Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hitman tour leaves behind musical slayage in D.C.’s Warner Theater

WASHINGTON—God created music, dammit. I’m convinced. And he, she…or he and she…or it or them-there… they put a bunch of it on display last night when David Foster’s Hitman Tour hit D.C.’s Warner Theater.

David Foster is not, as James Comey might say, “out breaking legs and– you know, shaking down shopkeepers.” Nothing like that. This Hitman slays our hearts by taking shaped notes and cranking out hit after hit over decades—so many that you might not know how much this man’s musical footprint has pitter-pattered over your life’s soundtrack.

And it was a great show—aptly titled “An Intimate Evening with David Foster.”

An intimate feel it had with the Warner Theater’s ornate architecture and cozy seating.

Foster accompanied all of us down memory lane with with a team of fantabulous singers. They were EXCELLENT. “I wish I could sing like that,” Foster joked during the set, “then I wouldn’t need them.” He did croon lines from some of his beloved hits as well. And he’s needed, because no one can write what he writes how he writes it.

LAWDY-BE it was a good show! I just hope the adorable 70-something year old blonde lady sitting next to me didn’t think I was too loud when I got all happy and started shouting “YAAAAASSSSS” like I was up in church or something. She didn’t complain.

She also didn’t look 70. But she did tell me she retired from the CIA. #random

Sooooo… I’m a little biased about which of Foster’s guests I enjoyed most. Don’t get me wrong—I enjoyed them ALL. Fernando Varela and Pia Toscano can sing like NOBODY’s business! Whew! But Shelea blew the roof off the motha-sucka!

“I don’t understand why someone like her doesn’t have a show in her own right. She’s good,” CIA seat-neighbor told me.

“Best of all,” I replied, “she’s a genuinely nice person.”

Of course, of all the people on that stage, she’s the only person I have any experience with…  I don’t count the 25 seconds I stood next to David Foster–long enough to take a photo after a session at the NAB Radio Show in San Francisco in…2000, I think. Still have that photo somewhere… ##random

Lookie-here
The Hitman tour isn’t over. There are still some dates coming up in Florida. If you’re nearby—or not—airplanes still work, lol!

And if you can’t make it, just Google samples of Varela, Toscano, and Shelea. If you ever see them live—methinks it’ll be worth it.

Shelea:

Fernando Varela:

Pia Toscano:

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Should I get down and derby?

(PLANET EARTH) — Sometimes work takes me to unexpected places. So a couple of months ago, in the cold-@$$ clutches of winter, I met a few ladies with no pants on.

My pants were on. I was working, yo. Yes, I understand that some professions don’t require pants—but this wasn’t that. Hark! Retrievest thy mind from the gutters.

So every year in the cold-stale crust of winter, folks get together to ride subways around their respective cities. With no pants on.

I’ve had the vicarious joy of covering this event at work for two years in a row.

Even though the three ladies were riding the Metro in their underwears (shout-out to little kids who say it plural because—two leg holes), it was for a kinkyless purpose.

The trio was from the Free State Roller Derby team, and they were pretty kind and friendly. We chatted, I got some sound for work, passed out a business card or two.

Months later, one of them dropped me an email inviting me to cover their season opener in Rockville, Md.–and a reminder to think about joining the league.

So I pitched the season opener story idea to the weekend managing editor–and it was a go!

Here’s what I learned in a nutshell—FSRD is almost nine years old, and they have a training program for newbies to get acclimated to derby-style skating. The new folks are called Fresh Meat, and before they can bout, they have to be able to skate a certain number of laps around the derby track—I think it’s 27 or so. Fresh Meat members are also taught other things, including how to fall–kind of like boxing, where you’re taught how to take a punch.  They assess their skills before letting them join a bout.

A couple of the ladies I spoke to said they were turned on to roller derby from the Drew Barrymore-directed movie Whip It. I’ve never seen it, but I must do so after the raves I heard today!

So question is… Should I try to join the league? It’s been several years, but I know I can hold my own on some skates…but derby style? I’d probably fracture my whole clumsy body. I’ve been described as lithe and graceful, but do not be deceived. Clumsy has always tread just beneath the surface.

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Memorable afternoons sans pants

Every so often I really love how I spend an afternoon. Today, I got to observe and follow dozens of people who took part in DC’s 2018 version of The No Pants Subway Ride.

