Last week Alan and I realized we are about to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary, and we should do something to observe it. So we made last-minute reservations in Stratford, where the Shakespeare festival isn’t quite up to full speed just yet, but the plays are starting to open, and still at preview-level pricing.
We drove over on Saturday and saw “Rent,” one of two musicals they’re doing this year. (The other is “Spamalot,” and as I’m only a casual Monty Python fan, the choice was clear.) It was very fine. I’m not much for sung-through musicals, but this was a good production. Just a few years ago, a 1996 play about the persecution of drag queens, homosexuals, AIDS victims, anarchist professors and others might have seemed dated. As it is, the only unrealistic thing about the show was the idea that artists could squat in a loft on the lower east side of Manhattan. The rest was pretty dead-on.
I was curious who was in the original Broadway production. I don’t follow B’way closely, but I recognized Taye Diggs and Idina Menzel (or as John Travolta called her at the Oscars, Adele Dazeem). Diggs played
Roger, the AIDS-cursed guitarist Benny the bad guy, and Adele was Maureen, who gets a couple of big numbers.
Living so close to Canada, I always wonder why we don’t go more often, even to Windsor. We’re so close to Canada you can see cars driving the shoreline roads, and yet, once you get there, everything is different. The accents change, people say “soe-rry” for the slightest offense, miles change to kilometers, the roads are as smooth as glass, your chance of dying in a mass shooting drops off the table. You can pick up a little French just by reading labels and street signs. Even their vodka-and-tomato juice drink is different, the bloody Caesar instead of Mary. And yet, you’re still speaking English, the currency is still dollars and cents, just different, gaily colored dollars.
God knows what Canadians think of us.
As always when I’m in Stratford, I bought books. “Station Eleven” from the Canadian-authors rack. “Birnam Wood,” which got a rave review in the NYT today, and the text of “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” which I’ve never read. And a blank journal for Kate, who stepped up to watch Wendy on short notice.
Speaking of the NYT, some great work today, not only there. First, an infuriating, extremely well-documented project on how three assholes worked a number of fake charities via robocall, raising $89 million in the process, and spending only 1 percent on the issues they were allegedly raising money for. I know you’ll be shocked, shocked to learn these guys are…well, you know.
This is older, but from ProPublica, a report on the nation’s worst-funded schools, which are falling apart. It’s not where you might think. (But once you know, it makes perfect sense.)
Finally, is it past time for Dianne Feinstein to resign?
And with that, I’m going to doze and wait for my Mothers Day dinner with Kate. Hope yours went/is going well.
basset said on May 14, 2023 at 5:38 pm
Currency… Mrs. B and I were just in Iceland and didn’t see a bit of Icelandic cash until we were headed out of the country and passed a charity collection bowl in the airport, it’s all cards there.
Nearly the same in England, only saw cash used once and that was someone buying a transit card out of a machine.
David C said on May 14, 2023 at 5:39 pm
Canada still has the Ford brothers and the Province of Alberta to answer for. All every bit as crazy as anything you would find in the GOP.
Julie Robinson said on May 14, 2023 at 6:00 pm
Ahem. Roger was played by Anthony Rapp, and Taye Diggs played the bad guy, Benny. Diggs and Menzel married, produced a son, and divorced after she learned he couldn’t keep it in his pants.
Good decision on Rent, BTW. Spamalot is fun but not worth Stratford prices. A good community theatre production is all you need.
nancy said on May 14, 2023 at 6:40 pm
I told you I didn’t know Broadway!
Jeff Gill said on May 14, 2023 at 7:57 pm
May previews are a great time to visit Stratford. Especially with ticket prices!
Sherri said on May 14, 2023 at 10:32 pm
It’s been past time for DiFi to resign. She should have never run for reelection this last time. Her staff don’t let her out of the office alone, because she’s liable to say something that reveals she hasn’t a clue, or has forgotten that she said she’s not running next year. Reporters know that when she says something, her office will issue a statement correcting it later.
