Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tour de Jour: The Park Service NOT at FDR

By the Queen of Free

One night last week I went to a walking tour at the FDR Memorial.

It was a free tour, one of the many free things to do which is hosted by the National Park Service. I found it on the Web at "Cultural Tourism DC."

That day I called the National Park Service to make sure someone would show up. After some fumbling around and several questions asked of me about the tour from the Park Service employees, the NPS folks "found" it and said yes, someone would be there to lead it.

It's a long walk from my office to the FDR Memorial, but I certainly needed the exercise. And the information from a Park guide about FDR. I don't know enough about him.

But I wanted someone to show up. That was the reason to go, no?

No one came.

Three of us waited at the appointed hour of 8 p.m. at the beautiful, the crowded (even at night, but it's so spread out and big, who notices the people?) FDR Memorial for the hour's tour. After 15 minutes two of us left to explore the memorial on our own. At 8:25 p.m. I saw the third of our group still waiting on the bench.

The Park Service was certainly apologetic the next day.

Why does it post tours that, seemingly, none of its employees know anything about? Why are tours posted on a Web site which do not happen?

Another tour was scheduled for Friday night for a two hour evening tour of the Mall. Even though a Park Service employee told me someone would show up to lead that one, too, how could one be sure? Was it worth a wait downtown until 7 p.m. to find out? I nixed the possibility.

Yes, it is free; yes, the Park Service is poorly funded, but why promote something that's not going to happen? It creates frustration and unhappiness among those interested, not to mention negative comments on a blog.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Movie: "Man on Wire"

92 critics can't be wrong.

Are you familiar with the "tomatometer"? The film critics' site, "Rotten Tomatoes"? Few movies score 100% on the "tomatometer" which means "thumbs up" by all participating critics, and "Man on Wire" is one!

Go see it! Just fantastic.

The story, the score, the tension, the everything.

A documentary and thoroughly entertaining. Not a chick flick; not for the squeamish or "fluff bunnies," or acrophobics. You will grip your seat; you will gasp; you will laugh. Although you know the ending, your palms still sweat.

Philippe Petit's "words of wisdom" at the end are worth the price of admission. And if you are curious about the construction of the World Trade Center towers, many scenes of their construction are screened throughout.

Bravo, Philippe Petit, the star, James Marsh, director, and Michael Nyman, music director! I can't wait to buy the CD.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Movie: 'Mamma Mia'

Moviegoers and Mama lovers, this is not for those who've seen it on stage. Yes, it is as bad as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and CBS reviewers claim.

The theatre version is so lovable, you want the movie to entertain and enthrall like the play, but, alas, movies are seldom as good as the stage, and this one follows the pattern.

My cousin called it “camp.” Yes, it is “camp” all right. It is so camp that audience laughter is rampant when Pierce Brosnan sings. Especially in "S.O.S." He was a super trouper to have tried this and must have earned money, money, money for taking the chance. Meryl Streep's singing is almost as bad. The girl (“Sophie,” Amanda Seyfried) has a stunning voice, the only one which works on a professional level.

If you can put aside your musical ears and take a chance on it, you may likely spend a pleasant two hours if you paid the matinee price. And if you are a chick, for “Mamma Mia” is strictly a “chick flick.”

My pal, Rita Faye called it “the best movie I’ve ever seen in my life!” Well, you can only imagine what she has seen (or not seen).

Despite all the criticism that the female stars are too old, their ages made no difference to these dancing queens.

There’s no need to pluck the plot since there isn’t one. You’re reading this since you like “Abba,” right? That’s the plot. Beware: The songs will stick to your mind like brain plaque.

Location expenses will win the Oscar for the lowest location costs for a large-scale movie, since 95 percent of it takes place in a Grecian urn, whoops, Grecian inn. Dear reader, the money saved was not used on voice lessons. It's only money, money, money, honey, honey.

Must reading: The Times’ review by A. O. Scott. (Link above.) It is one of the best movie reviews and should by studied by theatre students everywhere. You need to laugh out loud? Take a read.

In Santa Fe on a Monday night, the audience was a respectable 50 persons or so. Not bad for a camp out night. Based on the number of theatres still showing it locally several weeks after opening, the winner got it all. Thank you for the music.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Crime at the Nats Game

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon yesterday to take my out-of-town family to a Nats game and join friends. For unprofessional fans, our seats were great! Section 202 in the shade on a hot day.

It was our first visit to the glorious new stadium and everything went well, even spreading out with stroller, grand baby, and daughter at the nearby concrete platform with railing to watch the game from a distance and enjoy our picnic of Nats' dogs, chicken wings, fries, water and cold beer.

Everybody was happy and the Nats won! 4-2 vs. Cincinnati. My 16-month-old grandson clapped his little hands and shouted with the crowd.

My pleasure in ball games involves dogs, beer, good conversation, and an occasional look out on the field to see what's going on. I went for my last and second beer of the day to a nearby food stand and gave the cashier $20.50 for a Bud Lite (yes, no Happy Hour pricing), and she gave me $13.00 in change. She then picked up the $1 bills from the drawer, leafed through them, finding a $10 bill in the 1s, and stuffed about $12 in her right shorts pocket. Then she stooped and stayed hidden by the counter top.

Should I have reported it right then and there? To whom? Caused a commotion at the bottom of the sixth in the stands? I pondered: If the transaction was recorded in receipts, and several people have access to the cash drawer, who is charged with stealing? Is anyone? Or are shortages common? It would be easy to avoid ringing up cash purchases by pouring beer from the tap. Who would know? Perhaps employees are instructed to stuff bills in their pockets when the till gets full. Calling Mr. Ethicist.

The government money crimes in D.C. are unceasing and revolting.

Last year I boarded bus 5A at Dulles en route home and watched the bus driver stand and collect $3 in cash from each rider. If exact change is required, why was the bus driver collecting it? I thought drivers were not supposed to handle cash. I reported that one.