Where the hell are the singing cats?

I never knew much about the musical Cats.  I remember how it took Broadway by storm when I was a little kid and soon enough the Boston and Providence theater scenes each welcomed various Cats productions.  As a kid, it seemed strange to me, but so did all musicals.  As I grew up, I came to enjoy Les Miserables, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Phantom of the OperaCats always remained a mystery and when it bade farewell to Broadway a few years ago, I figured it was all for the best.  Fast forward to January of this year and Swedish Girl informed me that she bought tickets to see Cats.  It’s in Boston for just one week on its 25th anniversary tour.  I wouldn’t say I was excited at the news, but I thought it would be interesting.

That was an overstatement.  I thought it was horrible.  Actually, more frivolous and foolish, than horrible.  As I was crammed into my 1928 era balcony seat at the Boston Opera House before the show, I read the playbil and discovered that Cats is based on a book of poems by T.S. Eliot.  That was pretty cool, I thought.  It lends the musical instant credibility.  Well, by the time I saw nearly two dozen adults prancing around dressed as cats, all credibility was shot.  I haven’t done any research pre or post, so I have no idea what, if any, allegory Eliot was shooting for.  Who are the jellicles?  Who is Old Deuteronomy?  What is the deal with that cat ascending skyward in the deus ex machina?

It was all lost on me.  I honestly tried to pay close attention and look for the inner meaning, but all I could see was a group of silly adults licking themselves and dancing around.  It was torture.  Two college-aged ladies three rows in front of us (who had also been at the Hyatt Hotel bar, as we were, before the show) left halfway through Act 1.  Around that time, Swedish Girl asked me if I liked it.  I rejoiced because I thought this meant that she also hated it.  I was already thinking ahead to which bar we could visit while the rest of those suckers were languishing through Act 2. 

No dice.  She loved it.  She couldn’t find the allegory, either, but she loved the costumes, the music, and the lighting.  I pleaded my case and tried to get an early release for good behavior by asking if I could leave and head to a bar.  Nope.  I had to sit through Act 2.  The only reprieve I got was that Swedish Girl said I could take a nap.  But the half-pot of strong coffee I drank earlier was keeping me wide awake.  I flipped through the playbill and found some minor solace in the fact that Act 2 was one scene shorter than Act 1. 

Three parting shots:

(1) Why the hell does Old Deuteronomy just sit there on stage during the entire intermission?  Is this what was done in the London and New York productions, or did this actor just not have anything better to do?

(2) One thing that put a smile on my face during this debacle was the memory from David Letterman’s very first episode of his CBS Late Show in 1993.  The camera cut to Paul Newman in the audience and he angrily yelled out, “Where the hell are the singing cats?”  Classic TV moment.  I’ll have to look for it on youtube.  It’s almost 14 years later and that still cracks me up.

(3) Take my word for it and avoid Cats.  It may be coming to a city near you.  If it does, you’d be better off going to the cinema to see Road Hogs (which looks like it could surpass Gigli and Glitter as the worst film ever made).

Preserving the Electric Slide

Richard Silver, choreographer of the famous dance is up in arms. According to a recent story on NPR’s Morning Edition (I recommend hitting the "Listen Button" to hear the entire story), he is considering a law suit aimed at those people that do not do the dance correctly.

According to Silver, a number of people are only completeing 20 of the designated 22 steps in the dance.

"…[The last few steps are] Step Forward & touch, and Step back & touch. And you repeat that step. And that is what everbody has forgotten. They don’t do the repeat step…"

Silver is especially infuriated with YouTube clips that feature people the dance incorrectly. He has emailed several people who have posted videos of the dance being done incorrectly, to which he has received the prompt "Get a Life!" response. Basically, Silver Says, "I don’t want this going into history incorrectly."

As for me.. I’ll refrain from participating in the dance at all future events and functions as not to violate any copyright laws. You might want to consider doing the same.

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Dodgeball on Trampolines

Who knew? Who ever thought of this is an absolute genius. This was our recent off-site for our department . And let me just say, it’s as fun as it looks.

There are three rooms — a giant trampoline room, a trampoline room setup as a dodgeball court, and a trampoline room with a giant pool of foam squares that you dive into.

Having this place all to ourselves, with 150 or so co-workers was beyond entertaining. Needless to say there were a number of injuries (sprained ankles, skinned knees & elbows, etc.). Nobody really escaped unscathed. If you ask anyone, though — it was worth it.

