and shakes his head vigorously, pointing at the closest nun.)

Katie - (points at the wagon) That stench, there! Coming from the wagon.

Koppe - (chuckles) Oh, that. I told milady that we are merchants. We're herring merchants. (Wolf nods with pride and relief.)

Katie - This is unacceptable. You cannot expect us to ride all the way to Wittenberg with that stench.

Koppe - It grows on you.

Katie - That's what I'm afraid of.

Koppe - If milady would prefer to go back to her cell...

Katie - (somewhat indecisive, looks to others) You have us at a disadvantage, Herr Koppe. It seems we have no choice.

Koppe - It would seem that way. (helps nuns into the back of the wagon)

Scene 3

Conrad - With the rising of the Easter sun, the nuns sang a song to the risen Christ, but their joy was soon replaced by the reality of what their choice would mean. Escaped nuns were not very popular among the common folk and were often reviled as wantons.

(The nuns huddle together to one side as Koppe and Wolf go over to speak to Martin.)

Martin - Bless you, Herr Koppe, for your aid in this matter. I trust your journey was uneventful?

Koppe - We had a guard stop us a ways back, but a strong scent of herring seemed to dissuade him of his search.

Martin - They are a wretched looking lot, are they not? Poor souls. (addresses the nuns) Ladies, welcome to Wittenberg. I will write your families immediately and apprise them of the situation. It is my hope that out of charity they will provide for you. (Nuns look dubiously at one another.) If they will not see to your welfare, I, then will do whatever is in my power to secure your futures. In any case, I will make sure that you are fed and lodged while you are here.

Nun - Thank you for your kindness, Doctor. (Nuns murmur thanks.)

Conrad - Martin then saw to it that they had clothing, a place to stay, and a little money to tide them over.

Martin - (pen in hand) And you are?

Katie - Katharine von Bora.

Martin - (smiles) Von? Your parents are aristocrats. You should be well taken care of. Your father is?

Katie - Hans von Bora of Lippendorf, but I'm not sure he'll help.

Martin - (nods) Because you broke your vows. (sighs) Yes. Well, I have been known to be rather persuasive...

Katie - (slyly) Just as you were persuasive at Leipzig?

Martin - I won that debate.

Katie - From what I heard you walked right into Eck's little trap and most ingenuously convinced everyone you were a heretical Hussite. You consider this a victory?

Martin - (angry) Christ is the head of the church, and all of snotnose's little parlor tricks can't change...

Katie - Snotnose?

Martin - (mellows) A nickname.

Katie - Mmmm... (nods) I'm sure it is one he looks kindly upon. So, what I hear about Doctor Luther's infamous anger is true. It doesn't take much to provoke you, does it?

Martin - No, not much. Just a church which leads it's faithful straight to the gates of hell through false teaching, greed, and deceit.

Katie - And so to stop this infernal migration you would pitch a fit and call the devil "snotnose"?

Martin - Do you have any other relatives?

Katie - I have two aunts, but I don't think...

Martin - Nonsense, it won't hurt to contact them. Where do they live?

Katie - Nimbschen.

Martin - Nimbschen?

Katie - Marienthon.

Martin - The convent?

Katie - Yes.

Martin - Both?

Katie - Yes.

Martin - Perhaps it would be best to let that one lie for awhile.

Katie - How uncharacteristically cautious of you, Doctor.

Martin - As for your father...

Katie - He abandoned me to the convent.

Martin - Surely not.

Katie - My mother died when I was very young. My step-mother and I, well, she thought I was impetuous.

Martin - (sarcastically) I can't imagine. For now you have been invited to stay with Philip and Elsa Reichenbach, the town burgomaster and his wife. I trust that you will do well by them.

Katie - By all means, Herr Doctor. Thank you.

Martin - Herr Koppe will show you to their house. (Koppe moves to her aid, escorting her out. Martin watches them go.) Impetuous, eh? Haughty and prideful is more like it. I wonder how sad they were to find her cell empty Easter morning.

Scene 4

Conrad - Wittenberg must have been an exciting town for a woman who had spent her entire life cloistered. It was full of students from all over and alive with the arts. Katharine found herself spending much time with Lucas Cranach, the town artist and portrait maker, and she could regularly be found at the home of the Melanchthons.

