Some Like It Hot

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA, obviously, on both counts) introduced a House resolution claiming that climate change will force women to become prostitutes.

“Women will disproportionately face harmful impacts from climate change,” Lee’s resolution reads. It continues claiming, “Food insecure women with limited socioeconomic resources may be vulnerable to situations such as sex work, transactional sex, and early marriage that put them at risk for HIV, STIs, unplanned pregnancy, and poor reproductive health.”
Lee’s document goes on to urge Congress to agree on the “disparate impacts of climate change on women,” and goes on to demand that Congress use “gender-sensitive frameworks in developing policies to address climate change.”
I am now confused as to "weather" sex work is fempowering or not.

Happy Feast of the Annunciation

Just yesterday I was complaining that Lent was too Lent-y this year and I needed a break. Completely forgot that today's a Solemnity, and there is a little break from ascesis today.

In Florence & Pisa, Happy New Year.

What some nuns do on the Annunciation Feast.

I Like Him!

This is about to be a review of Man of La Mancha, but I never got around to plugging The Metromaniacs, which closes today, so you should rush and see it if you can. I have something of a crush now on David Ives, the translator. He's now done three collaborations with the Shakespeare Theatre's artistic director, Michael Kahn, and the man's use of language is breathtaking. He takes French plays written in rhyming couplets and converts them into English with true rhyme, perfect meter, nimble word-play, adroit comic timing and just the right sprinkling of anachronistic jokes. It's absolutely dazzling, and in the case of Metromaniacs, one has the distinct impression he's rendered a better play than the original.

Onward, then, to Man of La Mancha.

Blessed is she who expects nothing, for every now and then she'll be tickled by a delightful surprise. I'll be blunt: I expected to hate last night's performace. Let me count the ways:

  • I'd never seen a live production of the play, but I hate the Peter O'Toole movie version, considering it virtually unwatchable;
  • I truly dislike the famous number, "To Dream the Impossible Dream," and don't think much of the rest of the music, either. 
  • I know, I know, but I really didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition. The actual Cervantes never faced the Inquisition, but that doesn't stop playwright Dale Wasserman from staging his play in prison, where fictional Cervantes awaits his appearance before Bad Catholics. Gratuitous Church digs tick me off. 
I was surprised therefore to find myself completely drawn in to this performance. It's cleverly staged and the ensemble is strong, but credit has to go to Anthony Warlow (Cervantes/Quixote), who's apparently a bigshot in Australia and beyond, but I confess this my introduction to him.  (He's from NSW, Brett, if you're out there!) He has a powerful, clear baritone voice, but he's simultaneously an actor with wit and subtlety. His ability to adopt and shed at a moment's notice the bearing, voice and mannerisms of an old man is a thing to behold -- and yet, he doesn't call such attention to his craft that you are aware of watching "acting." You just believe.  I think it's rare when watching a musical not to be aware you're watching a musical. I credit Warlow.

Holding her own against him as Aldonza/ Dulcinea is Amber Iman, a 20-something local gal made good. I was impressed with her singing and acting too -- usually real singers can't act and real actors can't really sing.

The lady next to me pretty much wept her way through the whole two hours.  That wasn't me, but still: well done.

P.S. Man of La Mancha trivia: author Dale Wasserman's play is sort of like fan fiction. It's an exploration of his own using Cervantes' characters. It doesn't even pretend to be true to either Cervantes' life or his story and Wasserman's pet peeve was people who called his show "the musical version of Don Quixote."  No it isn't!

Also: the play was originally not a musical, but Wasserman couldn't get anyone to stage it until he took the suggestion to make it a musical. W. H. Auden was originally hired as the lyricist, but they never used his lyrics, as they were thought to be too acerbic. (I'd like to read those. Wonder where they are.)

Update:  a kind reader found some of the Auden lyrics

Hillary Sends Us Kids to Camp

Mrs. Clinton thinks adults don't have enough fun and proposes adult summer camp to remedy the situation. To be fair, she was addressing a group of camp counselors, so labored camp analogies were to be expected, but Hillary's earnest and mandatory approach to filling the "fun deficit" sounds decidedly un-fun.
For example, I think she was trying to be humorous here, but she lacks a light touch and it just falls like a SCUD: 

“We could have the red cabin, and the blue cabin have to come together and actually listen to each other. Wouldn’t that be a novel idea,” she said. “We really need camps for adults.”
 Prof. Ken Masugi (whose heritage is Japanese) remarks on his FB wall: "FDR sent my parents to a camp in northern California."


Our Whirlwind Romance

The internet captures the courtship of RC2 & Mr. W. in picture form.

