Stephen Sondheim, who was still actively working on new projects at age 91, is dead.

(I know he died a few days ago, he's still dead now)

"Are you working on something new?"

"No."

"That isn't like you, George."

Edited to add: the intersection between Sondheim and Seurat is a musical called Sunday in The Park with George.

Today is George Seurat's 162nd birthday, and Google has doodled him.If you google "Color and Light Sunday" you get the good version. At least I do. If your algorithm doesn't deliver Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters, here you go ...

Rabbit and I were talking about versions of musicals and how she can appreciate > 1 version of a show whereas I have traditionally listened to the one version I liked and found all others unacceptable. That has changed for me over the years in many cases. Here are some examples:

Sweeney Todd - Len Cariou (Original Soundtrack) and George Hearn (original filmed stage version) are both great Sweeneys. Ken Jennings (OST) and NPH (revival) are both great Tobys.  Also, I enjoyed the casts of Sweeney in two local productions I saw. So I am expanding my horizons.  Johnny Depp's attempt at Sweeney - still unacceptable.

Gypsy - my favorite Mama Rose is Bernadette Peters, but I also like classic Ethel Merman and the two local Mama Roses I saw.

Jesus Christ Superstar - Murray Head (Concept Album) is still my favorite Judas (I know, I know ...) but I like Carl Anderson (Original Movie Cast)'s performance. Ted Neely (OMC) as Jesus can go sing country somewhere else, Ian "Deep Purple" Gillan (CA) is my Jesus! Though I have seen local performances with good Judases and Jesuseseses ... I don't know where to stop, it's like banana ...

There are more, but is already TL:DR ...

So, ok, long list of progress with the open-mindedness, yeah?

But let's get back to my complete LACK of progress, the hill on which I am sure I shall die.

The Mandy version is always the best version, with one and only one known exception.

No, the exception is NOT Evita. Mandy singing "High Flying, Adored" is the reason I am obsessed with musicals. Eight year old me understood what it was like to hear the voice of an angel coming from my friend's parents' record player ... 

The exception is the 1990 studio cast version of Man of La Mancha.  It's fine but not great. Mandy's performance is excellent and he is a strong contender for my "favorite Sancho Panza", but Placido Domingo just doesn't deliver Quixote as well as Brian Stokes Mitchell. You can survive with an okay Sancho or a so-so Aldonza, but a Quixote who doesn't knock it out of the park deflates Man of La Mancha like it was poked by the lance of the Knight of Mirrors.

Right, where was I?  Happy Birthday Georges Seurat!

The Mandy version of Sunday in The Park With George is the best version, but it's not exclusively because of Mandy. Bernadette Peters also makes it great - she glows like a Seurat painting and each of them individually and the two of them together make this musical, which, admittedly, has some serious flaws in its plot/construction ... iconic. 

"There are only two worthwhile things to leave behind when we depart this world of ours: Children and Art." - James Lapine, book, Sunday in the Park with George

I included the clip above. Just listen ...

We'll miss you, Mr. Sondheim. So much.

---------------------------------------------------------

Recommended listening if you want to hear some Sondheim ...

Sweeney Todd, OBC

https://open.spotify.com/album/2q6InM859RCsSQOjHWNHk2?si=2kmz22NVSvmg1C712-us9Q

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I also mostly like really random, short, obscure songs in musicals, so for me, it helps that Timothy Spall was probably born to play Beadle Bamford, even if Depp sucks.

And to be fair, I am insanely picky about A Little Night Music. Only the 1990 Lincoln Center performance will do, but that has to do with how bad the OBC Desirée is.
You probably know this, but: today I learned that after a failed show, he considered turning to video game design before rallying and creating Sunday in the Park with George.

Yes, video game design. Yes, in '84 or '85.

I'm glad he changed his mind, but I would definitely like a peek at the universe where he designed video games.
i was completely obsessed with Sunday in the Park back in the day... i wanted to be bernadette peters soooooo badly. god, sondheim left such a legacy...
But…Colm Wilkinson!!!

 

It feels like aging is discovering which things that you used to do for fun are no longer enjoyable. 

