August 2011

In the HBO series The Wire, fictional Baltimore mayor Tommy Carcetti says this:

“…I am, God forgive me, a politician. But I am also someone who ran for public office because I believe that there is a different way of governing and I believe that in the end we will be judged not by the efforts we make on behalf of those who vote for us or those who contribute to our campaigns or those who provide for our tax base. I believe that we will be judged by what we provide to the weakest and most vulnerable. That is the test. That is my test.”
This scene can be found in season five episode “The Dickensian Aspect” teleplay by Ed Burns, story by David Simon and Ed Burns.

Wouldn’t it be great if all our leaders genuinely passed this “Carcetti Test?”


Give a resounding ‘thank you’ to a virtuous leader in a free democracy!

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley recently spoke on the duty of a leader of good conscience in
a Constitutional Democracy to protect liberty, saying:

“…As Governor I am sworn to uphold the law without partiality or prejudice. I have concluded that discriminating against individuals based on their sexual orientation in the context of civil marital rights is unjust.”

Drop O’Malley a line and thank him for protecting Maryland from discrimination.

Maryland Governor O’Malley Bringing Truth In Full:

You can show your support for Kymberly Wimberly receiving sole-valedictorian honors and encourage McGehee School District to celebrate, not frustrate black student achievement.


Give a call to the McGehee School District members and let them know!

School Board Member Toby Young
(870) 222-4280

Superintendent Thomas Gathen
(870) 222-3670

School Board Member Jeff Owyoung
(870) 222-2886 x222

School Board Member Clarke Pugh
(870) 222-5343

School Board President William Campbell
(870) 534-1920

School Board Member Alice Banks
(870) 222-3165

Here’s some thoughts about how to improve the experience of life.
(Please add your ideas in comments!)

1. Exploring the joys of simplicity. Less is sometimes more. Less talk, less noise, less hurrying. Fewer possessions. Stepping away from shared resources of space, water, energy.

2. Courageously expressing yourself. The wisdom you’ve gleaned is important and will feel great to share. Release those talents and gifts. Enjoy your body, stand tall, celebrate you.

3. Exploring the new. Pursue novelty, strangeness, and step out into ‘first time experiences.’ Surprise yourself!

4. Seeing yourself in the larger picture. See your life in the context of a huge world history and the legacy you’ll leave behind. Larger views of humanity and history will ease temptations towards victim-mentality and self pity.

5. Being gentle to yourself and to others. We all fail. We all are conflicted, dynamic, paradoxical, and are doing the best we can. Make space for humanity. Allow yourself and others to ‘move at the speed of bodies.’

6. Remain inquiring. Expose yourself to new ideas, keep asking questions. Challenge authority. Inspect biases and uproot prejudices.

7. Accepting responsibility. Apologize, learn, move on.

8. Making choices. Be actional, decide. Put your personal stamp on each day.

9. Getting to the heard of life. Return to life, love, family, trust, creativity, art.

Harrison Ford in Love

Principle Characters


Note: all ‘scenes’ are located together. Places as designated in the script are differentiated only by light change, color change, background noise etc. Thrust stage

Two Chairs

C: Good. Keep going. Be specific.

B: Hmm. That’s hard. I would like to maybe move back to Mankato. There’s an opening for an internship there. And I know some people there.

C: Sounds like it may be a good opportunity.

B: I think so. My friend tells me, ‘capitalize’, ‘seize the day’ kind of stuff. You know?

C: The question is, Mr. Kropf…Do you know?

B: Hey! Hey, whoa! Good to hear your voice! How are you? Hey there! Wow, nice to hear your voice. How’s it going? (calls number on cell phone) Whoa. Hi. What’s up? Not much. Good to hear your voice again.


F: He’s always saying things like ‘I would kill for a latte right now’ and his eyes are just kinda vacant you know? Like a wanted poster stare.

B: Uh, yesterday, I called…

F: Just a freak. And he’s really into outdoorsy stuff. Hunting. Rifles, guns. I do not trust this guy at all. Not one bit. But, he is supposed to be the best dermatologist in the twin cities so, what can you do?

B: I called that girl from Chino’s

F: You know, if you find me someday, in a Dumpster, with my tongue pulled through my neck and my eyes gouged out-you know who did it. That’s all I’m saying. Dead at 26. At least my skin will be clear.

B: I called that girl from the club yesterday.

F: No!

B: Yeah.

F: Well, well, tell, tell!