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Puppy Kindgergarten

About a month ago, Miss Possible and I started taking Bogart to at a place in San Jose. After attending the first class, we found out that Bogart has some SERIOUS shyness issues and we needed to take him to puppy playgroups in order to get him used to playing with other dogs.

As it happens, there are two in our area — one on Friday nights and on on Sunday mornings — that ties in well with our Saturday morning Kindergarten class. This has become our weekends.

The best thing about the classes are the other dogs.. We know all the other owners, and they know us. Well, let me clarify. We know all the other dogs (and thus their owners) and they know Bogart (and thus us). Nobody knows anyone’s first name. Everyone knows the puppy’s name and then becomes associated with it.

For instance, there’s Beau, the Rambunctious Pug; Annie Oakley, the Loveable Puggle; Morty, the ‘Horny’ Bichon (and I say that in the most playful way); Poncho, the Loud Dachsund; Bonnie, The Playful Black Lab.. and that’s just the start.

Every week, we all head off to class — explaining to Bogart that he’s going to see all his friends (and often list them off), but he has no interest in playing once he gets there. He’s definitely making progress, but it’s been a very slow process.

There’s always next week, we say.. maybe Sadie will be at class and Bogart will play with her. Maybe Bogart’ll finally roughhouse with Tinkerbell. These are our friends — puppies. We know nothing of the owners — except a face. It’s kinda funny, when you think about it.

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Arrested by The Police

I feel like a kid again.  I cannot tell you all how excited I am that The Police are back together.  However, this is The Police we’re talking about and I am petrified that Stewart and Sting will get in a fistfight at tonight’s Grammy Awards, which will lead to yet another broken arm/wrist/hand for Stewart, yet another black eye for Sting, and yet another break-up by The Police.  Ahhh, but that’s the intriguing thing about this group – they never actually broke up.  They became international super-duperstars on the heels of Synchronicity, toured the world for a year or more, passed the torch to U2 at the Amnesty International show, and took a much needed break from each other after six straight years of touring and recording. 

I’ve mentioned to many friends of mine how I came to be a fan of The Police.  My childhood best friend, Greg, was blessed with a young, hip mom.  She had him when she was 20, so she was a cool MTV mom and very much into The Police.  I thought she was the coolest because she had a giant Police poster in the living room and played their records (oh yes, back in the good old vinyl days) all the time.  I was sleeping over in 1984 at the tender age of 7 when they announced their hiatus and she was bummed out, but upbeat about a reunion soon enough.  Then, two years later, our wish came true and they regrouped to record a new album.  But Stewart broke his arm falling off a horse, objected to using a drum machine on the album, and only an updated “Don’t Stand So Close To Me ’86” resulted before the fighting began anew and the boys parted company once more. 

Still, Greg’s mom was hopeful they would get together again.  That was nearly 21 years ago and only the lucky guests at Sting’s wedding in the early 1990s saw a Police reunion.  I’ve read enough magazine articles and seen enough interviews with Stewart and Sting to come to the conclusion that they didn’t need the headaches and hassles that came with The Police.  I thought perhaps their one-off Hall of Fame induction ceremony performance 4 years ago would have to satisfy diehards such as myself. 

Well, here they are.  Together on stage in public with promises of a summer tour and I didn’t have to give up one of my kidneys or testicles (a common refrain of mine over the last decade has been “I would gladly give up a testicle to see a Police reunion.”).  I am giddy at the thought that they are a mere 4 hours away from making one of my childhood dreams come true.  And when they roll into Fenway Park this summer, I’m sure Greg’s mom will be there, too.

M.A.S.K.

At Google, we have a number of meetings or training sessions where you’re required to introduce yourself. Besides the usual "name, department & start date" there’s always a unique question that is asked. "What is your favorite meal?","What is your Favorite Smell?","What was your last concert that you went to", etc.

This past week in a training, the question was "What was your favorite childhood cartoon." And you had the usual answers: He-Man, Transformers, Smurfs, some of the younger employees even said Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Towards the end, people were struggling to come up with unique answers.. it was a fun exercise, regardless.

I was going to say "M.A.S.K." however, when I asked a few of my neighbors, they’d never heard of it. I found the intro on YouTube and wanted to share.. Does anyone else remember this show, or am I crazy?

