Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Friday, November 8, 2013

Ten Years

Ten years ago today — Saturday, November 8, 2003 — I wrote this:

Here Goes…

Welcome to Bark Bark Woof Woof, a blog dedicated to my take on life, the universe and everything with my unique sense of dry amusement. The title comes from a guy I once worked for who said “bark bark woof woof” instead of “et cetera, et cetera,” and in memory of my dog, Sam, who was my best friend for 13 years.

Since then, I’ve moved to two different places, been through three computers, I’m on my second Mustang, and written close to 20,000 posts here.  Three presidential elections, ten Detroit Tiger seasons, a couple of hurricanes, one off-off-Broadway production, over a thousand music videos, theatre festivals, car shows, innumerable cultural references to Mel Brooks, M*A*S*H, and the Marx Brothers, and all — I hope — with the sense of humor and insight that I aspired to when I said that I was just “trying to get through life without bumping into the furniture.”

Something like this does not happen in a vacuum, even when some of my posts suck.  I started out by being a commenter at other blogs and met like-minded people who amazed and inspired me to try it for myself.  That’s how I met NTodd, who, it turns out, spent his childhood in my home town, and who served — and still does — as mentor and touchstone for what’s worth writing about.  Soon I met a lot of other bloggers and made friends and actually met a couple of them in person.  That is one of the enigmas of this craft: you form close bonds with people you’ve never met.

Among those are Melissa McEwan at Shakesville, who one day casually dropped me a note inviting me to be a contributor.  I was stunned and honored beyond words, and from that has grown a bond that has taught me so much about being a better person, a listener, and a feminist.  There is so much to admire about Melissa’s strength, courage, and just plain Liss-ness.

Michael J.W. Stickings at The Reaction has been a good friend and teacher, and being a part of his group is both an honour (the blog is based in Canada) and a welcome challenge to keep up to the standards that he sets for liberalism unbound.  Every year when I go to Stratford we talk about meeting in person, and some day it will happen.

None of what you see here would be possible without the help and guidance of my brother CLW.  Not just on the technical side — the countless hours of design work front and back and support when hackers attack — but also for the brotherly love and inspiration of topics and views that go way beyond C++.

I know that if I listed all the people who have been a part of these ten years, I’d be rattling off names for a long, long, time, and the cake would get stale.  So let me say to each of you who has been with me since 2003 or if you just clicked on the link last week: thank you.  I appreciate you more than you know, and as Bilbo Baggins famously said, “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”

And with that… here’s the cake.

BBWW 10th Birthday Cake

What’s next?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

It’s Not All About You, Glenn

I’ve had a great deal of respect for Glenn Greenwald’s work over the years, and I still think he’s a good reporter in a lot of respects.  So I’m disappointed to see that he’s let his role in l’affaire Snowden turn him into some kind of caricature of a crusading journalist out to tell The Truth no matter what happens.

Case in point: he is telling us via Democracy Now that the alerts issued by the State Department that closed a number of embassies in Muslim areas around the world are a thinly-veiled plan to silence him.

“Here we are in the midst of one the most intense debates and sustain debates that we’ve had in a very long time in this country over the dangers of excess surveillance, and suddenly an administration that has spent two claiming that it has decimated Al-Qaeda decides that there is this massive threat that involves the closing of embassies and consulates throughout the world,” Greenwald explained. “And within literally an amount of hours, the likes of Saxby Chambliss and Lindsey Graham join with the White House and Democrats in Congress — who, remember, are the leading defenders of the NSA at this point — to exploit that terrorist threat, and to insist that it shows that the NSA and these programs are necessary.”

This whole story went from serious to sheesh when people became obsessed about where Edward Snowden conducted his personal hygiene while stuck in the transit zone at the Moscow airport, and when the reporter who broke the story made it more about him than the fact that why yes, the NSA does know when you clicked on HotStuds On-Line and told your wife it was just a silly billing mistake from Comcast.

HT to LGF.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Play’s The Thing

miami1acts_home 06-28-13I’m sure you’re all anxious to hear how the play Ask Me Anything went last night at the Miami 1-Acts Festival at the New Theatre.

In short (and yes, it’s a short play), it went great.  The cast of Glenn Hutchinson as Steve, Jordan Hale as Martin, and Joel Kolker as Leo were masterfully directed by William Roudebush and gave the play dimensions and moments that were really amazing.