Solemnity of St. Joseph


I was just going to post something silly and run away, but then I felt guilty about having time for a joke and no time to honor St. Joseph on his feast day, even though I happen to have collected a few interesting St. Joseph links in the past few weeks. And then I remembered I need to tweak my Irish friends about today being the Church's REAL solemnity, as opposed to St. Patrick's day, which is just an "optional memorial." So, here goes:

A friend of mine posted this little prayer to Facebook, saying she prays it several times a day for her husband and one other friend in trouble. I like it and think I'm going to adopt the practice too: 
Holy St. Joseph, spouse of Mary, be mindful of him, pray for him, watch over him. Guardian of the paradise of the new Adam, provide for his temporal wants. Faithful guardian of the most precious of all treasures, I beseech you to bring this matter to a happy end if it be for the glory of God and the good of his soul.
Bishop Conley of Lincoln did a nice piece about St. Joseph and the miraculous Loretto stairs. Reminds me: I want to go to there. 

I know I've run this before, but I really do love this piece on the manliness of St. Joseph by Joseph Fornieri.

The Holy Father has been doing an absolutely smashing weekly catechesis on the family (I take it that since the West has forgotten what the family is, he is literally teaching us: what is a mother, what is a father, what is a child, what is a grandparent?) Since St. Joseph is the patron of fathers, here are the texts on fatherhood. He starts via negativa, about society at large and children in specific in a fatherless society (absent both God the Father and our own fathers). The following week, specifically invoking St. Joseph, he takes up the question of the goodness and importance of fathers
I would like to begin from some expressions that are found in the Book of Proverbs, words that a father addresses to his son: “My son, if your heart is wise, my heart too will be glad. My soul will rejoice when your lips speak what is right” (Proverbs 23:15-16).
I don't think I've ever seen a reflection on fatherhood that starts where Pope Francis begins his catechesis. I think it's just lovely, and reflects something of the fatherly intuition of his own heart: 

One cannot express better the pride and emotion of a father who realizes that he has transmitted to his son what truly counts in life, namely, a wise heart. This father does not say: “I am proud of you because you are, in fact, just like me, because you repeat the things that I say and do.” No, he says something far more important to him, which we can interpret thus: “I will be happy every time that I see you act with wisdom, and I will be moved every time I hear you speak what is right. This is what I wanted to leave you, so that it would become something of yours: the attitude to feel and act, to speak and judge with wisdom and righteousness. And so that you would be able to be like this, I taught you things you did not know, I corrected errors that you did not see. I made you feel a profound and, at the same time, discreet affection, which perhaps you did not recognize fully when you were young and uncertain. I gave you a witness of rigor and firmness, which perhaps you did not understand, when you would only have wished for complicity and protection. I had to put myself first to the test of wisdom of heart, and to watch over excesses of sentiment and resentment, to bear the weight of the inevitable misunderstandings and find the right words to make myself understood. Now, when I see that you seek to be like this with your children, and with everyone, I am moved. I am happy to be your father.” And that is what a wise father says, a mature father.

It's easy to extrapolate from this image, this experience, to the reciprocal delight of God the Father and Christ the Son and between the Father and his son's adopted brothers and genuine disciples.

Pope Francis has a great devotion to St. Joseph. He consecrated the entire Vatican to him and St. Michael near the start of his papacy. And one of the few personal items he had flown to him from Argentina was a statue of sleeping St. Joseph that he uses to "stash" prayer requests. (Link is to a RomeReports video that includes footage of Francis speaking of St. Joseph in English, should that curiosity interest you).  

Here's an authentic recipe for  St. Joseph's Zeppole (cream puffs). I have to admit I never remember about zeppole until too late in the day to start cream puffs. So I buy plain ones, slice them in half, and add the lemon and orange peel and chopped chocolate. Not as good, but I think my children are fooled. 

Happy feast day! And Good St. Joseph, protect us and pray for us. 

Well, This Is Confusing

ACLU defends Redskins trademark.

Winter Makes Keynesians of Us All


A certain intrepid newsman who shall remain nameless was not to be put off his routine of heading down to the local Roy Rogers late morning for brunch, coffee and a read of his newspapers. All was well until he tried to return home and this happened.

According to an eyewitness, he could have made it up the hill but for the numerous books in his trunk and back seat weighing him down.

No one was hurt, unless you count intrepid newsman's wife rebuking him for going out in this weather.

Intrepid newsman insists he has no regrets.  He enjoyed his brunch, he enjoyed getting out of the house. Plus he's spinning it as economic stimulus for tow truck operators.