Every year for the past decade or so, DC Improv has hosted its own iteration of the No Pants Subway ride which started in New York in 2002 as a prank by a group of guys.

Now, it’s held in January in several cities around the globe—all on the same day.

And today was cold AF. See, a good portion of the East Coast is trying to wriggle it self free from a cold snap that has gripped it by the throat for the past week or so.

I can’t say I know what it’s like to ride public transportation in my panties. And I can’t say that I will ever find out what that is like. Knowing how I am wired, that probably t’ain’t neva gon’ happen.

But what I can say is that I thoroughly enjoyed watching a diverse group of human beings… Of different races, ethnicities, I’m guessing they all held different beliefs, jobs and the like… But as one person I spoke to today told me… They’re all just “weird” enough to do something like this and it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

It was cool to recognize a few faces from last year. Like the blogger from Baltimore, the guy who dressed up as a character from The Walking Dead, and the older gentleman who is a self-described nudist.

And there are the folks I met this year—the roller derby ladies, the man toting a briefcase who was mostly dressed for work except pants, and the woman who participated to celebrate her 45th birthday.

Good times!

Nah, I may never drop my pants to ride Metro in my drawers, but I definitely appreciate folks who have the courage to do so.

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Discovering the deep, discovering voice

I know why I’m here.  My parents copulated and, well… nature kept on moving.

That doesn’t answer the why… it answers the how.  Let’s get to why.

The answer to these questions evolves with each stage of my life.


I was writing in my journal… but that wasn’t “writing,” writing. Only dawdle-thoughts in pastel-colored books. 


When I was in kindergarten, my biggest goal was to graduate from the 8th grade.  When I became a high school freshman, the top two goals became college acceptance and 12th grade graduation.  As a college freshman, the goals were were jobs and putting out quality work, exploring and applying for internships, studying and passing tests, taking inventories to know which careers better suit my personality, learning to roller skate backwards, keeping up with my studies, all of this with graduation as the end goal for that pathway.

During that time, I had always wanted to be a writer. I mean, I was writing in my journal throughout college, but that wasn’t “writing,” writing. Only dawdle-thoughts in pastel-colored books.

Here’s a confession.  It’s taken me years to accept that my penchant for scrawling notes and story ideas on scraps of paper, keeping small spiral notebooks of ideas, scrawling in journals, and these days, using various apps to store ideas on electronic devices might actually mean something.  It’s a sign there’s no shortage of ideas about what to write.  However, all those scribblings will be a whole heap of nothing if I don’t follow through by cobbling then crafting these ideas into complete works.  It doesn’t matter if they’re blog posts, freelance magazine articles, extra projects for work, or complete books.   I am here to think, write, dream, write, establish goals, and diligently work at them to and through fruition.

At work, I have the privilege of telling other people’s stories, which I deeply enjoy.  It’s a key part of my life.  Sometimes these stories are gleeful, other times, downright sad.  But these experiences are important to share.  In addition to telling other folks’ stories, I’m also meant to write my own story, in my own voice.

Discovering the deep

Speaking of voice, when I was a little girl, I spent lots of time tinkering around with one of my dad’s tape recorders.  The mono, black recorder with the little orange rectangle that users had to depress in order to capture audio. That old school thing.   I remember the first time I experimented with it, and recorded myself talking and singing made-up ditties.   When it was playback time, imagine my horror when I didn’t sound like some of the high-pitched voices that other little girls at school or on television released from their larynxes.

“You sound like a boy,” I thought, extremely disappointed with reality.

Fast forward to seventh or eighth grade, when I got the first random compliment for my speaking voice. Jump ahead to college, and my boy-sounding voice (coupled with that kind lady’s random compliment which buoyed my confidence) helped land me a job at the campus radio station.  Fast forward past more jobs in radio, and I’ve learned to be thankful for both my writing and speaking voices.  Even if some poor souls mistake me for a man over the phone.  It’s alright.  Still thankful.

This is my Day 8 post for the 30 Day Writing Challenge in the Speak Write Now Community.

 

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If you could change ONE THING that would make the world better, what would it be?

2 April 2017

Because any question or comment is liable to get me singing the closest related tune floating through my mind, I started singing Change the World by Eric Clapton.

Yup, “If I could change the world, I would be the sunlight in your universe.  You would think my love was really something good, baby if I could change the world.”

Then I got stuck on the love being something good.  Wouldn’t it, if there were more of it?

Here’s why my mind is stuck on love.

