Friday, May 23, 2008


Dear Interblog and Webinet,

It is official. I have succumbed to May-itis. My doctors have prescribed two weeks of rest far, far away, in the land of the Nutmeg, the Utes, and the magical land of casinos. Therefore, I am leaving the concrete jungle and travelling posthaste. Unfortunately, I will be staying in a Dam place where there is no cell or 'net service, so my blogging will have to put on hold. I also predict that the very warm weather will cook my brains, and leave me at a level at which I will be able to speak only coherently with Drew, Amber, and Elle.

Farewell, cruel cubicle. Farewell.

I will see you in a fortnight!

Hugs and kisses,

Auntie Nettie

Thursday, May 22, 2008


No, not the kind you pay. The kind you see on Broadway.

A few weekends ago, I went to see a Saturday evening presentation of RENT with a former colleague at Caramoor, Amelia. Of course, being me, there's a story about WHY.

Once upon a time, an old ogre named Auntie Nettie worked in a castle called Caramoor. She toiled and labored, and much time passed. After the tenth year of her labors, along came a young, dewey-eyed college graduate named Princess Amelia -- who then spent the next 12 month calling the old ogre "Dude" until the ogre couldn't take it anymore and chucked things at the princess's pretty little head. During this time of turmoil, a musical called RENT was being made into a cinematic presentation and Amelia decided that she MUST listen to the original Broadway soundtrack in the ogre's office ALL THE DAMN TIME.

Flash forward more than a year: The ogre left the castle (for lots of reasons) and was transformed back into semi-human form. Princess Amelia continued to call the residents of Caramoorland "dude," to drive likest an old woman, and to listen to the RENT soundtrack and to cry for 525,600 minutes.

Suddenly, horrible news flashed across the land. The Broadway production of RENT was to end. Weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth abounded, as many a RENT fan had still not seen the production. Being among this group of slackers, the former ogre and Princess Amelia banded together with other fans and bought tickets to the show.

This then be the photographic tale of fair Amelia and the former ogre's journey to RENT, as much as they could show you before theater management wouldst intervene and actest to abscond with the various photographic equipments.

Amelia: Wait, what is this show about?
Pay RENT here
The Marquee

Current cast: including an American Idol contestant and a soap opera player or two The set

The merry travellers: Introducing Lindsey and her brother!

The land of Times Square -- late in the even

Chrysler Building from the vicinity of Broadway

We did NOT take this Subway back to the train stationWhilst it was good to be with friends, old and new, for this evening of song and dance, the production itself was not all that I had hoped for. It felt rushed to me. The audio was too loud, the mix was bad. What's worse, I just didn't "connect" to the production. I wanted to be, but it left me cold. (In speaking with some current associates who also just saw the production, apparently it wasn't just me. They had the same impressions.)

I actually was more moved by the movie, especially with Jesse L. Martin (who knew that the dude on L&O could sing!?), and by the tales of the original Mark Cohen, Anthony Rapp. I recommend you read his biography, Without You: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and the Musical Rent. (Though it does have some references to "adult" content, the story of love and loss gets you right in the heart.)

RIP: Jonathan Larson -- Gone too soon.

The end.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Fashion Tips for Plural Wives

I have resisted posting comments about the news reports on the situation with the various polygamist communities in Texas, Utah, and Arizona. That is, until now!

What do you get when you cross Mo Rocca's droll wit with fashion tips from the star of Project Runway?

Thanks Mo.

Weehaw --- Now, show me the money

As we type, on its way to the National Endowment for the Arts via FedEx, is over five pounds of paper, two CDs, and weeks and weeks (and weeks and weeks) worth of work in the form of a work-related application for funding. YIPPEE SKIPPY!

Now I just have to wait more than a year to find out if the Big J will get the money for 2009-2010. (No, I'm not kidding ... over a year before notification.)


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Random Comment and Best Wishes

"Those bastards! I hate them!! They SUCK!!"

This is my my friend Jenn's response to the cancellation of at least five of her favorite shows, most of them on what she's nicknaming the American Bastards Channel and the Co-Bastards Syndicate.

Now, to understand why this is so funny, you must understand. Jenn is a very polite, calm, even tempered, reserved, ladylike, "quiet and bookish," delightful person who rarely gets riled, and barely swears, even though she has had to put up with me since we met in 6th grade. I don't know whether to be shocked and appalled, worried about my influence, or say YOU GO GIRL!

