Monday, January 8, 2018

And The Winner Is

Oprah Winfrey’s acceptance speech at the Golden Globes is making news.

You can read the transcript here.

This is what leadership looks like, and while there’s all sorts of chatter about running her for president — I mean, come on; who ever said a TV star could do that? — there are those who lead by inspiration, who call forth our better nature, and who can make us look to ourselves to do good and improve the lives of others without running for office.

There are going to be those who will dismiss Ms. Winfrey as just another Hollywood celebrity who is out of touch with “real America,” who have so much that they’re hardly in a position to tell us or show us the right way or any way to solve our problems and heal the abyss between various factions.  Or there will be those who say that we’ve already tried having a dynamic and inspirational leader, and all we got from that was backlash from a base that never accepted the idea that a black man could be president.  They will say, “Do we really want to go through all of that again?”

It doesn’t matter if Oprah Winfrey runs for president.  She’s reaching out to those who might or who will run and is trying to turn us away from anger and venting.

In my career, what I’ve always tried my best to do, whether on television or through film, is to say something about how men and women really behave. To say how we experience shame, how we love and how we rage, how we fail, how we retreat, persevere, and how we overcome. And I’ve interviewed and portrayed people who’ve withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights.

I hear you.  As I’ve said many times myself, hope is my greatest weakness.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

2017 Pulitzers

Here’s the list of the winners of the 2017 Pulitzer Prizes.  The Miami Herald picked up two: Jim Morin for his editorial cartoons, and for their work with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and McClatchy on the Panama Papers story.

In drama, it went to Lynn Nottage for her play “Sweat,” which is currently running on Broadway.

Congratulations to all.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Thank You, Friend

I received a very pleasant surprise today from a friend of this blog: a donation to the BBWW coffers.

I won’t embarrass my friend by mentioning any names, but let me take this opportunity to say a heartfelt and humble thank you for your support and encouragement.  It is a vote of confidence and an inspiration to keep on going.

Two weeks from today will not only be the election, but it will also mark BBWW’s thirteenth anniversary.  I’ll have more to say about that at the time, but having your support — financially or otherwise — is one of the reasons I keep doing this.

Thank you.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Post Haste

Last Saturday morning I took nine play scripts, three books, two shirts (one Inge t-shirt and one Inge corduroy), and two Inge Festival wine glasses (boxed) to the Post Office on Laurel Street in Independence, Kansas, to mail them home because I barely had room in my carry-on for what I’d already packed. (Yeah, I need a bigger vulture for my carry-on…) Tom, the clerk at the counter, got a box and he neatly packed it all in and sealed it up. The price of postage back to Florida — the box was free — was $13.45.

The receipt says the package was accepted at 9:48 a.m. on Saturday. At 5:30 p.m. on Monday there was a knock on the front door from my postal carrier (a nice lady; she comes to our car shows) and she handed me the box. Everything was intact, barely a mark on the box, and less than 72 hours after I sent it from Kansas.

A lot of people knock the Postal Service — ah, it’s slow, it’s typical government bureaucracy, blah, blah. Except the USPS has been an independent self-supporting agency since 1972, and more importantly, can UPS or Fed Ex pick up a package on Saturday in the middle of rural Kansas and get it to South Florida in less than three days for less than $15? YMMV, but I’m impressed.

As the carrier was dropping off the box, a Fed Ex truck zoomed by. I wanted to holler “Neener, neener!”

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Sunday Reading

Jon Swift Memorial Roundup 2015 — The Best Posts of the Year, Chosen by the Bloggers Themselves

Welcome to a tradition started by the late Jon Swift/Al Weisel, who left behind some excellent satire, but was also a nice guy and a strong supporter of small blogs. As Lance Mannion put it in 2010:

Our late and much missed comrade in blogging, journalist and writer Al Weisel, revered and admired across the bandwidth as the “reasonable conservative” blogger Modest Jon Swift, was a champion of the lesser known and little known bloggers working tirelessly in the shadows . . .One of his projects was a year-end Blogger Round Up. Al/Jon asked bloggers far and wide, famous and in- and not at all, to submit a link to their favorite post of the past twelve months and then he sorted, compiled, blurbed, hyperlinked and posted them on his popular blog. His round-ups presented readers with a huge banquet table of links to work many of has had missed the first time around and brought those bloggers traffic and, more important, new readers they wouldn’t have otherwise enjoyed.

It may not have been the most heroic endeavor, but it was kind and generous and a lot of us owe our continued presence in the blogging biz to Al.

Here’s Jon/Al’s 2007 and 2008 editions. Meanwhile, here are the revivals from 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

This post, Gay Day At The Supreme Court, was my submission.  But take a stroll and a scroll through the list of all the others and see some very good writing by some familiar names, and take a look at those you might not have yet met.