Both of my stories for work dealt with tragic anniversaries.  A new exhibit at Arlington National Cemetery marks the centennial of United Sates involvement in World War I.  One hundred years since 116,000 lives were claimed during the Great War from combat and disease. Those were just folks from the USA. Looking at each country, the number totals spike into the tens of millions. That’s a LOT of people.

Sunday’s second story covered the kickoff event for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week in a local county.  The whole thing made me want to go weep in the station vehicle. Nine photos were perched on concrete stairs leading to a stage in the middle of a town-center style shopping center.  Each photo represented a life cut short by criminal activity.  From the cute little boy with chubby-looking cheeks, to the 18-year-old young lady who perished in the Virginia Tech shooting nearly a decade ago, to a 22-year-old who was gunned down, and his family still doesn’t know why.

Each photo represents an unknown number of family members and friends who are left to grieve absences that will never be filled by another human being on this planet.  Ever.  Each photo possibly represents an unknown number of first responders who may never be the same after working the crime scenes where these victims died.

Where do the tragic ripples end?  I have no answer for that, but what seems certain is that somewhere, somehow, love for these victims was absent during the slivers of time it took to commit each crime.  Can’t help but think that’s a truism, whether any victim’s life is taken by a stranger, an acquaintance, spouse, lover, or parent.

It’s not up to me to hash out each case and condemn any person.  What I deduce is rooted in another song.  The world just needs more love dipped in compassion and sprinkled with patience.

If I could change one thing to make the world better, that would definitely be it.  Love.  More of it.  I’ll let it begin with me, and put it to practice the next time I want to curse out an awful driver on the Beltway.

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Stomping out the Rittenhouse core, Houdini’s beginnings: Timeless episode’s 10 and 11

Our time traveling trio Lucy, Wyatt and Rufus are wondering if they are hopping through years and space for the bad guys and if the good guys are actually the ones they should fear most. Talking to Garcia Flynn makes them wonder. In the meantime, Agent Christopher knows the slightest changes in the past could cause present family members to vanish as if they never were. She knows Lucy’s sister has disappeared, so Agent Christopher asks Lucy to safeguard some memories in case her family is somehow erased.


Flynn sweetens the pot to enlist Wyatt’s help.


So they end up smack dab during the American Revolutionary War days, and they cross paths with Benedict Arnold. Flynn lets Rufus, Lucy and Wyatt know Arnold is a founding member of Rittenhouse and they should want to stop him.

Flynn sweetens the pot to enlist Wyatt’s help. He offers to reveal the name of his wife’s killer.

But first, they end up finding out that the mastermind behind Rittenhouse is another man. They succeed in killing that man, who also has a young son. Lucy wanted to spare the boy’s life… But Flynn wanted to smite that child. While Lucy was advocating for the boy’s life, the lad slipped away. We don’t know where that child is… But you can bet a bottom dollar that he probably filled his dad’s shoes within Rittenhouse.

Flynn wanted to kill that boy so dead in order to squelch Rittenhouse fresh out the womb, but since Lucy stopped him, he grabbed (basically kidnapped her) and forced her to board the nice, shiny, new time machine and they disappear before Rufus’ and Wyatt’s eyes.

In episode 11, the rickety Lifeboat pops back to Mason industries. And they’re trying to figure out where the mothership is located, but it’s been all over the place.

Back at Mason, they figure out that Flynn’s been able to hop hither-thither and yon because of a battery he made with Anthony’s help using the nuclear core from several episodes ago.

The kidnapped Lucy is typing at some computer, when Flynn comes back from a journey on the mothership and tells her that he tried to go back and finish the job. That means he went looking for the son of Rittenhouse’s founder so he could smite him. But the kid was nowhere to be found, and there was no subsequent trace of him in history.

So, Flynn says instead of trying to stamp down Rittenhouse at its origins, he’s going to kill each member one by one.
So they end up at the Columbian Exposition, or Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, with Rufus and Wyatt trailing them.

One of Flynn’s guys throws them off they end up going to a hotel, a sort of Roach Motel [https://youtu.be/jKhGHxO-woc?t=29s] for humans, called Murder Castle. Some monster, who went by the alias H.H. Holmes [http://www.biography.com/people/hh-holmes-307622#the-murder-castle-is-built], killed a bunch of people in this death trap hotel. Holmes is considered one of this country’s first serial killers, claiming his victims before the term “serial killer” was commonplace.