B: It was horrible. She had no idea who I was. I had to describe myself like I was giving eyewitness testimony to a crime. Brown hair. Brown eyes…

F: What’d you say your weight was?

B: She didn’t remember me at all.

F: Well, that’s weird. That’s weird dude. What kind of girl is this? I mean she was kidding right? She had to have been expecting a call from you. I mean, she gave you her number right?


B: (standing next to G who is not listening) My mom tried to feminize me a lot you know? She had me in dance lessons. Tap. My brother played baseball. A bit of Jazz, some Ballroom. She had me wear those little shorts with knee high socks, decorated my room in Georgia O’Keefe prints. Whatever manhood I may have once had as a nine year old, she stole from me. Could’ve been worse though. I like O’Keefe. Good sense of color, great composition.

Club Guy: (comes up to G and gives her a hug) Have you been in hiding? I haven’t seen you in like weeks! Have you seen Dave? He’s here! We’re going to the Fine Line after, you should come!

G: Sure!

CG: Give me you number again quick would you? We’ll call if we get a cab.

G: Great! Its 612-050…(B quickly flips his phone out and types it in)



F: That is against the law, I think.

B: What?

F: You can’t number nab like that! That’s stalker stuff. Case of Minnesota vs. Creepy Ass Stalker stuff.

B: You’re the one who pressured me into being there, who’s always telling me to get out of my comfort zone.

F: Get out of your comfort zone, fine. But not jump into other strangers’.

B: You didn’t let me finish the story though. I gave her my number too…Made it even.

F: She didn’t give you her number then?

B: No. Why should she? What does it matter? I had it already.

F: Listen, I gotta go. Will you be ok here alone? (exits)

B: (dials cell)

MomVoiceOver: You have reached the Kropfs, we can’t get to the phone right now. Please leave your name and number and we’ll get back to you at our earliest available convenience. BEEP

B: Hi, Mom. Its me, I just called to say thank you for being such and awesome mom and not screwing me up at all. (hangs up, then dials cell again)

MomVoiceOver: You have reached the Kropfs, we can’t come to the phone right now. Please leave your name and number and we’ll get back to you at our earliest available convenience. BEEP

B: Me again. I was being sarcastic, if you couldn’t tell….and I’ll be by tomorrow to pick up my laundry. (hangs up)

Two Chairs

C: You have many talents. The world’s at your feet.

B: I know. I mean I know my strengths and I can do a lot if I try but… I once wanted to be in the circus did I ever tell you that? Not like Cirque de Soliel of one of those girl circuses but the Man’s circus. Drugged, beaten animals, clowns with sordid pasts, teen runaways, carcinogenic foam cowboy hats. I wanted to be the guy in the cannon.

C: Sounds dangerous. Its said that women are attracted to men of daring.

B: That’s not why I wanted to do it. I think I hoped they’d load too much gun powder in and I’d explode. When I found out that it was just a pneumatic platform in there that gently pushes out Cannon Guy, I lost interest.

C: Sounds destructive. You wanted to explode–be incinerated in front of an onlooking crowd?

B: I know, I know. It’s a pattern. I once wanted to be a school teacher too.




B: (picks up cell phone) What’s up buddy? Not much. Just chillin’ behind some jackass going 20 miles per hour on his cell phone. What’s up? No, I haven’t seen it, dude. Did you look in the foyer by your shoes? Yeah? Uh, how about the aquarium? Yeah, I’ll hold on. No go? Check the vegetable drawer in the…oh. Not in the fridge at all huh? (looks at cell) Hey, can you hold on a second? I’ve got a call on the other line. Dude! I’ll call you back! I think it’s the girl from the bar the other night. Yeah! (clicks over) Hello?


B: Do you think some people are just meant to be alone?

F: Monks, the criminally insane, Elvis in the later years, and you. Why?

B: Seriously.

F: Seriously, I don’t want to be an accomplice to your pity party, and I can see where this is going. I’ve told you dude-you’ve got to get your bait in the water, quit being such a defeatist. I try to help you, like Jane Goodall to some silverback, and you’re always making up reasons why you are undateable. Dude, you are hot and need to see that.

B: Come on…

F: You are hot. Maybe not ‘commentable hot’, but more of an ‘unspoken but understood hot’. Which is better, probably.

B: I’ve just got a lot of stuff to deal with.

F: Excuses. You had like one girlfriend in 11th grade who cheated on you with the Spanish teacher. Big deal. Move on with your life. I try to help you, but you don’t want it.

