Husband and Wife Team Tackle Directing Someone Else’s Work

It’s just about start.
Actually, it starts tomorrow at about 7 pm. when the directors for the Reedy Point Player One Act Festival have the first round of auditions at the Delaware City Community Center from 1900 to 2100 (okay 7 pm to 9 pm).
It’s going to be pretty cool. I have two shows being staged by two different directors. Each is kind of a fractured story (ala Fractured Fairytales). One is about Veterans unemployment and the other is about suicide (kinda).
That’s not what is causing me anxiety, I am directing a laugh-out-loud riot about a Scrabble Game gone awry.
I am pretty nervous about directing someone else’s work, but t he script is so strong, I might not be able to screw it up. I do have that going for me. I am thinking about casting it a bit differently than the great author Lyn Anderson intended. I’ll have to see how the spirit moves me.
For the next few days I’ll be reading and rereading the script to make sure I know what I need.
Since it is a festival I am thinking the more austere the better for my set. I only have two lighting cues to sort out. I need different parts of the sage dark at different times to pull this off.
More to follow.
I hope people come out.


The True Witch Hunt

At the risk of alienating just about everyone …
Conservatives seem to be in a lather alleging partisanship by federal investigators looking into the election of 2016 and the follow-on potential obstruction of justice.
The general beef – as I understand it – is an allegation of investigators having an anti-Trump bias. One case is the existence of anti-Trump texts (some have said inappropriately released to the press) by an investigator. I have read the offending texter was transferred to a job by Special Counsel Robert Mueller that has nothing g to do with the investigation (sort of an administrative Siberia I guess) and the situation is being reviewed by the Inspectors General. Moreover, Jill McCabe, the wife of Deputy FBI director, received about $700,000 from Terry McAuliffe for an election run for state senate. This money is supposed to have Clinton fingerprints (figuratively) all over it. That is enough to throw the conservative punditry into apoplexy.
Aside from the my-side/your-side dimension of it all, we need to be careful. We are seemingly moving perilously close to a situation where political affiliation could decide who investigates who for any number of alleged crimes. The assumption that because someone voted for a particular party, or candidate that person is somehow incapable of being impartial and is thus disqualified from executing his/her duties is dangerous and to my mind fualty. It undermines institutional mores and individual professionalism.
If you buy into it all conservative suspicion, the question then becomes should there be some political litmus test before we assign government investigators to cases? Should only Republican employees be assigned to investigate alleged Republican crimes? Should federal employees be required to divulge the content of their secret ballot to ensure staffing equity when assigning cases. See the problem?
That leads us to spouses.
Can the spouse of federal employee run for elective office? And if the spouse does, should it impact the duties and career of the federal employee? It seems Mr. Trump is making quite a lot of hubbub about Mrs. McCabe democratic run for the state senate and connecting that to Mr. McCabe’s duties relative to the 2016 investigation. Is this fair fodder? Does it matter?
Regardless, it seems some conservatives are deriding our esteemed FBI to make political hay and ensure the diminishing of whatever conclusions are eventually reached. They talk of Clinton-friendly investigators and a diabolical deep state needing rooting out, ostensible making the unnecessary and un-American case for purges and political purity.
I am beginning to believe the US intelligence community generally and the FBI specifically are becoming the subject of the real witch hunt.

