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Fair and Balanced Discussion from Southern Oregon

Friday, June 24, 2005

A Special Thanks to the Rude People 

This will be one of the blog entries that virtually guarantees I'll never be a candidate for anything again, because the petty snark will demonstrate my "great disdain for the common folk" and reinforce the elite intellectual snobbery so often associated with me and others of liberal ilk. That said, I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the nice people who shared today's 1:55 showing of Mr and Mrs Smith with me today at the Medford Cinemark.

My first hint of the trouble ahead should have come with the Dukes of Hazzard preview, when Jessica Simpson first appears as Daisy... the row of adolescents in the middle back of the theater offered their audible approval of this casting choice, with whistles and a "YEAH!!" The cultural appreciation bar seemed to be set fairly low.

I left for a quick restroom break during the next preview and returned just as a trailer began featuring singing, along with actors known to us unwashed masses who only see performances on the Tee Vee or the Moving Pictures as being from The West Wing, Law & Order, Josie and the Pussycats, and Adventures in Babysitting.

As "Seasons of Love" carries us through the whole trailer - sometimes very realistic like someone made a movie set in New York, sometimes clearly staged like someone made a movie of a play. All very cool. Five Hundred Twenty Five Thousand Six Hundred minutes... likely a larger number than my theater-mates can comfortably conceive... I nudged my companion, as the trailer started, "I bet we're the only people in this room who know what this is for..." 2 minutes later, as the 8 'specials' fade out on the main cast on stage, and the name "Rent" fades in atop the screen, my Daisy Duke lovers in the back offer the gem "What does that mean?"

The little voice in my head offered, "It means you are woefully undercultured."

I should be so lucky that exposure to award-winning theater would be the only societal training this group lacked. They also apparently missed the etiquette course on "Movie Theater does/does not equal Living Room"

The arpeggiated sound of an electronic device - either a text message alert or cell phone game, or gameboy was a regular occurance from about 20 minutes into the film. Chinese firedrill reseating at a few random intervals was OK, too. And they really liked to talk. And take flash photos (cell phone again?). Exiting the exhibit space and asking for theater staff help did nothing - I never saw any staff re-enter the theater.

I think the movie was fun. If any of the offending youngsters wants to make sure I actually get to see it, feel free to donate the $10.50 my date & I paid for THIS viewing, and we'll catch it again.

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Saturday, June 18, 2005

KIDS - for Kids in Medford!! 

Today is the grand opening of the Kids Imagination Discovery Space, a new educational venture for kids in the Medford area. KIDS has been around as an idea for local founder Sharon Bolles since the late '90s. Starting with travelling exhibits at the Rogue Valley Mall, and other locations (last summer at the new Medford Library, for example), KIDS built interest. Now moved into the old Moose Lodge, the Discovery Space has a home and is opening for a three month "Stone Soup Summer of Fun"

I was brought onto the KIDS Board of Directors this past winter and am proud to see the doors opening today. If you have a pre-school aged child and live in the Medford area, come by and see if you like what KIDS has to offer!

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Friday, June 10, 2005

Of Pets and People - a photoless Friday DogBlog 

Over Memorial Day weekend, a former colleague of mine passed away after a recurrence of cancer. She elected to forego further treatment, and simply pain-manage whatever her final time was going to be - it was shorter than she expected.

She was a lover of animals - a frequent volunteer for the Humane Society - fostering pets, and adopting several over the years.

At the time of her death, she had one older lab mix, in failing health himself. I don't think she expected him to outlast her, but he did, and in the days since her passing, figuring out what to do with him presented a challenge to her family.

Southern Oregon is a small place. Connections exist between people that they are unaware are even there. She could never know that her vet would hire someone close to me mere days after her passing, and thus that word would reach me of the dilemma of finding a new home for a pet with immediate need for care.

We never know for certain how much time we have. Sometimes in later life, we can work with better estimates, but even for me in my late 30s, I should be considering the other lives connected to mine. For those of us with children and spouses, those thoughts have more urgency, but we need to remember our pets, as well. I have several animals in my home that are mine with no shared claim. I don't currently have a plan for them, though I have friends I trust would figure something out. They shouldn't have to work without guidance.

So this weekend, I will sit down and work out with several close to me, what would become of Sallah, Thought, and Memory. My shared critters - Skitters and Indy, have others with immediate claim, but I will confirm those situations as well.

My former colleague's dog will go on Sunday to live with one of my current colleagues. The arrangements were made today after several phone calls and some tears. His waning weeks or months or years will be with loving humans and the circumstances of the past month will have solace for the next and final chapters of his life, from stray to foster to rescue to hospice mutt.

We look to our animals for comfort and companionship in some of our darkest moments. They should be able to look to us for the same.

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Friday, June 03, 2005

Thanks to Wraight, Horton 

Eric Anderson, a Californian with connections to the valley, offered this note to the Mail Tribune letters page today...

Thank you Mike Wraight and Bill Horton.

There are two gentlemen that the Rogue Valley owes a huge thank you to. Both gentlemen are retiring after teaching at Phoenix High School for more than 20 years. Bill has been developing very skilled budding actors and Mike has been creating extremely talented musicians.

My wife Carol and I were fortunate enough to see their final collaboration together, the wonderful musical "Oklahoma" May 20 in the Phoenix High Theater.

I would like to thank Bill for many years of enjoyment while we watched his pupils perform wonderfully. And to Mike, I’d like to thank him for all the music students he has taught to become great musicians and great members of our society.

Mike, thank you for teaching me to play the French horn, ride a bike, swim and for helping me to be a better person. You’re the best.

Mike and Bill were focal parts of my high school career, Mike moreso at the time, but Bill's influence was more lasting.

I spent 3 to 4 periods a day involved in performance music during high school. Mike Wraight's band brought me the greatest successes of my youth. Concerts, parades, field shows, and playing in the stands as the Pirate football teams reached three state finals and the basketball teams earned their first state berths in years. I started as a trumpeter, but braces forced me to a larger mouth piece - baritone for marching, but to stay in jazz band, I needed to learn the slide positions of a trombone and bass clef. The Pirate band was on the road to SoCal and to DC during my tenure.

Horton's impact was briefer, but more lasting. One semester of sophomore English, then one play spring term of my senior year... not the usual broad impact one would expect, but that taste of time on stage led to my choice of major in college. Theater became a great passion for me. Upon my return to the valley, Bill was one of the very first people I looked up, and Phoenix's theater department was one of the places I made certain I continued to visit regularly.

Best of luck to both with their next endeavors, and best wishes to the actors, technicians, designers, and musicians at Phoenix in helping the new teachers find their footing and stepping into these enormous shoes.

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