Last night was the first of two programs of short plays: the second batch goes tonight, and then on Sunday, both programs are presented back to back.  As with festivals of this kind where the audience sees a series of plays in rapid succession and all the actors from all the plays are sitting on the stage waiting for their play (and the order of presentation is selected by drawing numbers out of a hat), it was a quick and fluid evening with a lot of different styles of plays and topics.  I know I’m not exactly objective, but I think my cast did the best of all with polished and tuned performances, and it sounded like the audience thought so as well.

If you’re in the neighborhood, you’ll have one more chance to see it on Sunday, July 7 at 5:30 p.m. at the New Theatre, 1645 SW 107th Avenue, Miami.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Another Op’nin’, Another Show

The Miami 1-Acts Festival kicks off tonight at the New Theatre in Miami (get directions here).

miami1acts_home 06-28-13

Ask Me Anything, directed by the incomparable William Roudebush, is in it.  This is the second production of this short play — the first one was at the Short Cuts 3 up in Lake Worth in May — and I’m really looking forward to it.

If you can’t make it tonight, it also runs again on Sunday, July 7, at 5:30 p.m.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Dramatic News

My play “Ask Me Anything” has been selected for the New Theatre’s Miami 1-Acts Festival Summer 2013.

The New Theatre is one of the best theatres in Florida. It was the theatre that first produced “Anna of the Tropics” by Nilo Cruz that went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 2003, and I am beyond words to have my play selected by them.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sunday, December 30, 2012

An Appreciation

I want to take this time as I do just about every year to say thank you to the people in my life who have made this a good year in a lot of respects, all things considered.

I made it through with my health and sanity relatively unscathed, and I have my immediate family all in good condition and spirits, and we all got through 2012 with few complaints. At my nephew’s wedding in Indiana in October, I realized again how blessed I am to have both of my parents to guide and inspire me, my brothers and sister to remind me of the oneness of family, and extended family to share joy and sorrow with. At my 21st trip to the William Inge Festival, I renewed friendships with people who had been a part of my life for many years, and in some ways still are. This was a good year for renewal.

I still have a place to work and good people and friends to work with, doing good things for the hundreds of thousands of students and teachers in Miami-Dade County Public Schools, and in October I marked ten years there, the longest I’ve held a job at one place in my life. The last couple of years have been tough for all of us with cutbacks in the budget and added responsibilities for all of us. But we made it through in good stead and I’m happy and humbled to be a part of the effort. We have had our own shares of testing times — taking on new duties with less money to do it — but we made it through, and so to all of my colleagues and friends, thanks for everything. See you next week.

This past August marked the eleventh anniversary of my return to Miami. It hardly seems possible, but this is the longest I’ve stayed in one place since I graduated from high school, surpassing the eight years I lived in Colorado. Of course, helping me feel back at home has been the friendship and companionship of Bob and the Old Professor, who are still enjoying their retirements and the joys of volunteer work. Our regular Friday nights out to dinner and the wonderful meals on occasion are a great part of my life, not to mention the joy that Bob and I get out of using the OP as our straight man, so to speak. Never was there a better role model since George Burns or Margaret Dumont. And without Bob, my enthusiasm for cars and great humor would be sorely diminished.

There also the big wide world of the blogosphere out there that provides endless insight as well as maddening inanity. But it’s all a part of the mix. Bark Bark Woof Woof marked nine years back in November. This year was the most prolific (if not insightful) with over 2,00 posts — some of them even worth reading — and a new look and platform thanks to CLW and WordPress. I owe so much to so many people who have linked and promoted this little bit of the blogosphere, especially Rick at SFDB, and those who have included me in their effort: Melissa McEwan at Shakesville, and Michael J.W. Stickings at The Reaction. I have become a lot better at this largely because of them.

And then, of course, there’s you, dear Reader. Believe it or not, I don’t do this just because I love to write. Well, I do love to write, but it would seem to be a hollow effort if I didn’t think there was someone out there to read it and certainly keep me on my toes. You have made this blog a joy to write, and I am always thinking of you when I sit down here in the early morning to look at the world with dry bemusement and try not to bump into the furniture on my way to the coffee maker.

So here we go into 2013. What’s next?

