Drooling on the Pillow

Friday, October 31, 2003

What Exactly Does Happy Have to do with Halloween? 

People keep coming by saying "Have a happy Halloween!" and even "Have a happy holiday!" To be clear, Halloween isn't a holiday. Nobody gets the day off, unless their boss is a Wiccan. I would love to know exactly when Halloween got completely out of control. I didn't notice. I looked up one day and there it was -- a flipping Orange Bowl halftime.

Tin Cup for Neuberger 

Unless your name happens to be Kristin Chenoweth the news on "Wicked" was not good. All the reviews I read were wet kisses for Ms. Chenoweth and pretty much raspberries for the show. It still should run, though, please God. I don't want Neuberger sleeping on my couch.

Unconditional Surrender 

I happened to read Stephen Sears book on Gettysburg a couple of months ago. It's an excellent account. Nothing radically new -- after 10,000 books you'd have to go pretty far for something really new -- but exceptionally clear and vivid. The maps are great. If anything sets it apart from other accounts I've read its that Sears makes fewer excuses for Lee. He makes clear the problems Lee was facing in this campaign -- Stuart's disappearance, the hard feelings of both Longstreet and Hill, the lack of coordination and communication, but he makes it plain that the decisions were Lee's and they were almost uniformly and uncharacteristically bad.

Anyway, it set me off on a Civil War kick like I haven't had in decades. A book on Antietam, one on Fredericksburg and one on Chancellersville. I think I'm coming to an end of this run with Grants memoirs. This book I'm really enjoying. I've read that one of the secrets of Grant's success was the lucidness of his prose. That is, unlike Burnside's botched orders at Fredericksburg that turned a very winnable battle into a catastrophe, no one ever didn't know where he was supposed to be or when he was supposed to be there after receiving orders from Grant. Well, its evident in this volume. It's very readable, quite humorous and generous. He glides over some episodes one would like to know more about, but, hey, he was dying.

Still Holding Out 

I almost wrote something about my cats. I know I promised not to, but I'm starting to think it's only a matter of time.

It would kill her to be a Princess? 

Grace is the red ninja this year. Last year she was the wolf ninja. The year before she had to be Captain Hook. The first year she was Peter Pan, which is, at least, usually played by a female. My wife despairs. I have three pictures of her on my desk (among others) in which she's wearing a dress. Those represent the three occasions in her brief life when she was coaxed into that yuckie garb. I don't know. It doesn't bother me in the least. I think its obvious that any girl who doesn't go through a serious tom-boy phase is really missing out on something. And it may delay the awful moment of "Hi, Dad. This is Vito." Of course, "Hi, dad. This is Janet," is always possible. But we'll deal with that when it comes.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Smile When You Say That, Pardner. 

Here's Grace, about three years ago. I'll put up a new one as soon as I figure out how.
But you will not be hearing about my cats. Promise.
4:17 pm

You will hear the name "Grace" a lot. She's my daughter. My wife is Lane. We live in a house just outside of New York City.
2:35 pm

My first vote was cast for George McGovern. My last one was for George Bush. Of the people I know, probably all who are old enough could say the first. I can't offhand think of one who could say the second, though I have my suspicions about one or two. I never lost a friend over politics, though I've ruined more than a few dates. Over the past six months though, I've gotten into [discussions][arguments][crazed ranting fits] with two of my oldest and dearest friends over (1) the Iraq war and (2) Israel and the Palestinians. On both occasions we both veered off at the end with little more than scraped paint. But, jeez. It wouldn't have taken much more. On both occasions, I think, we were both looking for accommodation. For a place to agree from. We couldn't find it. I wonder, now, if the fault (for failing to argue productively) was mine or theirs or whether it is structural to a certain kind of disagreement. I shouldn't care. The point is not to agree, but to defend coherently. These situations are so fraught, though, especially between friends, that its hard to get the experience to do it well.
2:00 pm

I begin this with little or no idea what I expect its usefulness to be: to me or to anyone else. I expect it will be apparent very quickly whether this is for me. That is, whether my mind is the type to make intelligible marks on the barn door of this medium. Or whether, like, I expect, most people, its workings should be hidden away permanently and kept for private amusement.

I believe I just qualified for a "Poseur Alert."
1:30 pm

Today Jan Neuberger opens in "Wicked" on Broadway. I am stunned at the thought that she is probably my oldest friend. This is her fourth or fifth B'Way show, but the first one with a chance of offering her long term employment. Neu-BURRRRRGS!!!. Break a leg.
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