So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish

The good news is that the past involvement of Robert Byrd in the Ku Klux Klan was not papered over in most of the obits we saw today.  People stumble over themselves to not tell the bad with the good at times like these — it’s refreshing to see that shelved here, for it does tell part of the story that’s worth hearing. 

The bad news is that there wasn’t a loop of Byrd’s speeches from the October 2002 debate on the Iraq War resolution.  Not snippets here and there, but long-form, unedited.  Of course, he totally nailed it — and if there is a God, He’d whisper Byrd’s speeches in Cheney’s ear when he is breathing his last.

The worst news?  There wasn’t enough of this — which, to be truthful, is chock full o’AWESOME.

Safe travels, Senator.



@TJ/ Jamie Sommers /TJ: It was pretty goddamn chilly at the opera tonight. (For those of you who don’t know, the Santa Fe Opera theater is open on three sides but has a roof). It rained today and there was a cold breeze blowing from the left side of the house.

We went to a Youth Night or apprentice performance there one night a few years ago when the power failed. A snake had crawled into a power supply box and shorted it out, roasting himself in the process. We waited about 45 mins before they got it going again.

ADD: Capsule review, Madame Butterfly, Santa Fe Opera June 28, 2010 (full dress rehearsal)

The singing, acting, set design and costumes all honored this great work of art. I felt a real sense of the cultural imperialism, exploitation and misunderstanding at the heart of the work. The show closed on a powerful, horrifying image: the child of Butterfly and Pinkerson holding the knife she killed herself with and and American flag as Pinkerson bursts into the room. SFO is always great, but this may have been a cut above normal.

ADD ADD: Spotted former US Attorney for New Mexico David Iglesias takin’ a leak after the first act.

Attention, Democrats: this is how you win a political campaign down South… and probably the only way you will, these days.

@redmanlaw: Pop quiz: who wrote the play on which Butterfly is based? No google!

… the child of Butterfly and Pinkerton holding the knife she killed herself with and and American flag as Pinkerton bursts into the room. Escuse me? Doesn’t she send the child away before she kills herself? Isn’t there a scene about that? Oh right, Spoiler Alert. Is there a dramaturge in the house? But what music it is! Did you spot Bring Him Home from Les Miz masquerading as the Humming Chorus? Franch bastards! Only ALW can steal from Puccini!!

@CB. Heard this on the radio and enjoyed it. I did a show with the Red Clay Ramblers and got to sing and dance to music like this and got to love it. Not a fan of C&W. Too whiny and singing up in the nose. But this stuff is great. Very scottish in its way.

@Benedick: Darling! You’re having opera sweats, go lie down and take gin. Don’t worry, though, I had the same thing happened to me when he brought it up.

As for the triva question, I have to recuse myself. My script analysis proffessor thought “M. Butterfly” was THE.MOST.IMPORTANT.DRAMA.EVER. As a result, I have written more about the opera, and the source material for it, than should be prescribed, or even legal. The class did introduce me to images of young BD Wong, however, so it wasn’t a total loss.

@Tommmcat Still Gets Carly Confused With Meg: Gin was mother’s milk to her, so she knew the good of it.

I hope they all had a grand time. It is thrilling music. But kid covered in blood might kinda distract from the love story. Am I right that there is a scene that has Doris say goodbye to Pinkerton’s son before she does the nasty? I seem to remember that. And the moment that Pinkerton pulls the screens apart and finds her dying is so… just… (words have failed me. I know!). That’s assuming the way I saw it is the way it’s written.

I enjoyed that play when I saw it. Directed by John Dexter who sure could put a play on a stage. Even Equus . And it had wonderful designs. I always thought there was kind of a hole in, though. Inasmuch as one never knew quite how they had sex so that the Frenchman (of course) didn’t know she was really a chap. Now am I remembering correctly that the real man was about 19 and a virgin? That makes more sense but of course it’s a different story.

@Tommmcat Still Gets Carly Confused With Meg: Mmmm, BD Wong, one of my other Law & Order boyfriends.

Hey CB, you’re making me nervous with this video. Don’t go posting Orrin Hatch singing “Let the Eagle Soar,” mmmkay?

@Benedick: Can’t recall about the play, but Pierre Loti wrote a novel called Madame Chrysanthemum that I believe served as source material for both. It was loosely based on his experiences as a young (French) officer in Japan.

@SanFranLefty: Yes. There was a time, in NYC, when we were both in an an antique store, and he looked at me with…something. Maybe lust, I think. Had he been anyone else I would have pounced, but he undid me, quite.