Philip was young for a professor, much closer to Katharine's age, but his status at the university was second only to Martin himself. The Melanchthons took on boarders in their house and students would regularly gather at their house to read Latin and Greek poetry, sing, and put on plays.

In this atmosphere of gaiety many changes came over young Katherine. The shorn hair of a nun turned into long golden braids, and, quite unexpectedly, her heart turned to thoughts of love.

Katie - Explain to me again why we must practice our lines in this fashion?

Jerome - (from behind wall) Because the play is about two lovers separated by a wall. She can't see him, he can't see her. They can only speak through a chink. It's very romantic.

Katie - (mutters) It's very stupid.

Jerome - (sticks his head from around wall) I heard that. (comes around to sit next to Katie) I beg to differ, lady scholar, it stands metaphorically for all lovers. We never really see each other, do we?

Katie - (slyly) I see you.

Jerome - (missing the point) But not all of me, Katie. That's the point. You only see my external wall. Jerome Baumgärtner, actor, scholar, lawyer...

Katie - You're not a lawyer yet.

Jerome - (shrugs) Soon enough. Let's get back to the script shall we? We need to practice if we're to present this before I return to Nuremberg.

Katie - "Pyramus, art thou there?"

Jerome - "Truly I am, lady fair.

Katie - "I can barely hear you, dear Thisby."

Jerome - "Press your lips, then, closer to me."

(Katie turns to see Jerome come quite near indeed; backs slightly)

Katie - (awkwardly) Come to think of it, perhaps your way of practicing has its merits. (points to wall) I'm beginning to see why you like this script.

Jerome - They say it's all the rage in England right now.

Katie - Oh, do they?

Scene 5

Conrad - The first blossoms of love are beautiful but seldom lasting. Jerome left for Nuremberg to discuss plans of marrying Katie with his parents and Katie waited. Days turned to weeks and weeks to months.

Katie - Doctor Luther, may I speak with you?

Martin - Of course. (gestures to seat) Philip tells me you haven't received word from Jerome yet.
Katie - (nods) I was wondering if you would do me a favor? Would you be willing to write Herr Baumgärtner? He respects you greatly. A word from you might prompt him to reply.

Martin - (smiles) I didn't think you trusted my powers of persuasion. (Katie smiles slightly.) I'm not sure it is my place...

Katie - Doctor, when we arrived on your doorstep over a year ago you said you would do what was within your power to secure our future. All of the other sisters have been taken in by their families, are working as teachers, or are married. Only I remain.

Martin - I will do as you ask.

Katie - Thank you.

Conrad - Martin wrote the letter...

Martin - October 12, 1524. Grace and peace in the Lord! Dear Jerome, if you intend on marrying Katharine von Bora, make haste before she is given to some one else. She has not yet got over her love for you. I wish that you two were married. Farewell. Martin Luther.

Scene 6

Conrad - But the reply was not heartening. It seems Jerome's parents had other plans for the young lawyer, plans that did not include a wayward nun that might dim an otherwise bright future. Instead Jerome was married to Sibell Dichtel, a fifteen year-old girl.

As all of this was going on, Caspar Glatz, a pastor in the nearby town of Orlamünde, had taken an interest in young Katharine and had inquired with Martin about the possibility of his marrying her. Martin asked his friend and fellow professor, Amsdorf, to approach Katie on the matter.

(Amsdorf is seated as if waiting. He fiddles with his hat. Katie enters.)

Amsdorf - (stands, clearly nervous) Good day, milady, Katharine.

Katie - You wished to see me, Doctor?

Amsdorf - Indeed, yes, I wanted to see you, or rather, I should say that I was sent to see you, you see. Mmmm... Yes. Your garden looks quite nice, I must say.

Katie - Thank you. I've never had a garden before. I find that I quite like it. You say you were sent by someone?

Amsdorf - Hmm? Oh! Yes, well, um, I'm not accustomed to, or rather, my experience has not been in the manner of the way of, well, such things as these and I find that... ahem... (suddenly solemn) Katharine...

Katie - Yes?

Amsdorf - (deliberately) Have you ever... considered... matrimony?

Katie - (taken aback) That's very kind, Doctor, but I don't think I...

Amsdorf - Oh! No, not me! Heavens! (giggling) No. Oh dear, I think I've gone about this badly. (sighs and mops forehead)

Katie - Herr Doctor, have you been asked to come to me as an intermediary concerning the subject of marriage?