At least she did step aside as chair of Judiciary, which she was in line for, as as president pro tem of the Senate, which as the most senior senator of the majority, she was also in line for. Third in succession is a scary thought. (McCarthy as second in succession is scary for different reasons…)
The other problem with the gerontocracy is that there’s no room for younger politicians to move. Jay Inslee just announced he wasn’t going to seek a fourth term, but there’s a whole chain of younger pols who were eager to move who couldn’t when he did a third term. A friend of mine who is a state senator wanted to run for attorney general four years ago (and she’d be good at it), but couldn’t, because the attorney general wanted to run for governor and couldn’t because Inslee was still there.
beb said on May 15, 2023 at 3:15 am
I read this on Huffpost a couple days back and it still sticks with me. It talks about with the Founding Fathers thought about corruption and it isn’t anything like what the Supremes think it is.
alex said on May 15, 2023 at 7:20 am
Other than Canada’s strictly enforced and molasses-slow highway speed limits, I love visiting and will have a chance to do so once again this summer when my hubby and I take my dad to the George Bernard Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake. It was one of dad’s favorite things to do in the summer and at 95 this may be his last opportunity to go.
Well, I finally bit the bullet today and bought a NYT subscription ($1/week x 1 year!) so all of these great links here won’t be paywalled. I did it so that I could say “smell me” back-atcha to a friend who’s always posting her Wordle scores on Facebook. I had quit NYT and subscribed to the WaPo instead over the former’s stilted coverage of HRC in 2016, for which I still feel no forgiveness. And it’s dawning on me now how this will be yet another rabbit hole and probably double my time spent doom scrolling which is way the hell too much already.
Suzanne said on May 15, 2023 at 10:00 am
This weekend, I watched Netflix’s docuseries about Cleopatra. It was a dramatized documentary but I learned a lot. How did I miss that she and Julius Caesar had a baby together and then she had several babies with Mark Antony? Interesting history that I didn’t know. It also made me realize that things haven’t changed all that much in politics.
Jenine said on May 15, 2023 at 10:19 am
I hope you enjoy Station Eleven, I loved that book in 2017
nancy said on May 15, 2023 at 10:42 am
Alex, the freeway speed limit is 110 kmh, which is close to 70 mph. The two-lane roads were 80 or 90 kmh, about 50 or 55 in ‘murica, so I didn’t notice the difference. And Suzanne, if you’d watched HBO’s “Rome” a while back, you’d not only know that, but would have seen the sexiest Cleo I’ve ever seen onscreen, Lyndsey Marshal.
ROGirl said on May 15, 2023 at 11:10 am
I didn’t read the book, but HBO Max did a mini-series of Station 11 that I liked.
Jeff Borden said on May 15, 2023 at 11:27 am
It may have been a wag like Charlie Pierce who compared Canada as being the next house over from a meth lab. Seems about right.
susan said on May 15, 2023 at 11:44 am
Jeff, apparently it was a Robin Williams observation:
Heather said on May 15, 2023 at 12:45 pm
Nancy, your description of Canada has a real Handmaid’s Tale “refugee from Gilead” vibe. I guess that’s where we are now.
Dorothy said on May 15, 2023 at 12:59 pm
Speaking of cash and cards, my daughter woke up Saturday morning to a dozen notifications of probable fraud in her checking account. She thinks there might have been a skimmer where she bought her Metro card. Someone had a lot of fun to the tune of $1300 or so on Friday night, including a hotel room, $300 at a bowling alley, a couple of Ubers, Cheesecake Factory, a really expensive car wash, and something called City Experiences for $273. Is it any wonder bank fees and other stuff is so expensive when a bank has to cover all this fraud, and then pass it on to the rest of us?
We finished watching The Diplomat yesterday. We LOVED it! I believe someone else here watched it but declared it pretty far fetched. Or something like that. Well, I would remind that it’s fiction and not something based on a true story and we thoroughly enjoyed it. I even got goosebumps at the finale.