Good luck today Jenn. Feel better soon.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Riddle me this - Architecture

On Tuesday I had the occasion to be down by Carnegie Hall on West 57th Street for a concert. I was waiting around for the Box Office to open, and having lots of time, my attention was drawn to the building across the street that used to be the home of CAMI -- Columbia Artists Management, an international musical talent agency. It's a beautiful old edifice, with a huge apartment on the upper stories. Apparently, it's had quite the artistic history. (That building to the right in the photo is now an empty lot -- another of the NYC skyscrapers is due to be built there.)

Having a weird interest these day in building adornments, I was really struck by the ornamentation on the upper levels.
Does anyone else find it slightly odd that there are a series of skulls on a building that had such a storied past AND is across from Carnegie Hall? It's just a little eerie.

Random Overheard Comment of the Day

"You are the Mozart of paper writing."

~ as said by my boss to someone on the phone.

I wonder what Wolfie would have thought of that.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Finally – the Fake Name Finals

With thanks to Jorge Cham at piled higher and

This cartoon has totally been my life this week. I’ve been out and about at shows and plays, and have been meeting all kinds of new people. I will fully admit that my real name is not common, but in this age of made-up names, ethnic names, and kids with the names of cable sports channels, I’m losing patience having to re-introduce myself SECONDS later, just because my name isn’t what you expect, say like Jennifer.

To that end, I think it’s time to finalize the Fake Name Contest. (Can’t remember why? See here.)

To summarize, we had nominations (back when the comments were up), and the names listed below were voted on, by you, my reading/lurking public.

Round 3
Tia Juanita Burrita 1 (16%)
Anita Buktoread 0 (0%)
Lewiston Hewitt 2 (33 %)
Mabel Maples 1 (16%)
Janessa Mayfield 2 (33%)

Round 2
June Morgan 2 (28%)
Netalia Mayfield 1 (14%)
Grace Andrekneviel 0 (0%)
Jazmon Jones 2 (28%)
Nellie Mayfield 2 (28%)

Round 1
June Field Maxwell 6 (31%)
Ashford Smalls 2 (10%)
I is Card Cat Alogue's lova 4 (21%)
Juno Maxfielderson 1 (5%)
Gard O'Debooks 6 (31%)

The polls are now open.
Go and vote and help me avoid future awkward social interactions, or at least those stemming from my name and people's lack of listening skills.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Scenes from a childhood

I started reading Marianne Wiggins' Almost Heaven on the train this morning and was really struck by these lines (p. 14):

"Do you remember weather from your childhood?
Can you remember a specific sky?"

Actually, yes. I can. I remember being almost caught in a mini-tornado in my teens, how the air tasted of ozone, and how the sky turned dark and green in minutes. I remember doing paper routes in the early mornings come rain, snow, or warm breezes full of honeysuckle scents. But it's one specific sky that I remember most vividly.

It was recess in elementary school sometime in either fourth or fifth grade, when we were all let loose to play on the asphalt and the metal swings and jungle gyms. It was a chilly, windy, overcast, spring day -- probably in March or April. The sky was banked by low grey clouds. Not the fluffy cumulus kind; the low, heavy, stratus kind, that mean rain or snow isn't far off. It being recess and being a kid, there were usually more important things to concentrate on than the state of the weather, like talking to friends, getting up as high as you could on the swings, chasing around that one boy that you had the weird crush on ... you know, typical childhood things. But that day, for some reason I can't recall, I was just hanging out by myself, not with a group, off in my own world. I remember looking west up past the spires of the local convent and cathedral, just as a break appeared in the cloud bank. It was the strangest thing. The clouds opened into a perfectly square shape. Sun poured through the clouds, falling gently in streams through the air. The bright blue sky was a marvel to behold. All around me the sounds of recess continued. Dodgeball wasn't interrupted, the high pitched laughter and conversational roar of my classmates didn't abate. No one else appeared to join me in observing that strange cloud formation. It seemed like that perfect square of sunshine remained in the sky forever, but it must have been only five minutes or so until the jet stream, winds, storm front or Mother Nature closed the clouds.

I've often wondered about moment. Was there a higher purpose for me having observed that window to heaven?

I guess I'll just have to ask when I move on. It'll be one of the questions on my list. Right up there with, "what's up with the platypus?"