Doonesbury — The Kool Kidz Table.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Standing Ovation

One of the best things a playwright can say about seeing his work performed is “That’s what I meant.” The actors understand the characters and convey them authentically to the audience.

That was what I felt last night as I watched the reading of my new play “All Together Now” at Mina’s Mediterraneo in Miami, sponsored by New Theatre. Thank you, Kenneth Averett-Clark, Carlos Alayeto, Jonathan Mitzenmacher, Joel Kolker, Joanne Marsic, and Nicole Quintana for bringing Paul, Adam, Fox, Jim, Dorothy, and Julie to life, and thank you, Steven A. Chambers and Erik Rodriguez for guiding the play with love and care.

Also thank you to Ricky J. Martinez and Eileen Suarez for making it all happen. I am very grateful for such strong support and genuine love for theatre and making new works happen, and I look forward to going forward with you all.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Short Takes

Fed holds off raising interest rates.

At least 11 people were killed in the 8.3 earthquake off the coast of Chile.

President Obama greeted the three men who thwarted the train attack in Europe.

Verizon now works in Cuba.

Doritos unveiled rainbow-colored chips.

Tropical Update: TD Nine heads west.

The Tigers had the night off.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Welcome Caitlyn

From the New York Times:

Caitlyn Jenner 06-01-15

In April, Bruce Jenner spoke about her transition to woman in a television special that drew nearly 17 million viewers.

On Monday, that woman revealed her new identity, appearing as Caitlyn Jenner on the cover of Vanity Fair. The photograph of Ms. Jenner in a revealing outfit, shot by Annie Leibovitz and accompanied by the headline “Call Me Caitlyn,” immediately became a sensation on social media when the magazine posted the article online.

Ms. Jenner, 65, who won an Olympic gold medal in the decathlon, has had a long public life. As Bruce Jenner, she had been on the cover of Playgirl, an author, an actor and most recently a part of the Kardashian family’s reality television empire. Earlier this year, reports emerged that Bruce Jenner was in the process of becoming a woman.

The Vanity Fair article represents the latest in a carefully calibrated series of public steps by Ms. Jenner and her team, as she moves toward the debut of a new reality show on the E! network that will begin airing at the end of July, and a new public life as a woman. A Twitter account, in the name of Caitlyn Jenner, was started at the same time that the Vanity Fair article was published online. Within hours, the account had more than 1.1 million followers.

I salute her on many levels: for coming to terms with her identity and doing it in public.  She didn’t have to, and I am sure there are a lot of people who feel morally superior to everyone else who are sniffing and sighing about how Ms. Jenner just had to wave it under everyone’s nose — or to use their favorite Freudian-laden metaphor — ram it down their throats.  It’s truly sad that they can’t understand and celebrate the complexity of life.

Or perhaps they’re afraid of their own questions and feelings.  That’s not to say that every prude is repressing a part of their nature, but you have to wonder in a world where understanding who we are is a never-ending process of discovery, they would be so adamantly opposed to and threatened by the life of an absolute stranger.

By the way, and I mean this in the best way, my first reaction to the photo was how much she reminds me of Julie Newmar.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Short Takes

The post-attack run of 3 million copies of Charlie Hebdo sold out.

Al-Qaeda in Yemen claimed responsibility for the Paris attack.

Feds file charges against a man who plotted to blow up the U.S. Capitol.

Secret Service executives demoted after report on scandals.

Climbers reach the top of El Capitan’s Dawn Wall in Yosemite.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Peace Prize

Meet Malala Yousafazi.

Who is Malala?” shouted the Taliban gunman who leapt onto a crowded bus in northwestern Pakistan two years ago, then fired a bullet into the head of Malala Yousafzai, a 15-year-old schoolgirl and outspoken activist.

That question has been answered many times since by Ms. Yousafzai herself, who survived her injuries and went on to become an impassioned advocate, global celebrity and, on Friday, the latest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize alongside the Indian child rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi.

Yet since that decisive gunshot in October 2012, Ms. Yousafzai and her compelling story have been reshaped by a range of powerful forces — often, though not always, for good — in ways that have left her straddling perilous fault lines of culture, politics and religion.

In Pakistan, conservatives assailed the schoolgirl as an unwitting pawn in an American-led assault. In the West, she came to embody the excesses of violent Islam, or was recruited by campaigners to raise money and awareness for their causes. Ms. Yousafzai, guided by her father and a public relations team, helped to transform that image herself, co-writing a best-selling memoir.

And now the Nobel Prize committee has provided a fresh twist on her story, recasting her as an envoy for South Asian peace.