4dbirds said on May 15, 2023 at 1:16 pm
I hope you enjoy Station Eleven as much as I did. The mini-series on HBO while good just didn’t do the book justice. The second wife of ‘the actor’ the woman who wrote the graphic novel Station Eleven, in the book, is one of the most interesting characters and she gets short shrift in the mini-series.
Sherri said on May 15, 2023 at 1:47 pm
We loved The Diplomat as well. Sure, the premise is far-fetched (career diplomat gets sent to be the ambassador to UK at last minute, apparently skipping Congressional confirmation), but within the premise, the show itself was really good.
Succession last night was reminding us just how fragile our democracy is.
Randy said on May 15, 2023 at 2:06 pm
“The accents change, people say “soe-rry” for the slightest offense, miles change to kilometers, the roads are as smooth as glass, your chance of dying in a mass shooting drops off the table.”
Mass shootings happen a few times a year in Canada. A few times too many, by any measure, we all know. And then mentally ill people who can’t get guns in Canada, find another way, and rent a white utility van, and drive it down the street, killing random people:
I don’t pray to a god, but I do hope we eliminate wide-open gun access, so then we can just focus on all the other brutal weapons that unhinged people will find somehow.
Mark P said on May 15, 2023 at 2:52 pm
“ … the roads are smooth as glass … “
That’s one of the things that pisses me off about the US. The roads are crappy, sometimes even the new roads. There is a Suzuki four-wheeler plant on the road to our house, and sometimes I see a Japanese bicyclist on our mountain. I’m sure he’s a Suzuki exec. I’m embarrassed by the crappy four-lane industrial park road he has to bike to the mountain because it’s got dips and bumps, and bad patches, like some third-world country. We’re supposed to be the richest country in the world but we can’t even get decent paving on our roads. Plus, of course, all the litter scattered along the road by the free and the brave.
Sherri said on May 15, 2023 at 3:00 pm
Good lord, David French just wrote a defense of vigilantism in the NYTimes.
Wonder what he would have written had the dead man on the subway been white and the man who killed him been black? Or do he even realize that vigilantes can only be white?
Deborah said on May 15, 2023 at 3:59 pm
I may have been the one who said The Diplomat was farfetched. I watched it and very much enjoyed it even though it got fairly unbelievable about half way through. I agree though, it doesn’t have to be believable if it’s well done. I was quite shocked at the end, I hope there’s another season.
We went to Banff quite a few years ago, that was my longest foray into Canada, it was lovely. I looked into going there again but the air fair is exorbitant for some reason.
Dorothy said on May 15, 2023 at 4:53 pm
Deborah I know how closely you watched the case of E. Jean Carroll and I thought you’d like to know she’s being interviewed on Rachel Maddow tonight. 9pm on MSNBC.
Julie Robinson said on May 15, 2023 at 5:07 pm
We enjoyed The Diplomat as entertainment, nothing more. But Succession almost could be a documentary. The episode Sherri refers to seems to have been lifted from the Fox-Dominion case files.
And Sherri, James Poniewozak makes the same point as you have often have about remaining neutral: “Succession” has always had a feel for how the shamelessness of extremists defeats, and is enabled by, the flaccid reasonableness of centrists. I’m taking that to heart.
Anyway, yes I am crazy about seeing plays and musicals, and my gift to my own Mother this year was a subscription to Broadway HD streaming service. We are seeing shows at the Orlando Fringe Fest this week and then will head to NYC to see three Broadway musicals. I love the art of storytelling and agree with Picasso, who said art is the lie that make us realize truth.
Sherri said on May 15, 2023 at 5:37 pm
I would argue that while The Diplomat is far-fetched, it is no more far-fetched than many tv shows like police procedurals, it’s just that decades of police procedurals have taught us to believe certain things that simply aren’t true about police and policing.