B: You call what you do help? You berate me, make light of my problems. You invalidate my emotions. You’re like…like a…

F: Magical genie who tells you the truth and tries to help you. Floats around at your beck and call. Its Saturday night, what are you doing? Staring into the mirror, listening to Chris Isaak. I tell you, come out with us, grab a drink, have a good time. “No, I’m just gonna stay home and sulk and wear sweat pants.”

B: I can’t help I am the way I am. You’re very callous sometimes.

F: I’ve got to be with you. You have made me callous. Heartless even. You have made me the monster I am. But its good for you.

B: Ok, try seeing how great a counsel you are. You be me and I’ll be you. Role reversal. You up for this?

F: I don’t think you can handle you.

B: You don’t have to if you don’t want to.

F: No I do. But be ready to look into the mirror of your soul….Have we started already?

B: No.

F: How will we know? Are you me right now?

B: No. Here, I’ll drop my arm when we start ok? (B raises arm and drop it. At the same moment, F starts crying and B yells-) Shaddup you big baby!
Car (on cell)

B: You will not believe who I just got off the phone with. Yes! Her! Yes she called me! Well, she was trying to call her landlord and saw my number in her ‘missed calls’ list and thought that was him. But! but what is important is that she didn’t hang up when she found out it was me! Can you believe it! Of all the people she could accidentally call she calls me! Luck has changed for me maybe! How about you? You found it yet? Ohh, not enough luck to go around I guess. Change is in the air, my friend. Things are going my way. Hey, lemme call you back real quick. (hangs up, yells out window) Go! What’s your problem man? Go! (gets out of car) What? You got a problem? That’s right. Tough guy. You’re a tough guy. Keep driving, asshole!

Two Chairs

B: I once planned on joining the clergy.

C: Would you have found fulfillment in the ministry?

B: I loved the Exorcist movies. And Godfather Three actually. Sean Connery in The Name of the Rose. Now, I know its not all exciting and glamorous like that all the time. But at least you get your weeks off. Probably have to work a lot of holidays though. Easter, Labor Day. The whole celibate thing wouldn’t be too much of a stretch for me, probably.

C: Not all men of the cloth have to takes vows of celibacy. My pastor for instance, is happy married,

B: Let’s change the subject all right? I didn’t mean for this to turn into a tent revival. Ok? Amen.


F: Do you think my ex-girlfriends would come to my wedding?

B: Uh, Maybe. Some might. Not the ones you screwed over. Why?

F: I want my wife to see all the chicks I’ve dated…

B: As a warning? “This is what you’ll look like when I’m through with you.”

F: I want her to see that all these women, beautiful as they may be, could never have got my heart like she does.

B: That’s sweet. Won’t she be creeped out by the sheer quantity of this tawdry assemblage? If they all did come, they’d fill your whole side of the church. Your parents would have to sit outside. Old, haggard, bitter women, chain smoking, destitute. The smell of Hepatitis heavy in the air…

F: I do want to get married someday.

B: Not me dude. You’ll never tie me down. “Live fast die young.”

F: Yeah, you’re a regular James Dean.

B: No, sir. I’m Harrison Ford. Made to be single. You could never catch him in love. Could you see Indiana Jones with a wife? Think about it. Wouldn’t happen.

F: Han Solo and Princess Leia were married.

B: They were not married.

F: Yes they were!

B: They were boyfriend and girlfriend.

F: …..The Fugitive was married.

B: His wife was killed by the one armed man. Doesn’t count. Harrison Ford cannot love- and any woman who gets close to him will be covered in bugs or die immediately. Sure, ok: you could cite Blade Runner’s alternate ending with him and Sean Young, but still: Sean Young was a cyborg. Doesn’t count.

F: (sarcastic) Your line of reasoning is beyond reproach! How do you get this stuff? By the way, Harrison Ford is a real person. Not the characters he plays. Even if you were Harrison Ford…

B: Its like James Bond when he married Tracy de Vincenzo in the movie In Her Majesty’s Secret Service. What happened to her? Gunned down in the next scene! It can’t happen.

F: Harrison Ford didn’t play James Bond.

B: But you get the point.

F: Someday you will fall in love, and be loved. Deal with it.

B: You haven’t heard a word I’ve said have you? (cell rings) Ohmygod.

F: What?

B: Its her. The girl. From the club.

F: What did I tell you, baby!

