Thursday, September 04, 2008

 
Something sweet happened Tuesday. Fritz and I were at a yarn shop near Portsmouth, picking colors for his next bargello project. I was on one knee, pulling strands of yarn out of the rack when a woman came into the area, gave me a second look and asked, “Are you The Opera Man?” I replied that I was, realizing that she had to have been in the audience for one of my pre-performance talks. We had a pleasant conversation and she was kind enough to say that my presentation had added to her understanding and appreciation of Verdi’s La Forza del Destino, an opera previously unfamiliar to her.

The series of hi-def screenings of opera in Exeter has turned into the Ioka Theater’s most financially successful current venture, and is currently keeping the place open. Think of it—they show three different series of movies concurrently in the big theater upstairs: latest releases from Hollywood (this week Tropic Thunder, the new Ben Stiller, Robert Downey, Jr. action comedy); art films from all eras; and cult or otherwise unusual films. But these films aren’t pulling in enough money to pay expenses, and the operas are.

This is like saying of someone that acting is his day job. It’s an uncommon and very welcome situation when a movie with half naked men shooting off military-issue rifles and blowing things up can’t pay the bills but a piece of high culture about a woman dying of TB while singing in a style not involving rock screams can. Whether box office receipts will pick up now that Exeter Academy is back in session is anybody’s guess, but the Ioka has scheduled three ballet performances and an another series of operas--Barber of Seville, Norma, Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk(!!)--from several Italian opera houses, and four others—Otello, Romeo et Juliette, Don Giovanni, Rigoletto—from the Salzburg Festival.

I’ve been asked to continue and am working out details of how to be “there” for the two Barber of Seville dates while Fritz and I are on vacation in the south of France. I’ve proposed recording my talks to be played just before the screenings.

*******

We both stayed with the Republican Convention last night to check out Governor Pulin. I’ve been embarrassed for John McCain as he’s tried to assure us that being a mayor of a town of less than ten thousand people is adequate preparation for possibly becoming Commander-in-Chief should the president be incapacitated or die. In the event, she delivered her lines with confidence and an appealing enthusiasm. Her background,however, is still disastrously thin no matter how you look at it.


Alas, the American people are, on the whole, so ignorant of (or uninterested in) politics that the fact Ms Palin proved herself tremendously camera-ready last night will be enough for a dangerously large number of them when the time comes to cast ballots. She will certainly galvanize the ultra conservative religious Right that has so far been stand-offish with McCain.

It’s interesting that while young Levi Johnston had been scrubbed and groomed into a semblance of Ozzie and Harriet small town middle-class Sunday Best, he was not introduced. All the conservative, religious Republicans were so busy fawning over the Palin women for having NOT aborted, they forgot that under ordinary circumstances--or if it had been one of Obama's daughters--they would have been the first ones shouting shame! Sin! FORNICATION!

The question their embrace of the teenagers who didn’t use birth control and who conceived out of wedlock raises is obviously this: if they’re an acceptable family, one worthy to receive ovations at the convention, then what about gay and lesbian families? Why not us?

However, the bottom line is that McCain’s extremely risky choice for VP has paid off handsomely, at least for the near term. Sarah Palin is solidly on the political map. The real campaign will show if she can sustain the big initial impression she made last night.

*******

Paving has been completed here. I’m not a great fan of blacktop and would have preferred to leave things natural; but the fact we’re on a hillside with a great deal of loose soil meant we had to pave or face wash-outs of our road and parking areas. Also, the big snow blower would not work on the gravel road. Last winter, pins kept shearing because stones jammed in the mechanism, something that will not happen with blacktop. And asphalt will absorb a large amount of winter sun, helping to melt snow and ice. Here are the pictures:


This is the sand and rock sweep of road heading downhill after grading and compacting.




The parking area to the east of the house as the big pile of rock from the blasting of the cliff was being cleared, and the resulting level area.


Pouring the asphalt.


Rolling and finishing.

*******

The Wit and Wisdom of George W. Bush And Dan Quayle

<< Will the highways on the internet become more few?



>> Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child.

Comments:
I think you'll be very happy in the snow and ice with that blacktop.... And when you started talking about someone noticing you down on your knees, I got got a little worried......
 
I loved this Jon Stewart clip on the conservatives' response to Palin -- he's brilliant.
go to http://snurl.com/3n5we [www_thedailyshow_com] (which expands to:
http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=184086&title=sarah-palin-gender-card )

-- liz
 
Given McCain's history of skin cancer, should he be elected, Palin is one sunburn away from the presidency. Pretty scary.

Pavement is good!! It'll make it a whole lot easier for everyone to get to the top of the hill.
 
Lewis--Now there's nothing wrong about being on one's knees occasionally. :-)

Liz--thank you for coming by and commenting--I like your site, all the food and recipes a lot and will be back

Marl--Part of our plan for the house is that it be filled often with friends, colleagues, relatives, etc. We want to make sure that getting up the hill is easy for everybody.
 
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