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


According to the ANAJAM (Auntie Nettie's Attic Journal of American Medicine), doctors (aka Dr. Nettie) are reporting a rise in reported cases of a new disease, May-itis. Doctors have found that it is similar in make-up to spring fever and senioritis, with similar contagious symptoms. It is particularly prevalent in educational institutions, striking "older" adults, beyond the traditional 18-26 age range, and is especially virulent in cubicle workers.

Symptoms include, but are not limited to:
  • headaches,
  • boredom,
  • hunger pangs, but ONLY for junk food,
  • lack of attentiveness,
  • semi-consciousness,
  • severe apathy,
  • but mostly whining, as in: May I please stop working now? May I please have someone else do my work? May I please go home? May I please go outside and play? May I PLEASE go on vacation? May-be I'll just have to call in "sick."
Cures include:
  • Dt. Coke,
  • Allergy medication,
  • junk food,
  • blogging,
  • "sick" days,
  • and vacation time, LOTS and LOTS of vacation time -- like most of the month of MAY.

If you find you are suffering from May-itis, please try one or all of the cures.

Good luck.

Be well.

Electic Company

Nostalgia must be in the air this week. I was just thinking about one of my favorite shows, The Electric Company.

No, not ConEd, or LIPA, or PSC&G.

The Electric Company. You know, the one with Morgan Freeman, before he drove Miss Daisy and starred on Broadway.

Turns out they are reviving it.

My concern is that educational television has many more competitors than it did when I was a child. Can you really recapture the electricity of the original?

"Hey You Guuuuuuyyyys! PBS is powering The Electric Company back up starting in January.

The 1970s-era educational show — whose regulars included Morgan Freeman, Rita Moreno and Bill Cosby — starts production on new episodes this week and is geared, as always, to the six-to-nine year-old set.

The series was originally developed for kids who graduated from Sesame Street. As was the case in the original series, music videos, sketch comedy, animation and short films will be used specifically to close the literacy gap between low and middle-income families and teach kids that reading can be fun." (As reported by

Photo credit: Morgan Freeman as 'Easy Reader' courtesy Sesame Workshop, via

Monday, May 12, 2008

27 Jennifers -- Fun little ditty

The name Jennifer was very popular for a period of time in the 1970s and as a result, many of my generation went to school with a Jennifer or two or three. My own address book and h.s. and college yearbooks show at least two Jennifer C's, one Jennifer D, three Jen/Jenn/Jenny N's, as well as the rest of the alphabet (except Q and Z). My first summer home from college I had this rule for phone messages, if a Jennifer calls for me, please try and get some additional information, like a last name, (initials won't hack it -- see above), and how I know them, i.e. work, church, college, etc. Seriously, it was bad. It wasn't as bad as 27 Jennifers, but still ...

Song: 27 Jennifers
Cd: Golden Delicious
Artist: Mike Doughty

This little ditty's been in my head all day -- thus the post.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

In honor of Mother's Day: Spell Checking

In honor of Mother's Day, this clip is for the former English teacher and proof-reader of many of Auntie Nettie's papers, good o' Mom. In the days before word processors and Word-esque programs, my spell checking devices were Mom and the dictionary. While built-in spell checkers do help, this poem* is the perfect example of why not to trust the software.

(Maybe instead of flowers I should have gotten Mom a bouquet of red PENS.)

The the impotence of proofreading
By Taylor Mali

The full text of the poem can be found on or Taylor's site.

*Oh, and Mom ... sorry about the PG-13 rated words/connotations.
Remember, they are because of "misspellings."

Concert Etiquette

With thanks to writer Paul Volpe, who takes a satirical look at audience conduct:

"I shall spare you the lengthy rant about the obvious blight of ringing cell phones or the agony of late arrivals stepping on our toes or that awkward moment when you find your orchestra seats being warmed by sheepish looking third balcony hopefuls. That said, let’s review the more obscure yet heinous crimes that might send us fleeing back to our home surround-sound and plasma-screen systems, and far from live performances that require us to be a part of a communal experience.

~Gentlemen, if you must snore, make sure your companion has sharp elbows.

~Fanny packs are never an acceptable “concert” accoutrement, save it for the mall.

~Humming is a crime that is almost forgivable as it’s committed unconsciously. Still, never, ever, hum along with the music – the musicians really don’t need your help.

~Never leave a performance before intermission, unless you are injured and bleeding profusely. While you may be “bloody bored,” those around you are not.