Amsdorf - (startled) How very perceptive of you. As a matter of fact that is my very purpose.

(Katie gestures with hand for Amsdorf to continue. Amsdorf, confused, mimics this gesture. Katie repeats. Business ensues.)

Katie - Doctor, who have you been sent to represent?

Amsdorf - Doctor Luther.

Katie - (shocked) Doctor Luther?

Amsdorf - No! Well, yes. I mean, Doctor Luther sent me to ask for your hand on the behalf of Pastor Glatz. (takes a deep breath)

(long pause)

Katie - Glatz?

Amsdorf - Yes, the pastor from Orlamünde. He's quite fond of you, it seems.

Katie - I see. And you and Doctor Luther think... Glatz... would make a suitable mate for me.

Amsdorf - Well, Doctor Luther was concerned about your future prospects, don't you know. None of us are getting any younger, you know. (Katie stares icily at him. Amsdorf swallows hard.) Then again, there must be other prospects for a fine lady such as yourself.

Katie - (building) Tell Herr Luther that I would rather marry you, or him for that matter, before I would wed... Glatz! (storms out)

Scene 7

Martin - She said what?!

Amsdorf - She said she'd rather marry me or you before she'd marry Glatz.

Martin - Why the ungrateful, prideful...

Amsdorf - Now...

Martin - From the moment I met her, she has struck me as haughty and arrogant. This only proves it.
Amsdorf - Martin, calm. She's still young. Her prospects are still considerable, not like us old men. (chuckles)

Martin - Us?

Amsdorf - Yes, us! (pours drinks) Two old bachelors in the prime of our bachelorhood. No time for wives and children in Academia. What business have we in marriage? Preposterous. Women are a mystery to us, Martin, and a mystery best left untouched, I should think. Much better for us to go on in our grand old fashion and leave the wooing to the young. Besides, look at us! Who'd have us? (laughs) Other than Katie?! (He laughs again. Martin joins in somewhat half-heartedly.)

Scene 8

Conrad - No one can truly say what turns a person from loathing to loving, but the two often seem to be a heartbeat apart. Martin Luther had a change of heart, though, that drove him to his knees.

Katie - What?!

Martin - I am asking you to marry me.

Katie - But...

Martin - Did you not tell Herr Amsdorf that you would rather marry me than Glatz?

Katie - I'd rather do a lot of things than marry Glatz, that doesn't mean I'm going to run out and do them. I thought you thought I was impetuous?

Martin - (nods) And haughty and prideful and selfish...

Katie - And now?

Martin - Now I think perhaps that I've met my match, because I have been accused of just such things. And if I were to wed, it seems fitting that it should be with someone as full of faults as I am, that I might learn again the fruits of grace.

Katie - I thought you didn't believe in purgatory, Doctor Luther.

Martin - (smiles) Not in the next life, no.

Katie - And in this life?

Martin - I had viewed marriage as a potent remedy for sin, something to quench the burning passions, but now I imagine it might be more. Perhaps it is an estate of faith, a vocation which could provide a living parable of the faith, a life of mutual self-giving.

Katie - You do know how to woo a lady, don't you Doctor Luther?

Martin - Katie, I am not much of a romantic. I am an aging man who may very well die soon, should my enemies have their way. But if you would have me, it would be my great honor to be your husband.

Katie - Yes, Doctor Luther, I will marry you.

Conrad - They were married that night in Martin's house. The Cranachs witnessed the marriage along with a small circle of their closest friends. It was a joyous event for those celebrating, but the deed was much reviled by Luther's critics. But, as the playwright wrote, "the course of true love seldom did run smooth."

Lawrence Lee
Reformation Day
June 6, 1996
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
prepared for James Stein's Theology of Martin Luther Class

Kiss Me? Please...

burundi_ants.jpgHere's my second Out of the Hat script for this go around. While I think it's a pretty funny script it's definitely one of my more philosophical scripts, but the prompts just sort of directed me that way. Can't help it, can I? I mean, if your prompts were an ant hill, a Dunkin' Donut, and Bruce Lee, wouldn't you get all philosophical too?

You wouldn't?

Maybe it's just me then...