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What did you discover?
So far, watching hockey/football/baseball, playing soccer, collecting comic books, attending music concerts, doing wine tourism...

rone 11/4
Are you also at least discovering new things to enjoy?
Trying to. Nothing's sticking.

Oh, add role-playing games and technical conferences to the list.
rone 11/4
Oh, we're playing more board games now. That's fun.
rone 11/5
Shhh, ignorance is bliss.
Ooooof. Sorry to hear this man. [Makes a note to do all the things he enjoys this year, just in case they are meh next year]
I think Baryshnikov said something along the lines of "everything you do after age 40 is damage control."
“What I used to do all night, now it takes me all night to do.”

CM Adams 11/5
 
 
 

A recap of episodic things from our list. Netflix unless otherwise noted. 

  • Ted Lasso (Apple) is fantastic. 
  • Madoka Magica, anime. Dark subversion of Magical Girl genre.  Excellent.
  • Sailor Moon Crystal, anime. Fluffy, unintentionally hilarious. Watching it across from Madoka Magica was really something.
  • DS9. We never watched it all before, so we started fresh.
  • My Love. Slow paced, pleasant doc of very old people who love each other. 
  • Way of the Househusband, live-action anime (fansub). Brilliant.
  • Squid Game. Bailed out after one episode. Antiheroes everywhere, glorified gore fest.
  • Headspace Guide to Meditation, short doc episodes. d likes it.
  • Aggretsuko, anime. Starts off goofy, gets deep, but also hilarious.
  • Age of Samurai, live-action doc. It was okay, if gory. Too many white people narrating though.
  • Korean Cold Noodle Rhapsody, food doc. Interesting history but watching people cram wads noodles in their face was not pleasant.
  • Eden, anime. Short futuristic series, lovely visuals. Cute, pleasant.
  • Chef's Table BBQ, food doc. A bit "look at these people" but interesting.
  • Masters of the Universe: Revelation. It isn't She-Ra but it made the man-children angry so worth a watch.
  • High on the Hog, doc about Black influence on American cooking. Highly recommended.
  • Legend of Korra, we tried, we really tried, but the voice acting is just so bad, and the characters act so inconsistently and stupidly.
  • Nadiya Bakes, British baking doc. She's irresistably perky but much of what she bakes we can't eat.
  • Taco Chronicles, food doc (en español). This was wonderful.
  • Black Lightning, superhero. Really well done but didn't stick for us.
  • Lupin (en français), heist. Honestly just watch Volume 1 and imagine they capped it off rather than put in the final twist. Omar Sy is great tho.
  • Luna Nera, fantasy (Italian). Didn't stick either, a bit grating at times.
  • Raja, Rasoi aur Anya Kahaniyan (India), food doc. Season 1 is a wonderful tour of the different regions of India, their cuisines, and how the various ruling classes affected what people eat.
  • School Nurse Files (Korean), fantasy/horror. Didn't stick.
  • Midnight Diner / Tokyo Stories, short stories in Japan. This is pretty good stuff in general, though some episodes are uneven.
  • Umbrella Academy, superhero. We choose to believe that everyone dies at the end of Season 1, and are glad there won't be any more.
  • The Good Place. Oh fuck yes.
  • Stranger Things. This is pretty good!
  • Food Wars, anime. We bailed, it was kinda boring.
  • Street Food, doc. This series is very good.
  • Korean Pork Belly Rhapsody, doc. Two episode series, quite interesting.

Well that's what Netflix said we watched in 2021.

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I really want to see Ted Lasso but really don't want to deal with Apple TV...

My brother swears by Stranger Things and even tried to get the Chipmunks to watch it. It just doesn't hit with me, for some reason.

I remember watching the pilot of DS9 when it very first aired! It (and the series) felt so groundbreaking at the time. Now it seems as clunky as Next Generation to me, though I still like it best of the older stuff, over NG and even Voyager. I've lovedLovedLOVED the new Discovery and can't wait for a new season. LOVE. (And Paramount+ is cheap, which is nice.)