PS: You can get a t-shirt with that cool picture of Mustang Bobby and Sam at the BBWW Shop. Get yours today.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Book Tour

One of our favorite activities at Stratford is exploring the little shops, including the bookstores. Last year I stopped in at Fanfare Books on Erie Street, they happily offered to stock copies of my play. When we stopped in this morning, I found they were down to one copy, having sold one just yesterday, so we re-stocked.

It’s the yellow one.

We also stopped in at Callan Books on York Street, where they still have a few copies, but they took more for good measure.

To be fair, I picked up a couple of good reads in both stores.

Book Tour

One of our favorite activities at Stratford is exploring the little shops, including the bookstores. Last year I stopped in at Fanfare Books on Erie Street, they happily offered to stock copies of my play. When we stopped in this morning, I found they were down to one copy, having sold one just yesterday, so we re-stocked.

It’s the yellow one.

We also stopped in at Callan Books on York Street, where they still have a few copies, but they took more for good measure.

To be fair, I picked up a couple of good reads in both stores.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Thank You

It is very nice to be recognized for good work, especially if you enjoy doing that work and are not expecting recognition. Peter Schorsch at Saint Petersblog has nominated Bark Bark Woof Woof as his choice for “Best National Blog: Blog written by Floridians that covers primarily national politics” in the 2012 Netroots Awards. To say I am honored… well, it goes without saying, but I’ll say it… I’m honored. But to be nominated by a fellow writer whose work I also admire is terrific.

Thank You

It is very nice to be recognized for good work, especially if you enjoy doing that work and are not expecting recognition. Peter Schorsch at Saint Petersblog has nominated Bark Bark Woof Woof as his choice for “Best National Blog: Blog written by Floridians that covers primarily national politics” in the 2012 Netroots Awards. To say I am honored… well, it goes without saying, but I’ll say it… I’m honored. But to be nominated by a fellow writer whose work I also admire is terrific.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Pay to Play

I’ve been invited to attend CityWrights, a weekend gathering of playwrights here in Miami in June. It’s going to be a busy few days of seminars and workshops, and it will be a chance to connect — and re-connect — with a lot of important people in the business. I’ll also get a chance to submit one of my short plays to the City Theatre that puts on the Summer Shorts series every year. I am really looking forward to it.

The registration fee is $275 (I don’t need to book a hotel room; I live here) and it gets me into all of the events during the day. That’s a pretty steep price; that’s more than what I pay to attend the Inge Festival (not including airfare), but then, they’re doing it at a very nice venue and bringing in some great people. It also goes to support a worthy cause: local theatre and local playwrights here in South Florida.

So, I am humbly offering you the chance to support a worthy cause; namely, help me with the registration fee. If you are so inclined, click on the Donate button on the right sidebar under “Shameless Begging” and give whatever you want.

I am willing to offer something in exchange other than just a series of blog posts about theatre next month. For a donation of $30 or more, I will send you a copy of my play Can’t Live Without You in acting edition form, neatly bound. Just drop me an e-mail with your mailing address once you’ve made your donation.

I realize that this is the first time I’ve ever asked for direct donations (my hints in the past were too subtle, I guess), and I’m aware of the fact I am asking a large favor. If you can help, thank you. If not, thank you anyway.

Pay to Play

I’ve been invited to attend CityWrights, a weekend gathering of playwrights here in Miami in June. It’s going to be a busy few days of seminars and workshops, and it will be a chance to connect — and re-connect — with a lot of important people in the business. I’ll also get a chance to submit one of my short plays to the City Theatre that puts on the Summer Shorts series every year. I am really looking forward to it.

The registration fee is $275 (I don’t need to book a hotel room; I live here) and it gets me into all of the events during the day. That’s a pretty steep price; that’s more than what I pay to attend the Inge Festival (not including airfare), but then, they’re doing it at a very nice venue and bringing in some great people. It also goes to support a worthy cause: local theatre and local playwrights here in South Florida.

So, I am humbly offering you the chance to support a worthy cause; namely, help me with the registration fee. If you are so inclined, click on the Donate button on the right sidebar under “Shameless Begging” and give whatever you want.

I am willing to offer something in exchange other than just a series of blog posts about theatre next month. For a donation of $30 or more, I will send you a copy of my play Can’t Live Without You in acting edition form, neatly bound. Just drop me an e-mail with your mailing address once you’ve made your donation.