November 10, 2007
written for Out of the Hat 10
Renegade Comedy Theatre
Duluth, Minnesota

WHO: Bruce Lee
WHAT: A Dunkin’ Donut
WHERE: An Ant Hill
COMMON TITLE: Kiss Me, Please

ANN – an office worker
TONI – Ann’s coworker and friend

Pack of cigarettes
Bottle of bubbles
A few donuts

LIGHTS UP ANN is sitting on a building ledge, smoking a cigarette. There may be a bottle of soap bubbles nearby. She also has a donut or two.

TONI (opens window and looks back and forth to see ANN seated a few feet away from her) Ann! What are you doing out here?

ANN Taking a break. (takes a long drag on her cigarette)

TONI Why are you taking a break up here on the ledge of the twenty first story?

ANN Twenty second.

TONI What?

ANN We’re on the twenty second story. You’re forgetting the mezzanine.

TONI I’m… what?

ANN Yeah, when you enter, down there, you’d think it’s the first floor, but they don’t call it the first floor. They call it the “mezzanine.” The first floor, or what they call the first floor, is the floor above the mezzanine, so really, the first floor is the second floor and the second floor is the third floor and so on and therefore we’re twenty two stories up.

TONI What does that matter? What are you doing out here?

ANN What does it matter? Did you know that NASA lost a mission to Mars a couple years ago? The little robot guy was just riding along and then burned up in the atmosphere. You know why? Someone forgot to convert inches to centimeters. Screwed everything up. I mean, look. (holds up fingers indicating an inch and a centimeter) That’s an inch, that’s a centimeter. It’s close. Who cares? What does it matter? Ask the toasted martian robot.

TONI What does that have to do with you being out here on the ledge? Why are you here?

ANN I told you, I’m taking a break. Eating a donut. Having a smoke.

TONI Why can’t you take your break in the break room with everyone else? The splat factor is significantly less in the break room.

ANN Can’t smoke in the break room any more.

TONI Yes, but…

ANN Can’t smoke outside on the sidewalk off the mezzanine anymore either. Besides, I like it out here. Gives the mind perspective. And I like blowing bubbles.

TONI What?

ANN Try it. It’s fascinating. Blow the bubbles and then watch them drift down and land on the sidewalk, if they make it that far, or on the heads of the little people on their way from here to there. It’s better if you’re smoking you know.

TONI What do you mean? How’s it better if you’re smoking?

ANN Well, you blow smoke into the bubble and the then little smoke filled bubble drifts down and when it lands – poof! A little puff of smoke. You should see them jump! No one expects a cute little bubble to go poof!

TONI Look, Ann, Sylvia is seriously worried…

ANN Worried?

TONI Upset. She’s upset that you’ve been missing on break for over a half an hour now. Do you want to lose your job?

ANN (laughs) “Lose” my job? “Hey, where’s my job?” “I don’t know, it was right here. Where did you last see it?” “I don’t know. Maybe I should check the couch.” How does one “lose” a job?

TONI You know perfectly well what I mean. Do you want to be fired? Terminated? Eighty sixed? Canned?

ANN You know what, I just realized, you’re right…

TONI Thank God. Please come back in.

ANN We are twenty one stories up. You know why? There’s no thirteenth floor in this building. I mean there is a thirteenth floor, but they don’t call it the thirteenth floor, they call it the fourteenth floor. But actually, because of the mezzanine, the twelfth floor is the thirteenth floor. So because of the mezzanine and the mysteriously missing thirteenth floor, we actually are on the twenty first floor.

TONI You’ve gone insane. Ann, please… I’m scared for you. You’re scaring me.

ANN Look down there, Toni. What do you see?

TONI A long fall and a hard surface?

ANN Ants. People from up here look like ants, Toni. We don’t only look like ants; we act like ants. We’re all running around our anthill and we collect our crumbs (starts breaking off bits off her donut and tosses them down) here and there and over there. And we bring them home to our queen ant and get patted on our heads or get kissed on the cheek and then we’re sent out to collect more crumbs, and get more pats and more kisses. Do you think I want the queen ant to kiss me? Please…

TONI Please, Ann, don’t kill yourself.

ANN Kill myself? What are you talking about?

TONI Why else are you out here talking crazy like this? Just come inside so we can talk about this calmly…

ANN You may not have noticed, but I’m talking pretty calmly right here. It’s you who seems upset. Why don’t you come out here and we can talk about it.

TONI You want me to come out there?

ANN Sure, the fresh air will do you good. Want a smoke? A Dunkin’ Donut? Bubbles?