Rufus and Flynn ended up trapped in an airtight room with another man and a woman, who is an architect who was supposed to die, but ends up influencing the world.

Harry Houdini plays into this episode. He’s at the start of his ascent to fame. If you guess his help is enlisted to maneuver around some locks and get folks out of tight spaces, you’re right.

Confirm any other guesses by watching the entire episode:

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Celebrating music and stories that changed America

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Museum of History and Culture opened with lots of fanfare in September.

Tonight… a two-hour star-studded show to celebrate what the museum is about. A conversation about tonight’s show with Tasha Coleman, Senior Manager of Counsel Relations and Special Initiatives at the museum.

A preview of tonight’s extravaganza

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This is Us episode 10: Hooking us in for a January comeback

Why must folks threaten to kill off characters to keep us coming back for another go-round? Gets on my nerves. But it works.

So we see the good doctor again, the one who delivered Kate, Kevin and their wee little brother who passed away. He’s also the one who was partially responsible for getting Randall to Jack and Rebecca.

It’s Christmas time. No, not in Hollis Queens… But in 1989.


So we see the good doctor again, the one who delivered Kate, Kevin and their wee little brother


Kate gets a tummy ache and they have to take her to the hospital, which is where they see the good doctor. He had gotten himself into a car accident… Skidded on an icy patch and sustained some internal injuries and bleeding… a slow bleed between the heart and lungs. Doc seems to think he won’t make it out of the needed surgery.

Of course Jack reeks of positivity. He thinks the doctor will be just fine. It was Christmas Eve, the good doctor’s family was not around… So the Pearson’s stood in as Doc’s supportive family. And Randall, the sweet young man that he was (and still is), used his allowance money to buy a snow globe to thank the good doctor for bringing their family together.

Stage Drama
So Kevin and the playwright, Sloane, slept together. And she tells him he needs to go to Hanukkah dinner with her. Because he owes her. And her family’s piece of work. But so is his, so he’s in great company.

So what happens is that he spills the beans about Sloane’s play is a no-go. Olivia disappeared, they don’t have a star, so the folks who are (were) funding the play pulled their money. So Kevin, in the spirit of his dad who was the EEEEEEternal optimist, he suggests they put the play on themselves. Kevin offers to back it with his money… And encourages Sloane to play the starring role. She’s familiar with it. She wrote the play, and played that while work shopping it.

Meantime Kate is meeting with a counselor about gastric bypass surgery. She’s listening to all of the risks… Rebecca is also present and seems unconvinced this is the best move for her daughter. Rebecca also learned a little more about Kate’s medical history. Like how she’d been on Prozac. But she stopped because it made her gain weight. Rebecca also learned about Kate’s binge eating.

So what else is up with their disconnect? It can’t only be because Kate mom is skinnier than she is…or is it? What else happened to Kate or to Rebecca that makes the relationship so fractured? I wonder if they’ll go into that more when the show returns on January 10. Rebecca wonders if Kate’s food problems are her fault, and tells Kate she didn’t know if she was bringing it up too much or not enough… she never knew what to say. Kate hasn’t put her finger on it either, and says she doesn’t know if her mom caused her food issues.

William is at a support group. And he speaks about taming his addiction from the inside. And then another man named Jessie speaks afterwards. As he talks about a man he loved. And a man who left. And left his heart in shambles. That man… William.

Yes sir, William is gay. He’s like the kid with two dads—like in a book at school. That’s what one of his granddaughters noted later on in the show, after William showed up at Randall’s house with Jesse. Grandad is gay. “Or at least bi,” she schooled her parents. Out of the mouths of babes who know what’s really going on, and have no qualms about love in all its forms.

Continue reading This is Us episode 10: Hooking us in for a January comeback

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Extra Tape, more story

When I am out in the field for work, I usually gather way more than enough tape than I need to turn a story around. What a waste if I don’t at least try to use at least some more of what’s gathered to tell more of the story.

That’s the goal of Extra Tape… even though I’m not using tangible tape to record anything anymore.

So let’s get to the story… The rector of a congregation in Silver Spring, Md. arrived to church and found hate-based messages written in two places on the church campus. Both messages read “Trump Nation whites only.” This congregation and its supporters and allies are pushing back with love:

Montgomery County, Md. Police are investigating what they call “hate-based vandalism,” and are offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information that leads to an arrest or arrests.

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