B: She probably is trying to call her landlord again. I’ll let it go to voice mail.

F: You answer that phone right now!

B: She probably has an ant problem, wants out of the lease.

F: Give me that phone!

B: Has a clogged toilet or something…..rats…(answers cell) Hello?

Two Chairs

B: When I was 10, I wanted to be a talk show host. I watched Johnny Carson every night. My dad would let me stay up. I would put on shows for my dad, and have interviews with my dog Barrymore. I would be Johnny and Barrymore would be Don Rickles. My dad would laugh and laugh.

C: I think that’s a wonderful dream! Whatever happened to it?

B: I saw my dad naked in the YMCA locker room.


Movie Theatre (B is seated, eating popcorn, F comes down aisle)

F: Psst! Hey, psst! (B turns and waves) Sorry, I’m late buddy. Ugh!

B: Traffic? (F reaches in popcorn box, its empty) Sorry. I finished it.

F: Its not even the previews yet! Traffic on 62 was hell. Its freezing in here!

B: I’m kinda warm.

F: Minnesotans have no right-no right to complain about any sort of weather that may ever occur here when they purposely subject themselves to this. If this was outside, people would be gnashing teeth, rioting, complaining for weeks. ‘I don’t care about the snow, but the cold! Can’t escape it.’

B: Well, we went out yesterday,

F: Parkas, mittens, ‘A northeasterly wind out of Canada.’ Its ridiculous. I’m gonna talk with the manager.

B: We went to the Como Zoo.

F: Like there’s a manager even here. Just five 17 year old drug addicts ripping tickets, squirtin’ yellow stuff on overpriced popcorn.

B: Here, borrow my jacket. (he puts it on) We went to Como Zoo yesterday.

F: Right! I’ve been meaning to ask you, I was gonna call you today. How’d it go? You worked your magic…

B: We went to Como, it was pretty fun I guess. Nice weather. One of the gorillas had a blood clot in his leg, so you know, there were a lot of veterinarians whipping through the park on their golf carts, had the gorilla in the bucket scoop of a bulldozer. Took a team to roll him into an ambulance. To him over to Abbott hospital. A lot of kids were standing around crying. I heard parents saying “Its alright. He’ll be fine.” There’s no promises with blood clots! That thing gets loose and hits his lung…or his brain…

F: Tell me about the date! Was she fun? What happened?

Zoo (sounds of animals and sirens)

G: Poor monkey. There’s no promises with blood clots. That thing could get loose, and end up in his lung, or brain…

B: I think I love you.

Movie Theatre

F: Wow. (in disbelief)

B: It seemed like the thing to do. I don’t know why I did it.

F: ‘I think I love you?’

B: It was my first date. I was nervous, I didn’t know what to say.

F: Do you love her?

B: No. No, no, no. I said ‘I think I love you.’ Which is a far cry from ‘I love you.’

F: You’re right. Totally different. You never say you think you love anything! I’ve never even heard you say you like something! You said Disneyland was alright. The most excited I’ve seen you get was over the DVD release of “the Dark Crystal”, which you said was ‘pretty sweet.’ You must have freaked this girl out, man. I mean are you serious? What did she say?


G: Are you serious?

Movie Theatre

B: You see? You’re always on my case: ‘Do this, do that.’ ‘Get your bait in the water.’ What happens when I put my self out there? Berate me, make fun of my problems…

F: I’m just saying its hard for me to see my star pupil, my protégé make such a fundamental mistake. Love, saying the word, thinking about the word, saying you’re thinking about the word is not something to fuck with. Its like an ecosystem. You know?

B: No, I don’t know.

F: You either have got spotted owls or not. And if you do, then you’ve got to ask yourself: Do I really need a spotted owl? (lights dim, previews start)

VoiceOver1: In River’s End Montana, everyone is family.

VO2: Morning, Patty.

VO3: Howdy Ben.

VO1: But every family has secrets.

VO4: Something’s in the cellar.

VO5: Get off my land!

VO4: Something is very wrong here.

VO1: This summer, booking a vacation to River’s End could turn into a permanent stay.

VO6: Why don’t you relax, have some coffee?

VO7: Hold on to something!

VO5: Aaaaaghh!

VO4: Mommy, why isn’t River’s End on the map?

VO6: Looks like its gonna be a long, hot summer.

VO4: Aaaaaaggh!

VO7: Have you ever wondered why there’s no graveyards here? Think about it!

VO1: River’s End- population: murdered.