TONI (hesitantly comes out and sits on the ledge) I’ll have a donut… I guess.

ANN Good choice. One of nature’s most perfect foods. No wonder the ants covet them so much. A torus of fat and sugar and yeast and dough. You ever think about the donut hole? It’s this useless space in the middle which the donut revolves around but it isn’t, in and of itself, and yet it’s intrinsic to the donut. When the donut disappears you could say the hole disappears, but the hole didn’t exist to begin with, so where does it go?

TONI You really have gone mad. Look, Sylvia will understand if you need a little time off. Why don’t we go in there…

ANN And you can bring your little crumb in and get a pat on the head, kiss on the cheek? I’m not your crumb, Toni.

TONI That’s not what I meant. Ann, you’re scaring me. I think you need help. This isn’t like you.

ANN In the Tao te Ching Lao Tzu said that the useful part of the cup was not the vessel itself, but the space within. Like the space inside the donut. It’s the space within and between that defines us. Did you know that Bruce Lee was a student of philosophy at the University of Washington?

TONI You mean (does martial arts move) Bruce Lee Bruce Lee?

ANN Yeah, that Bruce Lee. He said to be like water. He said if you put water in the cup it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle; it becomes the bottle.

TONI You’re kidding. He said that?

ANN Not kidding. Wikipedia at three in the morning is a wonderful thing. Water in the cup. Smoke in the bubble. Same thing.

TONI Huh. So if you want to be the water and not the ant, what are you going to do now?

ANN (puts out her cigarette on the ledge) I think I should go back to my job. (puts the pack of cigarettes in her pocket and makes to go)

TONI Really? After all that? After the donuts and the ants and the smoke and the bubbles and the cup and the water and the mezzanine and the thirteenth floor, you are just going to go back in there to your desk and to Sylvia?

ANN Yep. It’s my cup… for the moment at least until I’m poured into something else. (moves over TONI to get to the window) But maybe you need to take a break for a while… and keep an eye on the ants for me. (takes the pack of cigarettes out of her pocket and places them on the ledge)

TONI (picks up the pack of cigarettes) Yeah, maybe I’ll just do that.


November 8, 2007

Like, Whatever


It's Out of the Hat time again! And that can only mean one thing - original scripts on ironic1.com!

Tonight's script is very local and really focused around two local blogs and since I'm a regular on one, I make no pretense about being impartial.

I don't know if it's a good script, but it was cathartic to write.


November 9, 2007
written for Out of the Hat 10
Renegade Comedy Theatre
Duluth, Minnesota

WHO: the most annoying person in the world
WHAT: WW II flyboy goggles
WHERE: Red Star Lounge
COMMON TITLE: Like, Whatever

VOICE – announcer, offstage voice
SEYMOUR – DCB blogger, serious and angry
LAKE – PDD blogger, light hearted and goofy


VOICE Red Star Lounge is proud to present the grudge match of the new millennium, the battle of the blogs! In this corner, wearing red, white and blue, representing the now defunct Duluth Citizen’s Blog, please welcome - Seymour Butz!

SEYMOUR (comes forward pumping fists in the air)

VOICE And in this corner wearing a Homegrown (or Low, or PDD) t-shirt, representing Perfect Duluth Day, let’s hear it for - Lake Effect!

LAKE (waves at the crowd)

VOICE Alright, the contestants are reminded, no haxxor moves or unnecessary leet speak. When the whistle blows I want you to come out blogging. On your marks… get set… blog! (SFX – whistle)

SEYMOUR (starts circling LAKE like a wrestler) This city is going down the toilet! We got gangbangers from Chicago coming here to bang their gangs because they can bang gangs here better than they can bang gangs there!

LAKE (is circling also) Hey! Have you seen my latest picture of a sunrise over Lake Superior? Here you go! (holds out a picture)

SEYMOUR Filthy liberals! Always shoving your free love, panty waist, Marxist ideologies on us!

LAKE Hey! There’s a Trampled by Turtles concert tonight at the Looch! It should effing rock! If you haven’t been you should totally go. Last month I went and drank and danced until I threw up. (turns head sideways and makes a frown.)

VOICE (SFX – whistle) Illegal emoticon! Round 1 goes to Seymour Butz! Okay, get ready for round 2. Ready? Blog!