~Ladies, please do not bathe in your Clive Christian No. 1 perfume prior to a performance. Gentlemen, you might want to skip the cologne altogether; you are in close quarters, not the French Quarter.

~Refrain from leaping to one’s feet, zealously clapping and shouting “bravo,” while the rest of us are still waiting to hear the last glorious notes of the aria.

~Dress appropriately. We all know that causal attire is encouraged these days, but let’s keep casual from becoming catastrophic. Shorts and a tank top might be appropriate in Branson, Missouri, the home of country music, but not in Avery Fisher Hall, the Home of the New York Philharmonic. As a young man I would attend such musical evenings wearing a borrowed jacket and dress pants purchased from the Salvation Army. I made an effort despite my “standing room” or “student ticket” status and rose to the occasion on limited funds while showing respect for the performers and fellow audience members.

There is no substitute for a live performance, whether it is ballet, classical, jazz, or soul. Miss Aretha Franklin demands, and gets, what she literally spells out for us – R-E-S-P-E-C-T. And that’s what other audience members and performers on stage deserve from us."

Friday, May 9, 2008

Lunchtime Lyrics

One of the perks of working in the Concrete Jungle is the opportunity to attend many free, lunchtime concerts. Now, I don't often go out at lunchtime, as I usually eat my desk, blog, watch streaming video, and/or do work. Last week, however, I actually went to a concert called "Music for Guitar and Harps."

In addition to works by de Falla, Villa-Lobos, a tango by Piazzolla (played by a Hungarian in a Quaker-like house of assembly!), and a fantastic Rhapsody for Solo Harp by Granjany, there was an intriquing group of songs for guitar and soprano by Fernando Sor.

This was my favorite little ditty from Sequidillas Boleras:

Muchacha, y la Verguenza

Muchacha, y la verguenza
?Donde se ha ido?
"Las cucarachas, madre,
Se la han comido."

Muchacha, mientes,
Porque las cucarachas
No tienen dientes.

roughly translated:

Hussy, where is your shame?
"Mother, the cockroaches have eaten it."
Hussy, you're lying:
cockroaches don't have teeth.

Ya know, you just don't hear that many songs about hussies and cockroaches. I think we need more.

Plus, do you really want to hear about cockroaches on your lunch hour?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Advice of the Day

Before you order flowers for delivery for major holidays, say, like Mother's Day, make sure the intended recipient is going to be at their domicile and not off gallivanting around for two to three days.

It's hard to reschedule delivery during a major demand period, say the week before Mother's Day, once the flowers are on the truck and almost to the front door.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Shoes -- Hazards of Commuting

I was getting dressed this morning and went looking for my black shoes. Now, I'm no Imelda Marcos, but I have more shoes than I'm comfortable owning. Since I have such a small apartment, I only keep them in three places: by the front door (where they end up when I kick them off immediately upon entering -- before I even close the door), on a rack on the inside of a closet door, or under the bed in the "seasonal storage." No where could I find the pair I wanted. Until I remembered! Most of my black shoes are already at work ... under the desk! Don't believe me?

Yes, that's four pairs of black shoes of varying heel heights and one of the brown. There would be a pair of blue heels too, but the "New York" code of dress doesn't include as much blue as black. In my defense, at least all of these shoes are different sizes and shapes. I swear my mother has 16 pairs of the same exact same shoes -- in black.

Now, personally, I HATE (loathe, despise, despair at wearing) heels, so the fact that there's only one pair of flats under the desk and I'm wearing another pair of black heels is strange. I'd rather be barefoot. In another work lifetime I was barefoot as much as possible, running around the office or outside in the grass come rain or shine. Puddles were my friend, shoes were the enemy.

Alas, commuting through the concrete jungle to the corporate world does not give one the same foot freedom. Sidewalks, subways, and the Big Grey Box are not conducive to bare feet. (Just think about the grossness of "curbing the dog," pigeons, and the lack of public restrooms. YUCK!) Plus, I have issues with things between my toes, so no flip-flops. I also have a a tendency to be graceless, to walk out of shoes with no backs, or to twist my ankles while wearing heels.

See my dilemma? Barefoot is better, but I have to wear shoes to protect myself. Maybe I better take my shoes home tonight rather than wear the sneakers to and fro like so many commuting women?

