Boooooo! FAKE!

I walked up to Central Park to see David Blaine hang upside down.

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I saw Street Magic years ago on TV and thought it was a lot of fun. I like that he fucked with the denizens of the Lower East Side, where I happen to be living at the time. They deserved to be fucked with. After that, he performed a series of stunts here in the city that I saw in person. I saw him buried alive for seven days, stand in a block of ice for 63 hours, stand on a 90 foot high pillar for 35 hours, spin in a gyroscope for 16 hours and be submerged in water for seven days.

I didn’t feel a burning desire to see this latest stunt, but I have a collect ‘em all mentality and thought I shouldn’t miss it. It’s like those damn Harry Potter books. You can’t bail out if you’ve read through book IV.

Today in the paper, it was announced that Fox News caught him taking stand-up breaks. WTF! When confronted, Blaine’s reps said he “never intended to stay upside down for 60 consecutive hours.” What a liar. He probably cheated on the other stunts as well. Maybe he should run for office.

The Great Unknowable

Sunday was the second anniversary of the passing of Mrs. Wife’s grandmother. In the morning, the four of us took a drive out to the cemetery to pay our respects. It was simply beautiful out. Blue skies and cool, early fall temps. Cemeteries are peaceful, remarkably well-manicures places. They’d make great open spaces for the public if it weren’t for all the corpses.

We found the tombstone and while Mrs. Wife and 6-Year Old Daughter said a prayer, I had a look around. It’s a Catholic cemetery and as such, all of the names on the tombstones are either Irish or Italian. Really. All of them. My favorite was a heart-shaped tombstone of pink granite with a very Italian name. In addition to the name, they carved a horse and a pair of dice into it. The dice showed 11 and for those of you unfamiliar with craps, 11 is the friendly number. It’s the only number you can throw where nothing bad will happen to you. You’ll never lose money throwing an 11. He was my kind of paisan.

I heard 6-Year Old say, “Is she buried in the ground?” Mrs. Wife said, “Only your body goes into the ground. Your soul goes up to heaven.” I looked at Daughter’s face and she wrestled with this concept. I wrestle with it, too. The Buddhists believe that you are reincarnated over and over again until you obtain Nirvana. Every culture has its own take on what happens after you die.

Do you know what I think? I don’t believe ANYBODY knows what happens after you’re gone. Each culture has its own story to tell. Your personal belief is not rooted in fact but, rather, where you were born how you were raised. Nothing more. I think these stories were made up by man and handed down from generation to generation, just like what Mrs. Wife was doing to Daughter, because mankind is terrified of death and these legends give us comfort and a sense of order. It’s part of the human fabric. But I don’t think anybody knows, really. If everyone adopted this attitude, the religions of the world would crumble.

The Hazard of Performing Live

At the beginning of Act 2 during Friday evening’s performance of A Man for All Seasons, the lights dimmed, the curtain rose and Frank Langella stood on stage with Michael Esper, who plays Sir Thomas More’s son-in-law, William Roper. There was a brief pause and then both actors walked off the stage and the curtain came back down. Odd. An announcement was made over the public address, “Ladies and gentleman, we’ll try that again.” Everyone chuckled. We assumed a prop was missing or someone didn’t hit their mark. Four or five minutes passed, Act 2 began and the play unfolded without further interruption.

When the play concluded and the cast was on stage for their curtain call, Frank Langella held up his hands to silence the audience. He apologized for the false start at the beginning of Act 2. (Nobody cared. An apology wasn’t necessary.) He said that just prior to the curtain being raised when he walked out on stage to take his place, he stumbled and fell backwards and hit his head, hard, against a wooden post in the middle of the set. He felt it was better to walk to the wings and allow his daze to lift than to try and fight through it.

Working without a net. There’s nothing like it.