LAKE (holds out a photo) It’s a picture of my dog! He’s sleeping! Isn’t he cute?

SEYMOUR Why do you hate America?!

LAKE I went down to Hell’s Kitchen with a bunch of friends, and it was pretty cool, except we had to wait for our food forever, and when we got it the fries were cold, and the bloody marys were kind of weak, and they didn’t have any vegan options.

SEYMOUR We live in the People’s Republic of Duluth ruled by a pinko fascist oligarchy! Hold onto your wallets, folks!

LAKE (counting out syllables) Haiku contest time! Didn’t we do that last month? Let’s do it again!

SEYMOUR Duluth has no future! The crazy people are in charge! They’ll take away our guns and make us drive hybrids and shop at the Whole Foods Coop! We’re doomed!

LAKE I like Donny Ness. I know his brother Jamie. Jamie is a musician. Musicians are cool. I like Donny Ness.

SEYMOUR Aquarium fiasco! Tossing good money after bad. And in the meantime, businesses are closing all around us and the prices just keep going up up up! It’s the aquarium’s fault!

LAKE I want to sell my couch and my playstation and my lava lamp. Any takers?

SEYMOUR Global warming is a vast left wing conspiracy to fool us into thinking that Duluth might actually be warm someday!

LAKE I’ve got a bowling ball named Earl… and he’s running for city council!

SEYMOUR Duluth News Tribune? Ha! They should call it the (makes airquotes) “Don Ness Toadies.”

VOICE (SFX – whistle) Foul on Seymour Butz! Illegal use of quotation marks! Post will be stricken. Round 2 goes to Lake Effect. Now time for the multimedia round. Ready? Blog!

LAKE (holds out a photo) Here’s another picture of my dog! He’s wearing World War Two flying goggles! Isn’t he cute?

SEYMOUR (mutters) I can’t do pictures.

LAKE YouTube video of some Japanese people who can’t speak English any better than we can speak Japanese! Aren’t they funny?

SEYMOUR (mutters) I can’t do videos.

LAKE Here’s a link to my flickr site where I have pictures of my car that I dressed up like Bozo the Clown for the Spirit Valley parade!

SEYMOUR I can’t even link!

LAKE Here’s a banner I made for the blog. We’re drinking a lot and playing kickball out on the lake when it was frozen and I slipped and broke my arm!

SEYMOUR Look, we got an eagle and a flag! What more do you want? Why do you hate America?

VOICE (SFX – whistles) Multimedia round goes to Lake Effect.


VOICE For our next round we move into the lightning blog round. Only one or two word blog entries. Ready? Blog!


LAKE Art opening!

SEYMOUR Anti-business!

LAKE Geek Prom!

SEYMOUR Irresponsible!

LAKE Cute anecdote!

SEYMOUR School board!

LAKE Antidisestablishmentarianism!

SEYMOUR (a take) What?

LAKE (shrugs) I just like the word.

VOICE (SFX – whistle) Round goes to Seymour Butz because Lake Effect was being a smartass show off. Final round is for closing statements. Make your best argument as to why you are the better blog! Ready? Blog!

SEYMOUR I stand for fairplay, the marketplace, and the American way! I am all about good, no nonsense free speech without the capricious use of quotation marks! I am fair and balanced, just like Fox News! I am serious about making Duluth a better place to live by criticizing everyone in power and not offering up any alternate solutions. And, most importantly, I am not the most annoying person in the world!

LAKE (a pause and looks at SEYMOUR to make sure SEYMOUR’s finished) I am the most annoying person in the world! (starts dancing around SEYMOUR making faces and acting silly, taunting like a sibling, music up)

VOICE And that concludes our battle of the blogs!

November 6, 2007

She's not dead yet...

1881679003_7f61d0229a.jpgOnly 40.

Maria had quite the birthday slash costume party this past Friday. The costumes were fun and eclectic. Our hostess with the mostest made this elegant and creepy Legend inspired bride of the damned outfit.

I came as a Magic 8 Ball - shaving and painting my head for the occasion. I went around with a pouch full of the 20 standard Magic 8 Ball responses and invited people to ask a question and shake me. It was hands down the most fun costume I've ever done as far as participation.

Emma came as a witch with a hat that kept falling off owing to her abnormally large cranium.

Simon came as a nerd. I know, a reallll stretch there for Simon.

Check out other pictures from the party on Maria's fickr site.