Thursday, November 8, 2018

Fifteen Years

Today marks fifteen years since November 8, 2003, when I sat down to set up this blog on Blogger and wrote the first post of Bark Bark Woof Woof.  Back then I was living in a little apartment in unincorporated Miami-Dade County, I was a little over a year into my job with the public schools, and I was in my early fifties, single, and had visions of becoming part of the burgeoning blogosphere and a famous writer.  We were a year away from the 2004 election and outraged at the excesses of the Bush administration and vowing to take our country back from the warmongering and arrogant GOP.  I drove a Mustang convertible and had a Pontiac station wagon in the parking lot awaiting restoration, knowing it would be another ten years before it would be considered old enough to enter in antique car shows.

Well, fifteen years later, I’ve moved twice, changed servers twice, updated the blog from Blogger to WordPress with the invaluable guidance and expertise of my brother, and, according to the stats counter, written over 28,000 posts.  With a few exceptions due to weather and internet access, I’ve written every post and written something (or at least put up something) every day, be it a simple observation — How about those Tigers? — or a long essay on something that strikes me as important and worth sharing, be it marriage equality or nostalgia about leaving my old home town.  Much water has gone under the bridge, but some things have not changed: I still work for the public schools, I still have a Mustang convertible (though not the same one), and I still have the Pontiac, now restored and going to car shows.  And I’m still finding things to wax long or short about, and I’m still getting up at 3 a.m. to look at the world and try to find some way to make sense of it all.

This is the place where I say thank you to you, the reader, for coming here whenever you do and seeing what I’ve put up, and for those of you who comment, a sincere thanks for your support, your guidance, your corrections, and your indulgence.  I’ve gotten to know many of you in real life and I truly appreciate your friendship and support.

By the way, when I started this blog I made a somewhat diligent effort to keep my real name off the pages because I was pretty sure that writing an opinion blog while working for the public schools could cause issues.  Well, I’m less than a year away from retirement, I’ve rarely if ever written about anything to do with my work (and when I have it’s been supportive), and it doesn’t take a crack team of cyberanalysts to figure out who I am.  So I’ll tell you: my real name is Philip Middleton Williams, and if you want to know about my playwriting, you can look me up on the New Play Exchange.  I will still blog under the name Mustang Bobby and credit my alter-ego Bobby Cramer with all the work because he’s still a large part of my creative writing.  He will get his turn on stage next March when “Can’t Live Without You” opens at the Willow Theatre in Boca Raton.

Anyway, fifteen years down and many more to come.  What’s next?

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Dramatic News

The Playgroup LLC and the Willow Theatre of Boca Raton present:

Donny Hollenbeck thinks he has created the perfect life for himself. He has a lucrative writing career, a nice girlfriend, and a great-looking home in Florida. But when Bobby Cramer, a character from a novel he abandoned years ago, pays him a visit, he starts to realize the place where his dreams took a wrong turn.

Opening Friday, March 30 through Sunday, April 7, 2019.  Subscription sales start today; individual tickets go on sale on September 1.  For more information, click here.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Friday, March 2, 2018

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Home And Garden

My play “All Together Now” opens tomorrow night at the Willow Theatre in Boca Raton, Florida, produced by The Playgroup and directed by Joyce Sweeney.

Here’s a look at the set, designed by Nick LoMonte.  As several of the characters note, “Wow, this is a nice place.”

Photo by David Ehrlich.

It’s what I imagined the home of Paul Henderson and Adam Connolly would look like when I wrote the play.  And that’s the best thing I can hope for.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

“Can’t Live Without You” Memories

Ten years ago tonight, “Can’t Live Without You” opened at Manhattan Rep. It was my first — but hopefully not my last — play produced in New York. I made the trip from Miami to see it, and along with my parents who flew in from Toledo and my brother and sister-in-law who came up from Baltimore, and my nephew who came in from the upper East Side, we sat in the tiny (40 seat) theatre above a Duane Reade and watched as Donny, Bobby, Anna, Barbara, and Nick dealt with the changes that come with facing real life even if it’s prompted by a fictional character.

