Sunday, June 15, 2008

Chalice Nonsense

Having just seen the new Indiana Jones movie, we noticed that the third film was on TV and taped it, catching a few moments when setting it up, and hearing the word "chalice."

OK, you Catholics, that's not an unusual word for you to hear, but for us Jews...

Anyway, hearing that word always reminds me of the 1955 film "The Court Jester" starring Danny Kaye in which the "who's on first"-style tongue twisting lines about the "chalice from the palace" are recited with great hilarity.

I looked them up, and am delighted to share them with you:

Hawkins: I've got it! The pellet with the poison's in the vessel with the pestle; the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true! Right?

Griselda: Right! -- but there's been a change: they broke the chalice from the palace...

Hawkins: They broke the chalice from the palace?

Griselda: ...and replaced it. With a flagon.

Hawkins: A flagon?

Griselda: With the figure of a dragon.

Hawkins: Flagon with a dragon.

Griselda: Right.

Hawkins: ...but did you put the pellet with the poison in the vessel with the pestle?

Griselda: No! The pellet with the poison's in the flagon with the dragon! The vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true!

Hawkins: The pellet with the poison's in the flagon with the dragon, the vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true.

Griselda: Just remember that!


Until next time,


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Slave Market Thriving on Facebook

Arguably, the most popular application on the social networking website Facebook is "Friends for Sale," a mildly diverting game in which one "buys" and "sells" friends--and total strangers--for fun and "profit."

Having discovered it a number of weeks ago, only recently have I begun to intuit the "finer points" of amassing large amounts of capital in the form of "human pets" and "cash."

Any Facebooker can add the app free and, upon logging in, receive $10,000 in the equivalent of Monopoly money. Logging in every four hours (but not before) gains additional infusions of 10 Gs, so that's always a wise thing to do.

Every player has a "price" which rises as s/he is continually bought and sold (and which earns the "slave" a small percentage for his/her own pot of money).

The more actively one buys and sells, the faster the capital builds, but it's possible to get "stuck" with a dud whom nobody buys or who is much less actively traded.

Mostly, but not totally, mindless, "FFS," as it's affectionately known, says a lot about the attraction of connecting with strangers. While not entirely anonymous (most Facebookers post real profiles and real photos since it's regarded first and foremost as a means to keep in touch with real friends), there's certainly a sort of thrill when purchasing someone you don't know from some far away land and engaging in some free market commerce.

I've developed a strategy that seems to be working, as my FFS coffers have more than $1 million and I own several hundred thousand dollars in virtual "slaves."

But nobody is pleading to "let my people go." There's absolutely nothing you can make your FFS slave do for you anyway.

Until next time...


Monday, June 2, 2008

Story Theater

Sad news today from playwright/friend Jeffrey Sweet ("The Value of Names"), who reported on the passing of Paul Sills. I was shocked to learn that Sills was 80. He had that perpetually youthful demeanor that made you feel he'd never die, and while I never had the opportunity to work with him, Jeff said he was a real piece of work--not easy at all, but brilliant.

My only experience of his work were the two Broadway productions he created in the early 1970s: STORY THEATER and METMORPHOSES.

These had a profound influence on me in teaching me that a bare stage and talented actors and an imaginative director were all that was needed to create compelling theatre. I have emulated that example on a number of occasions as a director, and Sills is definitely one of the key reasons.

So, RIP Paul Sills, and I hope you look down fondly upon those of us who continue to perpetuate your style.

Until next time...