Bandit’s Dental Hijinks

I’ve been keeping this from you, but since so many of you love Bandit; I best own up. Bandit looks like Michael Strahan now. No kidding. He has a gap-toothed smile and lisps when he barks.
He is not happy either (apologies to Michael Strahan).
Earlier this week Bandit and I got up, like we do most days. Started the day off with snarky tweets to Donald Trump and Chuck Schumer – it’s kind of our thing. After about a half hour Bandit got bored and went into the parlor, hopped up on the couch, and took a nap.
With my muse napping, I took a shower and got ready for work.
Just before 0700 I walked to the dimly lit parlor, snuck over to the couch and before Bandit could lunge to the door, I snatched him up, grab his lead, and whisked him to the car. I hated to do it, but he can be really unreasonable about vet visits especially ones he thinks are “elective.”
Bandit has lots of good habits, but dental hygiene isn’t one of them. He has this awful underbite and won’t brush his teeth. Every time I buy him a tooth brush he chews it up. I bring it in, show it to him, and he uses it for a toothpick.
Since he doesn’t have any hands per se, I’ve even tried to brush his teeth for him. The last time, one of us got covered in doggy toothpaste and that one of us only has two legs. He hates it. No matter how long I lecture about periodontal disease, he looks at me like I’m an idiot, rest his elongated chin on the floor, and throws his paws up over his ears
For a dog that can order pizza on the phone, he just won’t brush or floss.
Anyway, I snatched him up, threw him in the car and took off to the vet. It didn’t take him long to figure out where we were going. He tried his usual tricks, but I long ago learned to disable the windows and locks lest I have a Dachshund hightailing it back to my hose.
We got to the vet and he waddled himself to going inside. Once there, I went to the counter while he hopped on the scale. He waddled up and waited.
“How much?” I asked.
He barked twice, paused and barked three more times.
“Twenty three pounds?” I asked. “You sure?”
“Arf.” He said. Bandit almost never lies, but will take liberalities with his weight (it’s vanity I think). This time he told the truth.
“Why don’t you follow me into an exam room and we’ll go over the paperwork,” the Vet Tech said.
I looked at Bandit and he looked at me and we both shrugged or shoulders. We followed the vet tech, who look like she was 12.
“As with any use of anesthetic there is always a danger of cardiac arrest,” she said. “Would you like us to resuscitate you dog?”
“What do you think, Bandit?” I asked.
He growled.
“Yeah, okay. You might as well revive him,” I said.
“Arf,” Bandit said.
I signed the paperwork. Swearing to God, I’d pay and turned to say so long to my dog.
“Listen pal. I gotta go to work, but you are going to be fine. I’ll be back at about 5. Okay?”
He whined the most pitiful whine as I handed the vet tech the lead. She pulled him to go one way while I walked the other. Bandit started scrambling to make a break for it, but the vet tech snatched him up before he could make the door. She took him to the backroom with his little feet running and hitting only air.
It turned out Bandit had to have eight teeth pulled and the rest cleaned. One of the teeth was in the front, giving him that gapped tooth smile.
He spent the next two nights on my lap play it up for sympathy.
I let him.


This is an absolutely true Bandit Story.
One Saturday I woke up early determined to get some catfishing done on C&D Canal. I kicked my dog awake and we went out back to dig up some worms.
Bandit has a sixth sense about these things and is able to hear the little guys under the ground twisting and turning. He scratched the dirt and I hit it with a shovel. In a couple of minutes, we hand an old niblets corn can full of worms.
We stopped by the local Wawa (for the non-mid-Atlantic folks that is the local go to convenience store). Bandit insisted on a sausage, egg and cheese croissant; I had a coffee and an Entemann’s Raspberry pastry.
We ate in the parking lot.
We drove to the canal and hit the dusty winding road ending up at a pier for fisherman, which is mostly deserted. We baited the lines, tossed them in the water, and waited for the inevitable fish bites.
Rods jumped and pitched and eventually a yacht came cruising up the canal. I know, I know; what the hell is a yacht doing on the C&D canal? You got me!
Just so you know, I never keep Bandit on a leash.
Anyway as the yacht came by, the wake slapped the timbers of the pier making an awful thumping that sounded like we were in the put of a NASCAR race> It was awful.
I grabbed my line adjusted my drag and asked Bandit for advice – he was gone.
The slapping of the water against the pier scared the bejeezus out of him and he hot-footed it up the side of the hill. I had to chase him for about 35 minutes to get him to calm down.
When we got back to the pier, his pole had a fish; I got skunked.
This happened exactly as written

My Dog and I Fix The Heater


Bandit relaxing this past summer

I planned to take the day off, sleep late, grab a cup of coffee, and maybe go to a movie.
At about 0530 Bandit – my running mate and double-dapple Dachshund – started running up and down hall and screaming his fool head off.
The last time he did that, he cornered Santa and the fat old guy was horrified. Bandit eventually let him go on the promise of perpetual nice list for us. To date we still get presents, but that is a story for a different day.
Afraid that an errant elf was somehow held captive, I jumped out of the bed and was immediately hit by an onslaught of cold air. It took my breath away. I could almost see my dog’s breath as he scampered toward the thermostat.
“What the hell happened? I asked.
He just barked at the thermostat, which was blinking, “Your system has stopped working. Press the button for more information.”
If Bandit had fingers, he’d would have pressed for more information, but he doesn’t, and it fell to me. It really wouldn’t matter, because the ‘more information’ said, “Your system was turned off, because we detected a problem. Call your dealer.”
I read it to Bandit and he ran to the kitchen, jumped on the counter, grabbed the phone, and brought it to me.
“C’mon,” I said. “This does me no good without the phone number.
He ran back and got me that too. Dogs? You always have to remind them of the final detail.
So I call the heater guys, explain it all, and they set me up for an appointment later that day. I tell this to Bandit and he is convinced we are getting ignored. I tell him we are at their mercy, so he goes to one of the closets, gets a down comforter and waddles to the bedroom.
He did a pretty good job making the bed, so we climb in to warm up.
As time goes by it dawns on me that I might have screwed this up. You see, we had a new heater installed and it has a pipe that expels excess moisture. This summer I thought it might be a good idea to add a hose to the pipe, so the water would pool away from the foundation.
One of the times I mowed I took the hose and propped it up against the house, so I could mow underneath it. For the life of me I couldn’t remember ever putting back.
“Bandit,” I said. “I think I messed this up.”
He looked up at me, with a single eye open as if to say, “No kidding.”
We had reached temperature perfection under that down comforter, but we knew we had to go outside; which was bitter cold — by the way.
Dress in my pajamas and a heavy sweatshirt, I grabbed a screwdriver, a pair of Vice-grips and a pocket knife and we went outside.
“When I loosen this screw, you the tug hose off this pipe,” I told Bandit.
“Arf, arf,” he replied in affirmation.
I loosened the screw on the clamp holding the hose over the pipe. Bandit jumped, grabbed the hose and dangled about three feet off the ground for a second or two until the hose gave. He plopped on the ground; the hose draping his cold doggy belly, but he rolled over and pulled the frozen ice-filled hose aside.
It was just as I feared. The pipe was blocked with ice.
Bandit came back, jumped, grabbed the little stub of pipe and held on for dear life while I chipped the ice with the pocket knife. After about five minutes, torrent of water shot out of the pipe causing bandit to fall – what a baby!
When the water stopped, Bandit let go and we went inside.
It did the trick. The heater kicked in and bandit and I went back to bed. We’re not ones to waste a down comforter.