Sherri said on May 15, 2023 at 6:43 pm
I’m currently listening to A Fever in the Heartland, by Timothy Egan, about the rise of the KKK in the 1920s, and it’s a reminder of how intertwined vigilantism was with American Protestant Christianity and with policing, and how comfortable both have always been with vigilantism.
David C said on May 15, 2023 at 8:08 pm
Alex @ 7. We used to go to the Shaw Festival every year. We always stayed at a B & B run by a retired school teacher. Every year he told us about his family’s trip to the UP. The thing that bothered him the most about the US was the bread. He always said “I think they call it Wonder Bread”. I have to agree with that. American bread is terrible. Whatever you do, don’t get a burger at the Prince of Wales Hotel. I was burping that up for two days.
Deborah said on May 15, 2023 at 8:27 pm
Thanks for the heads up Dorothy, I will at least be listening to it on my computer, if not watching it.
Sherri said on May 15, 2023 at 8:47 pm
I hate our healthcare system. My health insurance provider and my healthcare provider are currently playing chicken on a contract renegotiation, and of course, it’s going down to the deadline. The contract expires July 1, and if they don’t come to terms, I’ll have to find a new PCP. Since I use my PCP to manage multiple chronic conditions with 5 prescription medications, this is not trivial.
Funny how all the things conservatives warned us about with government health care happened anyway, but we didn’t get any of the advantages.
Mark P said on May 15, 2023 at 9:30 pm
Sherri, that’s also a problem with Medicare Advantage plans. My wife lost her PCP at the end of one contract year, and the only dentist within 50 miles that participated dropped out as well. We went back to regular Medicare, plus a supplement. It’s significantly more expensive, but it’s far better in almost every other respect.
Deborah said on May 15, 2023 at 9:52 pm
I watched it, Dorothy thanks for the heads up.
LAMary said on May 15, 2023 at 10:08 pm
I had AARP Delta Dental insurance and it sucked so bad. On a 188 dollar bill from my dentist, not an unfair charge for the procedure, Delta paid 12.50. I’ve switched now so we’ll see how this goes.
My friend James Van Treuren was in the last episode of Sucession. A small part he says. He’s one of the talented twin friends of mine who are both Broadway actors. If you saw the movie “Paterson,” you saw both of them. They stay busy which is about as good as it gets on Broadway unless you’re a star.
Julie Robinson said on May 15, 2023 at 10:21 pm
In a year and a half, one doctor and the optometrist have left the plan. Since we’re new here, we had only been to them once and weren’t attached. Still, it was a hassle. The dentist we went to had ancient equipment and was having trouble saving my Xrays on her computer. When she went for help I took a peek; it was an E-Machine, a company that went out of business in 2013. Since I’m not fond of extra Xrays, we’re finding a new dentist.
Sherri said on May 15, 2023 at 11:03 pm
I tried to convince my dad not to switch to a Medicare Advantage plan when I was visiting last time, but he doesn’t really like to take financial advice from me. I think he’s resented the fact that in my first job out of school, my salary was higher than his after almost thirty years with the phone company.
My parents were kinda weird. They said they wanted me to be independent and make good grades and all that, but then when I did, they found it threatening. They wanted me to do that, but then maybe be a teacher and stay in our hometown and marry a nice boy from church and give them grandkids.
Dexter Friend said on May 16, 2023 at 3:47 am
46 years ago we took a trip to Cape Breton. As I recall, the speed limit then was 100 kmh, which is 62 mph. The freeways then were one 3-lane road, passing allowed in the middle lane for both sides. I think regular 2-lane roads were all 100 kmh. Back then, nearly all gasoline stations were Irving Oil stations, and if you tried to pump your own gas you were committing a crime, as I discovered early, via a stern warning by the pump jockey.