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While waiting for the F train at 34th St. this morning, I saw this written on a steel girder:

CRAB
RARE
ARTS
BEST

A play on words! How fun is that? That little piece of levity is enough to give me a needed smile on the same morning I woke up to find that Benevolent Dictators, Inc. was converted to a holding company last night while I slept.

There is a Season

According to the lunar calendar, autumn doesn’t begin until Monday but as far as I’m concerned it started last night. I saw my first Broadway play of the New York theater season. A Man for All Seasons with Frank Langella playing Sir Thomas More. I saw Langella play Richard Nixon last season in Frost/Nixon and he is a great actor. (Watch for the Ron Howard-directed Frost/Nixon out in November.)

A Man for All Seasons is a dark, thick piece of theater that requires your full attention. The elderly patron seated to my left fell asleep, and I completely understand that. It helps to have a fetish for British historical dramas, which I do in spades, but I’m not entirely convinced that everyone would enjoy it as much as I did. I thought it was fantastic.

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It’s hard to believe that executions, betrayal, false imprisonment and a potential war could result simply from the want of a divorce, but it all really happened. Get this: In 1527 Henry VIII wanted to divorce Catherine of Aragon to marry his mistress Anne Boleyn. The only thing standing in his way was the Catholic Church. The Church wouldn’t sanction the divorce, so he got rid of it! A righteous dude! In 1532, he severed ties with Rome and passed the Act of Supremacy, which installed himself as the Supreme Head of the Church of England. What nerve! He finally married Anne Boleyn. Catherine of Aragon’s nephew, Charles V, King of Spain, didn’t like seeing his aunt removed as Queen and tried to instigate a war.

More, the influential Lord Chancellor of England, refused to sign the Act or endorse the divorce on moral grounds. Well, you can guess where that got him. A year in a dungeon and a beheading. All that occurred simply because the King wanted a divorce! Isn’t that nuts?

What do you think has caused more trouble and misery throughout history, religious doctrine or what a man keeps in his pants? I’d say it’s a toss-up.

Hope I Die Before I Get Old

I needed to get some blood work done. Nothing newsworthy. Just some routine tests. Typically, whenever I need to see a doctor (which is rarely, knock wood), I go on a Saturday morning because during the week I am preoccupied with trying to pay the mortgage. Today, however, I decided to remote into my desktop and work from home.

The weekday crowd in the doctor’s waiting room is not the same as the weekend crowd. It is similar to a casino crowd, with the M-F patrons being a bit older and slower than the weekenders. I am not accustom to being around sick people. I’m lucky that way. nursemyra and Nurse Heidi deserve to be canonized for helping people through an illness. I award myself the golden shithead award for being so uncomfortable around the old and sick.

Sitting in that waiting room today provided a sobering reminder of my (our) mortality. I was the youngest one in there by a few generations (and I’m not that young, remember). Of course, you would expect to see old, sick people in a medical waiting room but some of these people were visibly fucked up. Most were physically incapacitated and one was clearly having a psychological episode. The whole ordeal had a profound and lasting impact on me. I hope this doesn’t lead to a religious epiphany or anything tacky like that.

When I got home, 2-Year Old Daughter ran across the room and wrapped her arms around my leg. “Daddy home!” Therein lies the antidote for my poisonous thoughts.

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You can learn a lot by working from home for a day. I came out of the office at 2:30 to make a cup of tea and you’ll never guess what I came across; Mrs. Wife was having a little snooze. 6-Year Old Daughter was in school and 2-Year Old Daughter was having her afternoon nap. Mrs. Wife was wrapped in a blankee on the living room sofa all roasty-toasty warm. Asleep. At 2:30 in the afternoon. Typically, at that time of day, I am fighting corporate demons. No big deal. I’m just sayin’.

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Here’s the best line from Jon Caramanica’s New York Times review of the Celine Dion concert at Madison Square Garden:

“Her outfits were, invariably, sparkly, as if she had just lathered herself in glue and rolled around on crushed mirrors.”

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