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Ouch

Spanning over the course of the last few days has been Google’s yearly Ski Trip, divided into three ‘waves’ of Googlers who descend upon Squaw Valley in Lake Taho, CA. This was my first foray into the downhill snow adventure sport realm, and I was given the opportunity to choose between Snowboarding and Skiing.

Considering that I know so many more snowboarders than skiiers, I figured it’d be a good skill to learn so that if I was to ever go to the mountain with my friends, I’d be able to hold my own — or at least try. Plus, I wanted to see what all the buzz is about.

I guess I found out. Or at least, my body is telling me that this was supposed to be fun. I went through a great lesson with a number of other people learning to snowboard and spent most of my day on the bunny slope. After a few hours, I was actually starting to get it.. I could go down on a run and pretty much only fall once or twice, once I got going. In the early afternoon falling was fine. The problem came around 3pm or so when the snow disappeared and a thick layer of ice coated the entire mountain. This made falling much more painful.

Despite improving my skills, "catching an edge" and flying face first onto solid ice was not pleasant. I was only able to take so much of this torture before I had to call it quits for the day. All-in-all, I had fun (I think) but.. needless to say I am h-u-r-t-i-n-g today.

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With a Rebel yell

I saw a Confederate flag vanity plate on an enormous pickup truck the other day.  And this was in the greater-Boston area.  And, yes, I double-checked and the truck did have Massachusetts plates.  All in all, just an odd sighting.  Seeing the Confederate flag kind of freaks me out.  I mean, I love The Dukes of Hazzard (the TV show, not the movie) more than anyone, but something tells me that such displays of the ol’ stars ‘n bars are not examples of zealous Dukes fans.

I’m not up on my state capital goings-on, but we are all aware of the controversy surrounding the rich, old white coots in South Carolina who refused to take down the Confederate flag from the state house.  They played the tradition card and the ‘we must honor our fallen soldiers’ card, but we all know what they were celebrating.  I hate to generalize, but it’s thinking like that which pretty much assures me of not stepping foot in South Carolina or Texas (among others) anytime soon.  Just something on my mind, for what it’s worth.

Casual dining my ass!

A desperate Swedish Girl and I went to a Friendly’s restaurant recently.  We had been shopping and running errands for a few hours and our blood sugar was dropping and we just needed some, ahem, nutrients pronto.  What an awful experience.  First, we were guided to the very first wind-blown table you see when you enter the establishment.  The one where the crowd of losers ordering ice cream practically sits in your cole slaw.  Borrowing a page from my dad, I asked the waitress for another table.  She was kind enough to lead us to a booth with sticky seats.  We were off to a great start.
Next, on her way to the ladies room, Swedish Girl heard the cook yelling at our waitress about my order:  “YOU WANT A F–KIN’ TUNA MELT!?!  I’M GETTIN’ TO YOUR F–KIN’ TUNA MELT RIGHT NOW, OKAY!!!”  I really didn’t want to eat an angry tuna melt after that.  Food is supposed to be prepared with love.  Later, I went to the men’s room to wash my hands and discovered there were no paper towels.  I was so furious that I shook my arms and hands VIOLENTLY to get soapy water all over the mirror (revenge, ya know?) and my wedding band (which is too big) flew off my finger, bounced off the mirror, and I caught it like a wide receiver before it could riccochet into the toilet.  All this occured before even getting our food, mind you.
When the food came, we had to eat while having the assorted slackjawed yokels stare, glare, and drool at us from 13 feet away as they waited for their ice cream.  Since then, I’m tempted to carry crackers and Gatorade with me at all times

A movie re-hashing

I’ve been trying to seek out an idea for a participatory post from the audience, and I think I came up with  one. What was the best & worst movie you’ve seen recently. I’m not asking for your all-time greatest or anything. It’s more like, what was the most recent movie that you really enjoyed. And on the flip side, what’s the movie that you recently watched and particularly disliked.

There’s often a large number of films that fall in between these two categories and just entertain — I’m looking for the extremes. Here are mine:

Enjoyed:
I actually have two:
"The Aristocrats" — Not for the faint of heart.
"Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang" — A surprisingly clever comedy that I particularly enjoyed.

Disliked:
"Lady in the Water" — Horrible. I typically like M. Night’s movies.. this one, however, was a waste of my time. I want my 110 minutes back.

What are your recent faves?

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