Boy, Rudy the G…it’s sickening to read the latest reports of this demented creep…promising pardons for $2M, half for Rudy, half for Trump, all cash please. And his perverted sex drive is off the charts, popping Viagra and booze morning noon and night and sexually harassing associates constantly…read all about it; it’s all over all media. Take your pick.
alex said on May 16, 2023 at 7:00 am
David C., the owner of the B&B we stay at is named Jeff and I believe he’s a retired teacher. Name of the place isn’t coming to mind at the moment.
David C said on May 16, 2023 at 9:25 am
Ours was named Egbert. If he hasn’t passed away he must be well into his 80s if not 90s. We haven’t been to the Shaw since we moved out of Michigan.
Suzanne said on May 16, 2023 at 9:30 am
We are just beginning the Medicare journey. I spoke about dental plans with a young woman from our church who is a dental hygienist. She said that in her experience, the Medicare supplemental dental plans are all crap. With my recent health history, I can’t do the Medicare Advantage plans since I will likely need to have care outside of the narrow Advantage plans at some point. I haven’t checked into eyecare plans and am open to suggestions from all of you.
Rudy G is the central character of his own Greek tragedy. He could have spent the rest of his life monetizing his reputation as “America’s Mayor” but got greedy and is being unmasked as the lecherous grifting pervert he has always been.
Julie Robinson said on May 16, 2023 at 9:54 am
Others will correct me, but I don’t think supplements include vision or dental. The most important thing to know is that if you start with an advantage plan and later switch to supplement, you will be rated and likely pay higher premiums. If you start with supplements you can change companies without being rated. It’s one of the peculiarities we didn’t understand, but we were choosing while we were moving and building our addition, and in the middle of Covid. So we muddled through.
Jenine said on May 16, 2023 at 10:14 am
@LA Mary I really liked the feel of the movie Paterson. Glad your friends are able to stay in work, that is an accomplishment.
Jeff Borden said on May 16, 2023 at 11:04 am
The most recent episode of “Succession” scared the shit out of me. The way the fictional ATN network handled election night seems absolutely like something the lizards at Fox would do for ratings and power. These are extremely dangerous days for our fragile democracy. And there are so many alleged “patriots” working hard to bring it down.
alex said on May 16, 2023 at 2:15 pm
David C, I think my mental faculties are going to hell. Our fave B&B is called the Blairpen House and the owner’s name is Tim.
So I just saw Martha Stewart on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and I gotta tell ya… having only seen her in soft focus for about as far back as I can remember, I don’t know what kind of airbrushing and PhotoShopping they did but it’s amazing.
Sherri said on May 16, 2023 at 2:48 pm
You’d think it would be news that Rudy Giuliani is being accused of sexual assault and, along with Trump, selling pardons, but I don’t see anything about it on the NYTimes or WaPo. Pretty sure selling pardons is a crime; I remember the governor of TN going to prison for selling pardons.
4dbirds said on May 16, 2023 at 2:54 pm
My disabled adult daughter is on Medicare and also still on our government employee’s healthcare. She gets called about going on Advantage all the time. Not on her life! I think Advantage is fine if you are basically healthy and don’t need specialized care but what you are doing is giving away your Medicare for a bad HMO. You belong to the insurance company after that. I am still working so I only have Medicare A. Don’t need B yet. I don’t think I’ll get it in any case since I receive the majority of my care from the VA. My husband will probably get B once I retire. We can take our government employees insurance into retirement, so he’ll be well covered. I realize we are extremely fortunate on this front and don’t take it for granted. It took years for us to get our daughter considered disabled and I’m not throwing her healthcare down the drain so some insurance executive can get rich.
Deborah said on May 16, 2023 at 4:28 pm
4dbirds, my daughter is on Medicaid, after Obamacare passed it was confusing but not impossible to get her on it. She has a caseworker, but that person changes about every 6 months, not by design but they either keep getting fired or quit. The first one she had was terrific, she lasted a few years but after her it’s been getting less helpful. At least she still has Medicaid, so far, a lot of people have lost it since the automatic reup has gone away.