Announcing the prize in Oslo on Friday, the committee chairman, Thorbjorn Jagland, said it was important for “a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism” — a resonant message in a week in which the Pakistani and Indian armies have exchanged shellfire across a disputed stretch of border, killing 20 villagers. But it was also a message that highlighted how far Ms. Yousafzai has come from her original incarnation as the schoolgirl who defied the Taliban and lived to tell the tale.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Short Takes

Twenty-six NATO foreign ministers pledged to combat ISIS.

Secretary of State Kerry says U.S. is open to talking with Iran about ISIS.

GM will pay compensation for 19 deaths caused by faulty ignitions.

President Obama presented the Congressional Medal of Honor to two Vietnam veterans.

August 2014 was the warmest August since they started keeping records.

Tropical Update: TS Odile is battering Baja California.

The Tigers beat the Twins 8-6.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Fond Farewell

Carl Kasell retires from NPR’s “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me,” the radio news quiz.  Panelist Roxanne Roberts tells the story.

We knew Carl Kasell’s last taping of “Wait Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me” was going to be a big deal, which is so not Carl. After 16 years as official judge and scorekeeper of the NPR quiz show, and 60 years in radio, he wanted his last show to be just like any other.

As if. Sprinkled throughout the hour were tributes from Stephen Colbert, Tom Hanks, Katie Couric and President Obama, which caused the 80-year-old veteran newsman and the 1,800 people packed into the Warner Theatre on Thursday to get all verklempt.

The crowd, as they say, went wild. We are talking public radio fans, so that meant standing ovations and loud applause, not underwear tossed onstage. At the end of the taping, they politely mobbed Carl like he was Springsteen or the Pope, thrusting items both cute (a Carl plush doll) and mildly creepy (a Carl face pillow) at him for autographs. I’m pretty sure I saw a guy in the second row tattoo Carl’s name across his heart.


So House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, Sens. Dick Durbin, Jeff Flake and Kay Hagan all attended a tribute dinner for him Wednesday night, along with the “Wait Wait” family, former colleagues, NPR brass and even some of Carl’s pals from high school. Pelosi presented him with a flag that had been flown over the Capitol, besting (just barely) Durbin’s gift of Garrett’s famous Chicago popcorn.

The man of the hour was, characteristically modest. “Thank you so much,” he told the audience. “I’ve had so much fun. I enjoyed every moment of it.” But official retirement? Not so much. “What does it mean? Putting things aside, doing nothing? Are you kidding?” he said. “I can’t live that way. I’ve got to do something, somewhere, somehow.”

Carl is now officially “Wait Wait’s” Scorekeeper Emeritus, but will continue to record voice mail greetings for winners on the show. (He’s already done more than 2,000.) But — since we’re sharing here — you probably want to know whose voice is on Carl’s home answering machine.

His wife’s. Carl’s king of the castle, but Mary Ann is queen.

Best wishes.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Standing Ovation

For digby for winning the Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.

Heather “Digby” Parton grew up all over the world as the daughter of a peripatetic employee of the vast American Military Industrial complex. After a traditional 1970s-style misspent youth and fitful education, she landed in Hollywood and spent a couple of decades as an executive in the film industry, pushing the usual paper and making the usual deals. Out of a need to vent her frustration with the state of America’s politics, she began writing daily political analysis, punditry, random musings and snark on her website “Hullabaloo” in 2002. It soon turned into a full-time vocation, obsession, and, surprisingly, a new career.


Digby has written for mainstream publications such as Salon and New York Magazine among others but maintains the blog as her primary publishing platform, still churning out a half dozen posts a day, sparking debate and riding the political zeitgeist from her beach cottage in Santa Monica, California. She remains a prominent voice of progressive thought and online activism, often linked by others with one simple line: “What Digby said.”

They could not have made a better choice.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Short Takes

Ukraine military confronts pro-Russia forces.

Boston commemorates the anniversary of the marathon bombings.

Rescuers rush to aid victims of sinking ferry in South Korea.

Former Army sergeant to receive Medal of Honor.

More signs of economic recovery as March sales rose.

The Tigers and Cleveland game was snowed out.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Pulitzer Prizes

Congratulations to all the winners.


Donna Tartt

“The Goldfinch” (Little, Brown and Company)

Finalists: Philipp Meyer, “The Son” (Ecco) ; Bob Shacochis, “The Woman Who Lost Her Soul” (Atlantic Monthly Press)


Annie Baker

“The Flick”

Finalists: Madeleine George, “The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence”; Lisa Kron (book and lyrics), Jeanine Tesori (music), “Fun Home”

Missed it by this much.  (Assuming “this much” is a snowball’s chance in Hell.)

Saturday, February 22, 2014