I realize that this is the first time I’ve ever asked for direct donations (my hints in the past were too subtle, I guess), and I’m aware of the fact I am asking a large favor. If you can help, thank you. If not, thank you anyway.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Welcome New Readers

My post on David Brooks’s screed the other day got picked up and quoted by Tim Mak at Politico. He even used it as the closing quote of the post. Very nice.

Next thing you know, my readership will go through the roof, I’ll get noticed by the big bloggers, maybe even The Maddow Blog, and then I’ll get invited to be a pundit on some cable show and maybe even go on MSNBC and see if Phil Griffin remembers me from high school. Then I’ll be famous and I’ll make tons of money and I can quit my job and do nothing but blog all day from my patio.

Or not.

If this is your first time stopping by, welcome.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Quite an Honor

Miami New Times’ Riptide blog is ranking the top ten political blogs in South Florida. The list will be made public tomorrow…

But first, we wanted to recognize ten other blogs that deserve honorable mention for the public service they provide. While they don’t aggressively confront subjects like our top ten picks, these bloggers still make time to criticize boneheaded decisions by local government and shine a light on the ugly side of political candidates.

And thanks to being in alphabetical order, look who’s first.

Bark Bark Woof Woof
Started in 2003 by a moderate-to-liberal gay man with a background in theater, Bark Bark Woof Woof puts a farcical spin on right-wing conservative values and candidates. The author operates under the nom de plume “Mustang Bobby” and calls the bullshit streaming out of GOP presidential contenders.

Thanks. It’s nice to be recognized for the work.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

An Appreciation

I want to take this time as I do just about every year to say thank you to the people in my life who have made this a good year in a lot of respects, all things considered.

I made it through with my health and sanity relatively unscathed, and I have my immediate family all in good condition and spirits, and we all got through 2011 with few complaints. At our family reunion in Santa Fe in August, I realized how blessed I am to have both of my parents to guide and inspire me, my brothers and sister to remind me of the oneness of family, and extended family to share joy and sorrow with. At my 40th year high school class reunion in September, I renewed friendships with people who had been a part of my life for many years, and in some ways still are. This was a good year for renewal.

I still have a place to work and good people and friends to work with, doing good things for the hundreds of thousands of students and teachers in Miami-Dade County Public Schools. The last couple of years have been tough for all of us with cutbacks in the budget and added responsibilities for all of us. But we made it through in good stead and I’m happy and humbled to be a part of the effort. We have had our own shares of testing times — taking on new duties with less money to do it — but we made it through, and so to all of my colleagues and friends, thanks for everything. See you Tuesday.

This past August marked the tenth anniversary of my return to Miami. It hardly seems possible, but this is the longest I’ve stayed in one place since I graduated from high school, surpassing the eight years I lived in Colorado. Of course, helping me feel back at home has been the friendship and companionship of Bob and the Old Professor, who are still enjoying their retirements and the joys of volunteer work. Our regular Friday nights out to dinner and the wonderful meals on occasion are a great part of my life, not to mention the joy that Bob and I get out of using the OP as our straight man, so to speak. Never was there a better role model since George Burns or Margaret Dumont. And without Bob, my enthusiasm for cars and great humor would be sorely diminished.

There also the big wide world of the blogosphere out there that provides endless insight as well as maddening inanity. But it’s all a part of the mix. Bark Bark Woof Woof marked eight years back in November. This year was the most prolific (if not insightful) with over 2,150 posts; some of them even worth reading. I owe so much to so many people who have linked and promoted this little bit of the blogosphere, especially Rick at SFDB, and those who have included me in their effort: Melissa McEwan at Shakesville, Michael at The Reaction, and Kenneth Quinnell at FPC. I have become a lot better at this largely because of them.

And then, of course, there’s you, dear Reader. Believe it or not, I don’t do this just because I love to write. Well, I do love to write, but it would seem to be a hollow effort if I didn’t think there was someone out there to read it and certainly keep me on my toes. You have made this blog a joy to write, and I am always thinking of you when I sit down here in the early morning to look at the world with dry bemusement and try not to bump into the furniture on my way to the coffee maker.

So here we go into 2012. What’s next?

PS: You can get a t-shirt with that cool picture of Mustang Bobby and Sam at the BBWW Shop. Get yours today.