31 July, 2008

Summer Reading

...in a perfect world where everyone was equal/ I'd still own the film rights and be working on the sequel...


The World Without Us, by Alan Weisman. The premise of this book is "What would happen to the things we've built if humans stopped existing on the planet?" It's anthropological, biological, ecological, and just fascinating reading. I've already promised it to someone, and I'm only to page 60.

Why Things Bite Back, technology and the revenge of unintended consequences, by Edward Tenner. I have a feeling this is going to be a sort of sociological examination of consumerism, and will be as much about attitudes and expectations as mechanics. It was this very combination that made me love Why We Buy, the science of shopping, by Paco Underhill. I think of 'unintended consequences' in relation to the drug industry, except lately I've begun to suspect that drug companies are inventing ailments in order to sell useless drugs that cause side effects, requiring other drugs. I'll admit to being paranoid; this doesn't mean my theory's wrong. Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation: the dark side of the all-American meal, also an examination of consumerism, was engaging and moved along, but didn't precisely have a plot, so I'm not sure how it could be made into a movie. Despite the presence of Patricia Arquette, I haven't seen it; anybody? Worth renting?

The Third Domain, the untold story of archaea and the future of biotechnology, by Tim Friend. This begins with the author underwater, in a particularly filthy puddle in New York City's Central Park. It's a scientific exploration of microbes, and it reads like a Michael Crichton novel. By the way, his (Crichton's) novel, Next, (not well reviewed) was not that bad. Okay, not Jurassic Park, but not bad. It raised interesting questions, coined a couple of terms I expect to hear in common use fairly soon, and had some wry funny bits. And a monkey.


The Mind And The Brain, neuroplasticity and the power of mental force, by Jeffrey M. Schwartz, M.D. and Sharon Begley. It's about the way our brains can and will remap themselves based on how we use them. There are some uncomfortably vivid descriptions of certain experiments that were crucial parts of the phenomena under discussion, which were tough to get through, but the writing is engaging and accessible without being simplistic or condescending. This is now one of the three books I give away regularly.

Still on tap:

You Suck, by Christopher Moore. It's a novel. I'm saving it. Chris Moore doesn't write fast enough to suit me.

(Everyday I Write The Book; Elvis Costello)

29 July, 2008

Not You

...it's a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in bacon...mmmmmmm....

You nuzzled and kissed me as we stood outside my mother's house. You nipped my neck in different places to hear the noises I made, laughing into my throat, holding me perfectly in your arms.

And then you said, "We have to stop."

I looked at you, and you said, "I can't risk a scandal, because I want to run for office someday."

It seemed to make sense at the time, but when I woke I realized that you running for office may be the funniest thing I ever heard.

Who was wearing your face in my dream? Who was wearing MINE?

24 July, 2008

Provocative Plates

...clothes she wears, the sexy ways/ make an old man wish for younger days/ she knows she’s built and knows how to please....

The expensive import bears a tag reading GR8FRMS, which makes me wonder:

Plastic Surgeon?
Tax Accountant?

It's a conservative blue color, so I'm betting on Tax Accountant.

In other news, KEEPING FAITH was reviewed in the Sun by Mary Johnson, reprinted in part as follows:

For the second consecutive year, CAC is offering a work by Mark Scharf, one of this area's foremost playwrights with over 40 plays produced and a former three-term chairman of the festival.

Keeping Faith is his first attempt at writing a full-length comedy, an endeavor he succeeds in by creating overly protective, anger-driven parents bungling an attempt to abduct their 18-year-old daughter on the eve of her wedding to a man more than twice her age.

Scharf has expert assistance from CAC veteran comedy director C.J. Crowe and her four-person cast, each skilled at projecting human frailties to coax our chuckles of recognition.

I will be performing as Mimi during Youth Camp Day at PARF next week, as well as their Opening Weekend of August 9&10. Already? Sheeeee-yit. I'll be performing Silent Stories, something I no longer do in Maryland, so if that was a favorite of yours (or if you've never seen it and want to), please come and enjoy. I'd wear a red carnation so you'll know me, but it would wilt in the heat.

(Brick House; Lionel Richie)