Ten years later “Can’t Live Without You” shoulders on; it placed in The Playgroup’s 2017 playwriting contest, and hope springs eternal for a production in South Florida where the play takes place. As Bobby says, “Hope is my greatest weakness.”

Thank you, Rachel Charlop-Powers, Tom Pilutik, Gary Lee Mahmoud, Will Poston, Mary Fassino, Adam Natale, and Ken Wolf for making this playwright’s dream come true.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Friday, September 29, 2017

“Exquisite”

After the reading of my play “A Moment of Clarity” at the Midwest Dramatists Conference this morning, one of the audience members told me that the play was “exquisite.”

I’m not going to argue with that.

We have had a lot of great plays shared today and I’m looking forward to more tomorrow.  And the rumors of the death of theatre in America are greatly exaggerated.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Friday, November 6, 2015

Twelve Years

This Sunday marks the twelfth anniversary of the start of this blog.  Since very few people stop by here on Sundays, I thought I’d take a moment while I have your attention to note the occasion.

A lot has happened since that first post, but I still look forward every day to taking note of the big and little things that are going on in our crazy world.  As I’ve said on every other anniversary, I couldn’t do this — and I wouldn’t — if I didn’t think I was at least giving you something to think about, to laugh about, to remember, or even take action.

So, thank you.  What’s next?

Monday, February 16, 2015

A Nice Surprise

A friend called me late last week and asked if I subscribed to Hemmings Classic Car magazine.  When I told him I didn’t, he said I should get the April 2015 edition and read Executive Editor Richard Lentinello’s column.  He then proceeded to read me the fifth paragraph about his visit to the Lake Mirror Classic in Lakeland, Florida and the blue 1988 Pontiac 6000 LE station wagon he spotted at the street show.

That’s my car.  Needless to say, I was stunned, humbled, honored, and blown away to hear what he wrote, and yesterday that friend gave me his copy of the magazine.  To get recognition at a show or national meet for my car is one thing, but to have it singled out in one of the most prestigious and well-respected automobile publications it quite another.

 

Hemmings Classic Car Lentinello April 2015

Here’s the car in question at Lake Mirror last October.

004PS: I now have a subscription to Hemmings Classic Car magazine.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Winding Down

Today is my last day at work before the two-week winter holiday.  Yesterday we had our annual office luncheon and Secret Santa gift exchange (thank you, Carmen!).  I missed that part of it because I was doing our first-ever live webinar in financial training.

This week has already been interesting.  On Monday the transmission in the Mustang basically fell apart, so I’ve been driving the Pontiac all week.  (At least I know its transmission is in good shape.)  I’ve been in rehearsal for a one-act play that I wrote for the New Theatre’s Miami 1-Acts Festival winter season.  Normally the playwright isn’t involved with the play after the first reading or so, but in this case the director couldn’t find an actor to play one of the roles, so for the first time since 1995, I’m performing on stage.  I’ve never acted in a play that I wrote, so this is an interesting learning experience as I occasionally wonder who wrote this shit?

Miami 1-Acts Winter 2014

I’ve also had a play selected for the Miami version of the national One-Minute Play Festival that goes on in January, so I’ll be meeting with the director of my offering for that sometime in the next couple of weeks.

This is my roundabout way of telling you that things are going to get a little quiet after today until New Year’s.  Posting will be light and variable through the break, but I will be here when I’m not doing something else like working on another play still in the works or one of the several other projects, plus a crossword or two.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Short Takes

Chemical weapons exposure in Iraq acknowledged by U.S.

Court rules in favor of bans on marriage equality.

U.S. makes secret contact with Iran about ISIS.

No further outbreaks of Ebola in Texas; all those being monitored have been cleared.

Some Navy SEALs are cashing in on claiming to have killed bin Laden.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

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.