Saturday, November 1, 2008


...another in an occasional series mentioning current events which caught my interest this week...

Well, the final stretch of the presidential campaign has brought a few nuggets. It appears Barack Obama has an aunt (actually, a "half-aunt," if there is such a thing; she is his father's half-sister) who has been living in the country illegally for several years. Is this the October Surprise? It's a few days late.

Many folks are already calling the election in Obama's favour, which makes me nervous. Tempting fate, and all that. The worst offender may be one of my favorite political humorists, Garry Trudeau. The Pulitzer-Prize winning creator of Doonesbury is required to submit his strip days in advance, of course, and he has taken the initiative to assume Obama's victory in his daily strip for Wednesday, the day after the election. "If I didn't call the election, I'd have no premise for the week and be forced to write about something else. I didn't want to write about something else. This is history," he told the Washington Post. So, editors across the country have already received Wednesday's Doonesbury, confirming that Obama has won the election.

On the local theatrical front, the Shakespeare Theatre Company made news this week when it announced that their annual Free-For-All will no longer be a "Shakespeare-in-the-Park" experience. The event will move from the Carter Barron outside stage to the Shakes's home at the Harmon Center. There seem to be several reasons for the move. The idea behind the free performances was always to encourage new audiences to sample the regular season at The Shakes, but apparently, that has not been happening. What a surprise. Seats at Carter Barron are free. Seats for the regular season at The Shakespeare Theatre top out at 80 bucks a piece. It doesn't take a marketing genius to see those are two very different demographics. In addition, Carter Barron is not accessible by public transportation and is, of course, at the mercy of the elements, meaning that performances are regularly rained out. So, though the "free for all" concept will remain, future shows will be performed downtown, inside, and in early September. I applaud the move. At Carter Barron, the seats are uncomfortable, the sound is lousy, and, in June, the weather sucks. The Shakespeare Theatre will be adding performances to make up for the reduction in seating.

This last item is so horrendous, I had to save it for last. You just can't recover from it.

I can't recall an incident which has left me so sad, so flabbergasted, and so incensed, simultaneously. On Sunday, 8 year-old Christopher Bizilj attended a gun show in Massachusetts, advertised as "all legal and fun! No permits or licenses required!" with his father and his 11 year-old brother. A certified gun instructor placed a loaded semi-automatic Uzi in the child's hands, who proceeded to shoot at a pumpkin, while his proud papa reached for his camera. The recoil was too much for the third-grader, who lost control of the rifle and shot himself in the head. He died at the scene.
There are so many obscene elements of this tragedy, it's hard to write about. The gun show was a major event boasting that children under 16 were admitted free. To a GUN SHOW. The victim's father is a DOCTOR, the head of Emergency Medicine at a Connecticut hospital. He works in an EMERGENCY ROOM. After the senseless tragedy, this jackass father is quoted as saying, "This is a mystery to me. I really don't know why it happened." Are you kidding me? You placed a loaded submachine gun in the arms of a third-grader, and are now amazed that something went wrong?? You may be too stupid to live. You are CERTAINLY too stupid to have children.
And now you have one less.

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