@Mistress Cynica: Almost. A major source. But there was a novel that was dramatized by… ?

@Benedick: No fucking clue who wrote the play. In the SFO production, Butterfly blindfolds her son, kneels, and sticks her dad’s knife straight down into her left carotid artery (which results in lights out very, very quickly, like death in under two minutes per an article I read last week on knife wounds). There is also a vibe of her reverting back to the faith of her ancestors that she abandoned upon hooking up with Pinkerton. Son removes blindfold and is holding the knife and flag that Butterfly hung in her house as a symbol of her adoption of her idea of America when Pinkerton enters.

One weak point of the production was that it seems as if the director did not know what to do with Kate Pinkerson, so she was literally shoved aside for half of Act III until the counsel (who was awesome) sang “don’t hate.” Also pointless: Butterfly sitting and staring at the audience while the orchestra played some long piece at the end of Act II.

I don’t know Les Miz so I didn’t hear the piece you were talking about.

There’s no love story here, just exploitation, crushed dreams, alienation, and Pinkerton’s ultimate realization that he’s a piece of shit. Might be the most powerful opera I’ve seen, although I really liked the way they did Don Giovanni about five years ago. We saw a more recent production in the last couple of years and it sucked in comparison.

ADD: Our friend’s husband did very well as the timpani player in the orchestra.

Speaking of questionable videos:

AZ GOP candidate: Guns! Jeebus! Moar gunz!

If I’d stumbled across that on Youtube, I’d have probably assumed that it was a parody. Alas, it is real.

@Mistress Cynica: Think turn-of-the-century, darling.

ADD: Turn-of-the-century American is a better hint.

@redmanlaw: Well, the opera is a love story. One of the great ones. From an American novel dramatized by David Belasco – which I think is very strange. But it was. A one-acter, I think. No one ever knows what to do with Kate, poor soul. Cio Cio San falls in love with a man who isn’t worthy of her. It’s only when he loses her that he realizes what he’s done. I went back to look at it and in the libretto she says farewell to her son, begs his forgiveness, goes off-stage for the knifing, then totters back to die – it being opera. As she dies, of course, her clueless lover is rampaging up the hill calling out “Butterfly! Butterfly!” It’s a great coup de theatre and there isn’t a dry seat in the house. I’m never happy to see our assumptions projected backwards though I know it’s popular. Puccini, I think, was making a real point about love transcending social conventions and the price paid by those who love without ever thinking of the cost. But what a thrill to hear that music and see that story. It’s such a major undertaking to go to the opera here. One thing I liked about Prague is that you could just get on a tram and go.

@al2o3cr: RML approves of the senseless display of firepower. Full auto Thompson submachine gun in .45 cal, probably a Colt 1911 .45 auto and a .44 mag revolver (because Real US Americans don’t use metric calibers like the 9 mm) and the M4/AR 15 .223. Too bad she’s a conservative Christian. Not shown: whether she actually hits the target or not.

For some reason, Democrats can’t get away with shit like that, i.e., John Kerry going goose hunting. Jeez, the rw/gun blogs were all over him for everything, whereas Mike Huckabee was held up as a regular guy who would rather hunt pheasant than campaign during the last Iowa primary. The NRA magazine did recently give some grudging praise to Harry Reid for getting federal funding for some awesome new public shooting range out by Las Vegas, though. Of course, the gun blogs said that there were three grand openings for the place so that Harry Reid could make the third one. They did not mention that taxpayers had to foot the bill for another grand opening featuring NRA shithead Wayne LaPierre.

@SanFranLefty: That song is Ashcroft’s special form of torture, no?

@al2o3cr: Oh, lawd. Dumber than a box of hair, that one is. And you’ll notice she never shows the target.

@TJ/ Jamie Sommers /TJ:

Since when have the Republicans ever been concerned with “hitting the target”, metaphorically? See also NCLB, abstinence-only sex-ed, financial deregulation, Raygun / Shrub tax cuts, etc etc etc. All their base is interested in is the sound and fury of conservative ideological purity, not whether those actions *actually* accomplish what the Heritage Foundation and friends claim they will.

@redmanlaw: Spot on. She’s one of a bunch of them running to replace John Shadegg (he of the baby Maddie doesn’t like taxes fame), including a Michael Steele wannabe and Dan Quayle’s baby boy.

Believe it or not, I once played double bass at an impromptu bluegrass gathering that featured the first fiddler inducted into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame – Kenny Baker. All open fingering, so I couldn’t screw it up.

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