B: That looks good. Ben Affleck is always good.

F: We’re getting out of here, c’mon.

B: Why?

F: There’s no popcorn, I’m freezing, you’re telling women you love them. We’re leaving. (they exit)

Driving (B and F separately)

F: (calls on cell) Hey, buddy.

B: Hey,

F: Look, I’ll rent you that movie sometime.

B: Don’t worry about it.

F: I just couldn’t stay there. But, I called to say I’m sorry.

B: Ahh, don’t worry about it.

F: No, you’re right. I should be happy for you.

B: No, I know it wouldn’t work out between us. Look, I just got nervous and said it. I’m over it. I had a good time with her, but maybe we’ll just be friends or something.

F: You’re a good man, buddy. You know, I’m kinda proud of you, really.

B: After five years of friendship, I’ve finally earned your respect.

F: I’m just saying, that I shouldn’t be so hard on you, that’s all. (looks at phone)

B: You got another call?

F: Yeah, I’m looking to see who…9287? That number ring a bell? Is that Jon?

B: Oh! No, that’s her.

F: What do you mean?

B: That’s her. I told her to give you a call.

F: Are you serious?

B: Yeah, I told her all about you. Told her she should give you a call.

F: I am not taking this call, buddy.

B: Dude, why not? I think you’d like her.

F: If you think I am going to take this call…

B: (slams on brakes, avoiding accident) Dude, I’ll call you back. (hangs up cell, gets out of car) What’s your problem man? You got a problem? Get back in your car, that’s what I thought! (lights out on B)

F: (clicks over on cell) Hello?

Two Chairs

C: Our time is almost up,

B: Yeah, well, I have to get to Calculus, or I’ll be counted late.

C: I think we made some headway today.

B: Yeah?

C: Yeah. Come spring you’ll have your ducks in a row don’t worry.

B: My what?

C: Ducks in a row.

F: Well, thanks. You’ve been real helpful.

C: You know, before you go, I was in your shoes once. No job prospects, a single guy, no real future to speak of…But, I got my college degree under my belt, a little spit and polish, and there you go! You see?

B: Sure, thanks.

C: No problem.


F: (on cell laughing and talking nonsense like a robot and a baby alternately) Hahaha, ok, I’ll see you in a little bit. Bye-bye. She says ‘hello’.

B: Oh.

F: We’re going to “River’s End, M.O.” tonight. That Ben Affleck movie.

B: Cool.

F: Thanks again buddy, by the way. I mean, its not weird for you? Us going out?

B: No. No. I’m totally cool.

F: You’re a good man. A sage, a scholar, a man of the arts, full of wisdom and grace!

B: You know, my counselor said to me once,

F: You’re seeing a counselor? A shrink! You didn’t tell me?

B: My job counselor. Career placement guy at the U.

F: Oh.

B: He said, ‘common sense is quite uncommon’.

F: hmmm.

B: ‘Its good to dream big dreams….

F: right.

B: …..and even better to live them.’ He’s full of stuff like that.

F: I bet. Say, I’ve got to run, I’ve got to meet her like (checks watch) right now. See ya buddy.

B: See ya dude, have fun. (F exits and B dials on cell)

MomVoiceOver: You have reached the Kropfs, we can’t come to the phone right now. Please leave your name and number and we’ll get back to you at our earliest available convenience. BEEP

B: You know, ….(checks phone) I got another call, I’ll call you back. (clicks over)

F: Hey, you know, we were just talking and were wondering if you’d want to meet us out at the club after the movie.

B: No, I’ll just stay in tonight.

F: C’mon! It’ll be fun!

B: No, no, no.


(the three of them are dancing.)


your panic attack in Wyoming you told me
was tidal and unremitting.
the soil was insensitive, and sky covered everything.
in the land forgotten, arthritic, and delirious
were tie, rail, spike, gravel,
and the gandy dancer was a prophet in his own right.
every rail he brought ’round he spoke to a nation
giving voice to the land he was birthing.
his sleeves were smokestacks, his shirt a buttoned furnace
and he murmured his oracle in song- in leathered hands-
to shorelines, ghostlike coasts, the islands, the winds:
like all true prophets he spoke and still speaks to the winds.

your hair like raven’s nest
braided about you,
will never warm you.
spears like talon
tearing within you,
eyes of vultures
vying to hold you.
lift your death stare
skyward, Absalom.
mimic the sparrow
sing, Absalom.


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