Dorothy, I didn’t mean to let you know twice that I was thankful for the heads up about Maddow’s show, I didn’t see that my first one was up, I thought I’d screwed up so I sent another one.
Jeff Borden said on May 16, 2023 at 5:39 pm
Don’t read about how skeevy Ghouliani is as described in the LAWsuit. You’ll need a shower STAT. Let’s just say he was a veritable choirboy in the “Borat” movie compared to this catalog of creepiness.
David C said on May 16, 2023 at 6:09 pm
I’m in that club too, Alex.
MarkH said on May 16, 2023 at 7:33 pm
Nancy asked a question at the end of her post here. The answer is Yes. This is disturbing and really sad.
Who is allegedly acting on her behalf, for her best interests?
beb said on May 16, 2023 at 7:52 pm
Medicare Advantage plans apparently depends on where you are and plan’s company. I signed up for Advantage in order to keep the doctors I was seeing before I retired. The company is allied with Henry Ford Health Care which is enormous. My wife had back surgery through them, no surprises and excellent care. My cataract surgery was within system. As was my time in the hospital with an infected toe.
diane said on May 16, 2023 at 8:29 pm
Having very recently (as in my supplement plan goes into effect June 1) gone though the Medicare morass, I can chime I what what I understood about it (with no claims that my understanding is correct). The insurance guy we talked to said that whether or not an Advantage plan was a good idea or not depends entirely on where you live. We live in the mountains and he said it would be a bad idea for us because our choice of participating providers would be very limited in our area. In terms of a vision/dental plan (which is totally separate from Medicare [as Julie said] but are often needed and selected at the at same time and referred to as supplements [as Suzanne did]), he said they are all pretty bad. He sold us one but said it was crappy. Well, he didn’t use the word crappy since he was trying to sell it to us but he did say that if we did twice a year teeth cleanings and once a year vision exams, we would come out a couple hundred dollars ahead but that realistically the plan wasn’t going to cover much else, which amounts to saying it is crappy. It was cheap and so we got it but know we are on the hook for any additional dental/vision care.
Mark P said on May 16, 2023 at 9:32 pm
Yes, it’s location, location, location. Here in NW Georgia, both supplements and Advantage plans are limited. There are better plans in the Atlanta area as well as some of the other larger cities. Makes sense, right? Smaller communities don’t need health care, do they? Of course, it’s all about money, not health.
Deborah said on May 17, 2023 at 9:09 am
When I mentioned to my husband this morning that I’d read Lauren Boebert had filed for divorce, his response was, “Duh, how do you keep them home on the farm after they’ve seen Paree”. I mean these people are such hypocrites, they talk about god, home and family out the wazoo. Has her 17 year old son and his girlfriend had the baby yet?
Jeff Borden said on May 17, 2023 at 10:57 am
The really great thing about evangelicals, Deborah, is that they can cleanse themselves of sin simply by saying so. Bobo will soon say she has made her peace with god and found forgiveness in his loving embrace. Meanwhile, it sounds like her husband –the guy who spent time in jail for exposing himself to teenage girls at a bowling alley– was blindsided. He refused to take possession of the legal filings and set his dogs loose on the process server. I’ve read several stories about the Boeberts since she was elected. They’re not very popular with their neighbors because –surprise, surprise– they are assholes.
I think your husband is probably correct, too. She is a very crazy lady, but quite attractive physically. Some D.C. slickster might have made a move old Jayson back in Colorado couldn’t equal.
Suzanne said on May 17, 2023 at 11:02 am
Second hand knowledge here but a friend of mine knows someone who lives in Jim Banks old neighborhood and my friend was told there was universal rejoicing in the neighborhood when the Banks family moved out.
Jim said on May 17, 2023 at 11:36 am
More on Feinstein: https://12ft.io/proxy?q=https%3A%2F%2Fslate.com%2Fnews-and-politics%2F2023%2F05%2Fdianne-feinstein-health-return-to-senate.html