Wednesday, November 27, 2013

'so did you see any shows?'

You know that I love Las Vegas as another-world getaway, but, let me tell you, I'm a really boring person to go to Vegas with.  I can spend a couple hours at a time zoned out in front of a slot machine or perfectly content just having a cup of coffee and people-watching.  When I get home, friends ask, "So did you guys see any shows?" or "Did you find any good restaurants?", and that's all normal Vegas stuff, and I usually say No, because, let's face it, I'm no foodie and I have no interest in seeing Celine Dion or Donny & Marie.

As I write this, I'm sitting in our room on the 21st floor of the Aria Hotel, looking at the flashy neon of the Las Vegas Strip and enjoying the moment.  Meanwhile, Jerry called.  He was just in a multi-car accident (he was sitting at a stop light, not moving), so the rental car is dented up but he's okay.  Reality sneaks back into my awareness.
And, by the way, we did go a show -- Zarkana, a Cirque du Soleil show here at the Aria.
Home tomorrow for Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


The heck with it.  It's my birthday, and I'm gonna go to Las Vegas.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

first, the non-radical stuff

I didn't set out to skip two weeks of blogging.  It's not like I didn't have anything to share.  Maybe I just wasn't ready to share.

Remember when I said I was feeling the need to make a radical change of some sort?  Well, that radical change may be imminent or it might not happen at all.  Whichever it is, getting close to doing something radical has re-invigorated me in some weird way, even if it doesn't end up happening.

On the same-as-usual front, I've been going to too many Timberwolves games and a few plays and even a Scotch class.

The Guthrie Theater still gives me complimentary tickets to selected performances of most of its plays, which I appreciate.  Two plays that I saw this fall were Tribes and Skiing on Broken Glass, two relatively new works given great interpretations by the Guthrie.

Something new, something old:  The Guthrie has been doing Dickens' A Christmas Carol every holiday season for 30-some years -- every year, a masterful production -- and, even though I've seen it before several times, there were the tickets, and I took my son Tom, who hadn't seen it, and it was fun.  The sobering fact, seeing it on the 17th of November, is that some people are already thinking about Christmas.  Some people are already listening to Christmas music.  Some people are already planning on Christmas-shopping on Thanksgiving at those awful retailers that will be open that day.  Help!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

utter worthlessness, part 2

And then there is the silliest of political trends -- "ranked-choice" voting, which is now in place here in oh-so-progressive Minneapolis.  Two days ago, the election for Mayor (and City Council and other city positions) took place, and because of the new loosened rules, there were 35 -- count 'em, 35! -- candidates on the ballot for Mayor.  Voters were to pick their favorite of the 35 -- then, if they wish, a 2nd choice and a 3rd choice.  One candidate ended up with 36% of the 1st-choice votes and enough 2nd- or 3rd-choice votes to somehow put her over the top.

The way I see it, ranked-choice voting will in the future be a boon for fringe candidates, and the loose rules will be perfect for anybody who might be desperate to see his or her name in print.

Certainly, today's two-party system is screwed up, but a replacement for it should be something other than laughable... or dangerous.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

the utter worthlessness of 2013 democracy

Consider the plight of the honest, intelligent, well-intentioned members of the U.S. Congress, assuming such members still exist.  They might have great ideas of solving some problems, but nobody hears them.  The media only hears the attention-grabbing loudmouths like Ted Cruz or Michele Bachmann, who get into the news for trying to be even more outrageous and nuts than their past idiocies.  And the plutocrats like the oil-rich Koch brothers keep buying elected officials, who then are not allowed to have a conscience of their own.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

botannical madness in the inner city, part 3

It's November 5, and most of my patio plants are still surviving even though Minneapolis has had freezing temperatures -- maybe because it didn't get too cold and the plants are next to the building.  I'm hearing that we may be having some snow tonight, so my beloved plants may be meeting their Waterloo.  It was a good season.  Thanks for your advice, Jon and Nancy.

Monday, November 4, 2013

mid-autumn sports update

When you stop and think about it, are we really better or worse off having professional sports in our lives?  Is it merely a cute harmless distraction from reality?

I think it depends on which teams you choose to love.  If, like me, you mainly focus on the Minnesota and Philadelphia teams because of their connections with our lifetime mailing addresses, then it can be argued that having professional sports in our lives causes endless misery and heartbreak, and, if I wanted to dwell on that notion, I'd start harping on football:  how horrible the Minnesota Vikings (1-8 so far) are this year or how the Philadelphia Eagles have no credible offense.

But, no, I'm in a Pollyanna mood, so let's find something to be glad about:

Basketball.  The NBA's season is only a week old, but for the Minnesota Timberwolves, my bad-luck favorite, it's been good:  3 wins, no losses.  They look amazing if they can avoid the injuries that usually doom them.  And the Philadelphia 76ers, predicted before the season started to be the worst team, are also 3 and 0, including  a victory over the champion Miami Heat.

Unfortunately, three games just won't do it -- each team plays 79 more games between now and April -- but Wolves and Sixers fans can feel good today and harbor some sort of guarded hope.
Hockey:  My son Tom and I had a wonderful time last night seeing the Minnesota Wild defeat the New Jersey Devils, 4-0.  The Wild seem to be having a pretty good season.  I don't follow hockey too closely, but there is something about the energy of seeing hockey in person, along with 18,000 fans who all understand hockey rules better than I do, that draws me in.  Go, Wild.  Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Flyers are awful this year.  Fortunately, we keep expectations low.
Added later:  By 9 P.M. that evening, neither the Timberwolves nor the 76ers were still undefeated.  I may have jinxed them.

Friday, November 1, 2013

the wicked people are gone for now

The Broadway touring version of Wicked was back in town for a few weeks and finally finished its run last weekend.  I mean, Wicked isn't a bad show to see once, and I saw it several years ago and for me once was plenty.  Somehow they manage to still fill the seats.  But the good and bad witches are gone at last, and now I don't have to give directions quite as often to confused-looking suburbanites as I'm walking back from the gym.