Is there something I'm missing in The Good Place? I mean, I get that it's clever, but I ... I don't know. It just feels like endless sketch comedy but not far enough off the rails to make me laugh? Maybe it's because I have no attachment to a Judeo-Christian moral universe, so subverting that universe also doesn't interest me much? I wish I knew! I feel as though everyone else is enjoying a joke that I just don't get. lol
I couldn't get into The Good Place, either. It felt too.... I dunno, "perky". I had this problem with Kimmy Schmidt, as well.
I repeatedly wanted to nope out of The Good Place. Once you realize how subversive it's being, it starts bringing satisfaction.
DS9 is I think the first of Roddenberry's children to bring makeup (prosthetics), writing, and acting to a consistently high level. The ensemble cast and A/B plot structure of many episodes are challenges not always easily overcome. The costumes are a bit of a wreckage IMO.
Stranger Things has been mostly visually challenging due to the use of strobes, which I cannot watch even with eyes closed.
As for Ted Lasso, it's not a comedy. It is a drama that centers on joy in a 3-season arc, and we as a society don't have stories about joy in our heart.
I’d say if the Good Place doesn’t click for you after a season, then it won’t. But it will. 😁
Enjoy DS9! It feels like the Western of ST series to me. *blows smoke off pistol, tips hat*
My mileage may vary.

Ted Lasso: best viewed from outside the conventions. Have been following people's week by week reactions to Season 2 and looking forward to the next part of the 3-season arc.
Madoka Magica: tolerable, far too reminiscent of the way the dominant in our culture twist people and circumstances to their own ends. Similar to Neon Genesis Evangelion in a way.
Sailor Moon Crystal, Masters of the Universe, Eden: highly enjoyable, easy to pick up and follow, characters using unconventional strengths effectively.
My Love: in a way, a documentary about health care.
Headspace Guide to Meditation and Guide to Sleep: helpful albeit somewhat fluffy and white-buddhist.
Korean Cold Noodle Rhapsody and Pork Belly: quite enjoyable.
Legend of Korra: I would like to continue this, with the original voice acting. Perhaps on my own to avoid commentary about the production values and decisions made by characters.
Nadiya Bakes: enunciation, enthusiasm, and a surprisingly large portion of wheat-free recipes.
Black Lightning: I was enjoying this but we stopped. I've read up on where it goes, because I had to know what happens and we won't be seeing any more.
Lupin: Season 2 was entirely necessary and well done. Open to but not seeking out a third season, since it's not clear where they could take it that remains true to the original intent.
Luna Nera: learning the secret S doesn't know ruined what interest I had in finishing this.
The Good Place. Oh fuck yes only after most of a season of oh fuck no and several places of meh. Can see how someone would groove on a second review of this clearly complete story.
Stranger Things. Good acting all around, lots of callouts to the 80s in suburban US, far too much unpleasant visual noise.
Food Wars: too much fanservice, though the premise and characters were interesting.
Given the international series in your feed and the fact you tried School Nurse Files at all, you might try Mystic Pop Up Bar. It's sweet and fluffy and its weaknesses are oddly strengths. I wanted School Nurse Files to be as good, and stuck it out longer than I should have hoping it'd turn into MPB or something like... but no. School Nurse Files did not work. Way of the House Husband is everything. I'm profoundly sad there's not more of it. Except I'm not really sure there should be. Its brevity may be its perfection. Also, my husband needs a shiba inu apron now.
Legend of Korra ...

Before watching: We want more Avatar! This looks like more Avatar, let's watch it! Very excited!

After a episode or two: Ugh. The little pet red panda looking thing is cute, but this is NOT Avatar. Sadness.
 

Hey gang, sat down to write a post today and pictures were busted; sorry about that. Post tomorrow, got us a fix for uploading pictures today. Enjoy.

Work is currently underway on support for adding alternative text to any image, whether in a post or in a comment. For comments this involves a bit of a design overhaul, so it may be a Minute.

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Alt -text is a feature worth the wait. I like to hide secret messages in the alt-text of images at work.
You Da Best
 

"Texas House Bill 1927 permits people to carry handguns without a permit, unless they have been convicted of a felony or domestic violence. This measure was not popular in the state. Fifty-nine percent of Texans—including law enforcement officers—opposed it. But 56% of Republicans supported it."