Me thinks there is a trip to Payless or D.S.W. Shoe Warehouse in my future. But I can guarantee that I will never, ever, ever be caught wearing a pair of these. I fall over in flats, these would kill me dead.

P.S. If you think I have a problem with shoes, check out my brother's series on his many pairs (all 8 of them!)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Public Television Rocks

Not only does public television rock because it just does ... now it's getting support from The Police in supposedly their last concert ever.

According to Sting's website (and a bunch of other places too),

05.06.08 Mayor Bloomberg and The Police announce contribution to MillionTreesNYC and reveal that their last ever concert will take place in New York City to benefit local public televisions stations...

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg joined Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland of The Police to announce that the band's final concert will be in New York City and their commitment to MillionTreesNYC, the City's initiative to plant one million trees by the year 2017. MillionTreesNYC is a component of PlaNYC, the Mayor's plan to make the City more sustainable and reduce its carbon footprint 30 percent by 2030. The Police pledged $1 million to the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City in support of MillionTreesNYC. This donation, matched by the City, will provide $2 million to help launch the reforestation component of MillionTreesNYC which will plant 10,000 trees and reforest 2,000 acres of parkland across the five boroughs. Reforestation efforts improve air and water quality, reduce greenhouse gases and lower energy costs.

The Police also announced that their final concert ever will be a fundraiser with proceeds benefiting the production of arts programming for Thirteen/WNET and WLIW New York. Tickets will be available nationally online via Thirteen/WNET and WLIW. More details about the benefit show, including venue and ticket information, will be released at a later date.

Since I saw The Police last summer at a concert at MSG and probably won't be able to afford a ticket to the benefit, I'll just have to skip this concert.

I do encourage you to plant a tree and make a donation to a public television station. I've spent many an educational hour on Sesame Street, (back when Snuffy was still invisible to grown-ups), learning to read with Easy Reader before he drove Miss Daisy, in the Neighborhood of Make Believe with Lady Elaine and Mr. Rogers and Meow-Meow Pussy Cat, and more recently in veritable raptures of delight thanks to months of Austen adaptations, and last weekend on the decks of the U.S.S. Nimitz (that one was hours of free on-demand via my cable subscription.)

Thanks to Mr. Bush, I may have some extra money here soon (in the form of a stimulus package check) to thank public television for their hours and hours of quality entertainment. And I can write it off on my taxes next year. What a thought!

How about that Message in a Bottle? Eh?!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Visiting Friends and Nature

Yesterday Auntie Nettie got a chance to have a day in the "country," visiting her old haunt, seeing dear friends, having the "usual" (yummy grilled cheese) at the diner, and a chance to wander around Katonah. After a very long week in the concrete jungle of Manhattan, having gala and other special events, or being locked at the desk, staring at the computer (though, obviously NOT on the e-mail or blog), it was nice to get away and see nature, be in the great outdoors, visit a plant sale at the Mediterranean estate of Caramoor, and literally wander around the dewy grass in my bare feet. It was heavenly. Go visit Caramoor yourself. It's a lovely place!

Cliff with an inquisitive plant buyer (aka Christine B.)
Cliff, the horticulturalist, is a good guy. He will not mock you (too much) for feeding your plants leftover soup and Diet Coke. Thanks for taking care of Spike*, Cliff.

Oh Geraniums and Petunias!

Darn it, I can't take the whole wagon load home!

Whatever these are, they are cool.

It's time to run barefoot through the grass!I don't want to leave either, Mr. Gargoyle, but there's no need to be grumpy about it.

*Spike is an aloe plant and was the longest relationship I ever had with a non-human. I rescued him from a college roommate (Tatiana -- WHERE ARE YOU?) my senior year (ahem 199*) and had him with me at Caramoor for years and years and years. He was replanted so many times, spouted offspring, and grew to such heights and widths, that I had to leave him behind when I left Caramoor. It was very sad. I missed Spike. The plants I bought and then brought to the Big J just don't have his personality. Cliff gave me Spike Jr., (though it's probably Spike IV), and I hauled his heavy self home on the train. Happy reunion. Happy days. Can't wait to introduce him to the menagerie at the Big J.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Favorite Painting

I'm posting this for no other reason than it is
one of my favorite paintings.
The Wanderer Above a Sea of Mist
(also known as Wanderer above the Sea of Fog)
c. 1818
By Caspar David Freidrich
Depending on my mood, it always has a different meaning for me.
I suspect that it will for you as well.