York Barbell Breakdown

yorkpicThe Doobie Brothers are jamming in the background. Listen To The Music – man what a great tune.
Bandit didn’t feel like going with me today to the York Barbell Co. in York Pa., but my wife said she would go – I was glad she did. She reads maps way better than Bandit does.
I have been lifting York Barbell plates in one form or another for years. I remember buying my first 50-pound plates at Kelly’s Sporting Goods in Garden City shopping center in Cranston.
I have been lifting pretty steady for the past five years to build muscle after Lymphoma and I am getting to the point where I need a few 25-pounders. One night a few weeks ago I was web surfing and ended up at and realized there was an outlet store.
I envisioned muscle bound guys and gals picking things up and putting them down impressing rubes like me. I was hoping there would be a guy so strong he would lift me onto his shoulders and flex his biceps while I smiled like an idiot. I figured they’d at least have a giant inflatable He-Man strangling a giant inflatable Godzilla on the front lawn. I was hoping to see road signs and promotions along the highway.
The retail outlet was nondescript — a small two room store with a small assortment of weights; too small lifting belts, dumbbells, and an unimpressive assortment of exercise falderal. I was soooooo disappointed. Nothing! Nobody tearing phonebooks in half; nobody inflating red rubber water bottles until they explode. Nothing. I
I mean gosh darn it! This is York Barbell; home to body builders weightlifting giants; and Olympic heroes. Now it is an empty shell.
I was so disappointed.
I bought two 25 pounders threw them in my car and drove home quietly. I didn’t even turn on my radio


Temporary Stereo Setback

speakersIn the words of that cinema giant Bill Murray from the great socially important film Stripes, “And then depression set in.”

Bandit (my double dapple Dachshund sidekick) and I have been scouring yard sales for months piecing together a vintage stereo system on which to play our vintage records. He likes novelty records such as St. Bernards barking Jingle Bells; I like more traditional classic rock and soul. (BTW you’d surprised how many dogs barking tune recordings there are, he has them all.

We have traveled far and wide in our quest. In northern Delaware, abutting rural Pennsylvania (where pencil go on vacation — get it?) is Hockessin, a small town with big city aspirations. Bandit and I were driving down a secondary road leading out of town on a cold drizzly Saturday when we passed a yard sale with stereo equipment.

“You wanna go back?” I asked.” He was indifferent.

I pulled a U-turn and pulled up. We got out the car and bandit went over to some speakers, sniffed them and gave his tail a wag. I felt safe buying them. I went over to a receiver sniffed it, and shrugged my shoulders.

“Does this receiver work?” I asked the soaked bedraggled guy on an old Army field jacket.

“I don’t know, man,” he said. “It’s been downstairs forever.”

“How much?”

“Five for the radio thing and three for the speakers.”

I whipped out my wallet, bandit arfed, and we loaded two honking Sanyo Speakers in the car and an old Technics receiver.

The speakers work great.

The $3 receiver worked great for about two weeks until I tried to hook up a yardsale Yamaha turntable to it.

From sound cutting out to a loud hum more likely to come from invading out of space aliens, and a weird smell I still can’t identify, it all went wrong. I guess that’s what happens when you buy stereo equipment in the rain.

I’m going to up my game and buy my next receiver at a pawn shop.

Bandit is skeptical.