Fuck those Republicans. Fuck those people who don't vote against them, run against them, donate against them, protest against them. And fuck those people who don't protest them. And especially fuck the 41% of Texans who did not oppose this law.

While we're angry about things, I'll be angry about that.


Also, donate:

https://janesdueprocess.org/

https://keepourclinics.org/

https://linktr.ee/WestFundTx

https://www.clinicaccess.org/

https://thebridgecollective.org/

https://fundtexaschoice.org/

https://linktr.ee/AfiyaCenter

https://linktr.ee/FronteraFundRGV

https://linktr.ee/teafund

https://www.wholewomanshealthalliance.org/

https://www.bucklebunnies.org/

https://avowtexas.org/


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Why is it that with all of the smart liberals in this country, conservatives seem a lot better at organizing?

Also, yes, fuck Texas Republican government.
 

Hi gang,

I saw a couple of friends coping in a DIY way with a possible bug today (tough to say at this point), and it prompted some thoughts about how little attention I've given the platform in a long time. My last push to the server was... cough... two and a half years ago.

In a way this is not such a bad thing. Hey, it works!

But there's a lot that could be improved, and long-running bugs that haven't received attention (notifications for your own replies, anyone?), and believe it or not I'm still interested in the question of whether I did everything I could to make it easy for folks to onboard and, yes, grow the site.

But of course there's very little time.

Meanwhile... recently in another context I was facing pleas to do more in a space that's outside of my more essential responsibilities from day to day. I am very well supported at work. But as in any workplace there are gotta-haves, wanna-haves and really-oughta-haves and it can be tough to juggle them.

So I struggled to organize this really-ought-have stuff as a Project. But a Project implies a Budget and Time and there is no budget or pre-scheduled time for that particular thing right now (darn those pesky gotta-haves). That meant everything I was writing felt like a recipe for stress.

I felt stuck, and anxious.

Then I noticed a kanban board feature in our internal wiki and deliberately created an itty-bitty kanban board to track progress in that particular arena.

When I was asked if I wanted to turn it into a Project instead... I said "nope!" Because the medium is the message. Project = Milestones. Schedule. Release Dates. Time Pressure. All of which are appropriate when resources are available, and needlessly stressful when they are not.

But a kanban board says "hey... this is the art of the possible! Nibble at it. Bash at it. Occasionally really go at it. You'll get there."

My kanban board at work turned out very well and I'm still using it to nibble away at the oughta-have thing I can only work on occasionally.

So in the same spirit, I plan to set up a kanban board for One Post Wonder.

And today, in that kanban spirit, I did three itty bitty things to move the ball forward:

1. The "submit a bug" button just sends me a damn email. It used to post an issue to my github project, which was too clever by half. I didn't get any notifications, I didn't pay attention and you probably felt neglected. I'm sorry about that. This should be better.

2. I fixed an issue that caused gmail to reject some emails from One Post Wonder. There are services you can pay to deliver your emails reliably. Cost aside, I feel it's important that we try to maintain independence in this area. Even though it's a pain in the ass and an ever-moving target.

3. I changed the welcome message you see when you sign up from "each day, post a carefully curated sonnet concerning the state of world affairs or you will be punished with lasers" (*) to this:

"It doesn't matter if it's a cat picture, a duck joke or a column worthy of Alexandra Petri."

I think this is way more welcoming, and I hope it will encourage people to feel like it's OK to just chill here. Lord knows I do. Shitpost away, everyone. You just can't do it more than once a day.

(*) It didn't really say that. It was far more well-intentioned but still kinda intimidating.

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I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record.
rone 8/29
I don’t feel tardy.
Tom, I'm very grateful for all the work and thought you've put in to creating friendly online spaces over the years. You have such a knack for it, and you do us all a great kindness. Thank you.

Perhaps you could share some of the "work" of it with some of us who code, if you and they are willing? Maybe you've all known each other long enough that it's time to grow into more of a cooperative model? I daresay you needn't shoulder this alone.
I should mention that Sean coded quite a bit for a while in addition to doing a beautiful job on the design. I am only now finally thinking a refresh might be in order. It still looks great.
Tom did canvas for contributors and, mea culpa, I signed up and then kinda got bogged down in even trying to get my development environment off the ground - OPW uses a few things I'm not au fait with and had to read up on. As a result I've had the code sitting on my laptop for several <embarrassed small print>years</embarrassed small print> without me doing any more than poking ineffectually at it.
Waider 8/29edited
No big, man. I could see that readability was an issue with that old school callback library, and I started a conversion to async/await style which is much more readable and maintainable, but did not finish. I should try that again in a more incremental way.
I am thinking about moving it to Amazon Lambda and such, which would be good for scalability and good for my skill set.
Ah, Amazon Lambda, or as they called it in the old days, "buying CPU time on the mainframe."
rone 8/30
Heh. It’s just that I keep solving things with old school scripting on servers I fail to treat as cattle. Need a shakeup.
tsk, don't diss my employer's cunning dressing up of old tech as new. Now, can I interest you in a punchcard?
Waider 8/30
I WRITED SOME CODE. I HOPE YOU LIKE IT.

LOVE
WAIDER
Waider 9/2
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/109276/kanban-drivers-edition is a game about optimizing your automotive assembly line, and I'd heard about it but never bothered learning what "kanban" meant.
 

I dreamt that Mrs. Hudson was the actual genius behind Sherlock Holmes and Watson's success. You can probably imagine this. She would bring the tea tray in, fuss with the set, keep Sherlock and Watson in the room so Sherlock could ask questions, she'd tip him off with a lift of her eyebrow or a coded teaspoon maneuver when the client dropped vital information. she'd plump the couch cushions, bake the best biscuits, make the coziest spaces for people to confess in. Or, she'd have Watson follow her to the kitchen, where she'd give him a full rundown of where to go, who to question and how, what evidence to gather, where to find it and, if it wasn't there, then exactly where it was, what conclusions to draw. 

Maybe I did need that extra nap, after all. 

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Mrs. Hudson was great. "Not your housekeeper!" The backstory about a seedy life in Miami that remained mostly a mystery.
I LOVED THAT so much. I can't remember what the exact exchange was, something about how Sherlock helped her out when her husband was going to be executed for murder.
"oh, you prevented it?"
"no, I ensured it."
Y'all remember Remington Steele, yeah? I think your version would be better, with it's Murder She Wrote / Mrs Marple vibe. Especially if Mrs Hudson was super super sweet but the way she handled a knife in the kitchen you know she'd cut you if provoked. I'd watch it, hell yeah.
Maggie Smith, Matt Smith, and Dev Patel?
YES.

Did you know, apparently Matt Smith auditioned to play Watson? I can’t remember where I learned that.
 

I've long thought it would be a good idea to do my own version of the classic tale of the Three Little Pigs. It would, of course, feature the Wolf as the protagonist and the pigs as the villains. The text would be in line with the traditional version, but the images would show the pigs tormenting the wolf and wrecking their own homes through carelessness.

The lesson to be learned would be "Be careful what you assume when you're not sure who wrote the history books."

Anyway, I did a duckduckgo search for "3 little pigs" today just to see what versions of the tale were readily available online, and stumbled on this video from the Dry Bar with comedian John Branyan. The relevant portion starts at 2:45. Thought it was too good to not share.

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That was hilarious and brilliant. Thanks for finding and sharing!!
Hey! I'm very very late to the party, but back in the '90s when I was student teaching at the elementary school level, I remember this book being a huge hit with the kids. It's called "The True Story of the Three Little Pigs!" by Jon Scieszka, and it's the story, but told by the wolf. It's been forever since I read it, but I did find this version on YouTube of someone reading it for kids. I didn't listen to the whole thing, but I don't seem to remember it taking the same tack that you want to explore in your version.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZtUdk2UlT8

Anyway, enjoy-- because you can't have enough big bad wolf stories. :-)
Whoa. Looking forward to this - thanks for the heads up!