Saturday, November 05, 2005


Quick Follow-Up.
Yes, I do realize that my last post had some political issues and such in it, and I know I said I wouldn't go off on politics. Technically, I didn't. If I really wanted to, I could sit down everyday and rail and rant about American politics. However, this blog would get boring really fast (as least to me). Yes, occasionally I will mention political aspects, but that doesn't mean I am going against my stance against doing political issues everyday.
There ya go folks.

The President Needs a Dave Moment

The other night I couldn't sleep, so I started watching television. I don't know what channel it was, but the film Dave had just started. For those of you who don't know, Dave is about a look-alike who ends up filling in for the President of the United States after a stroke. Dave (the look-alike) is told to play along with what the Chief of Staff tells him to do, but he breaks stride and tries to help the country instead. This includes getting a bill signed that deals with getting people jobs (this was in 1993). The more I watched this film, the more I realized that our current president needs to think about this film. With his approval rating at an all-time low for himself and for any president (watch out Hoover, your place in history may be usurped...USURPED!), President Bush may need to pull a Kovic/Mitchell. Let me explain using another president: Kennedy.
When John F. Kennedy Jr. died, I didn't hear about it until I was sitting in a bar in St. Louis. Before I continue, I should mention one thing: this was an Irish bar with a nice big picture of JFK over the bar. This will be important later. So, JFK jr is dead. I turn to the guy next to me and say, "Do you ever think they faked it?"
"Huh?" is the response I get.
"Do you ever think the Kennedy family faked all the deaths?"
"Are you nuts? Why would they do that?"
Now, with some alcohol in my system, I actually concocted the following conspiracy theory:
"Well let's go all the way back. JFK was not the greatest president. Did he do some good things? Sure. He started the Space Program and averted (though almost also started) a nuclear war. However, he was not "the great man" everyone thought he was. He cheated on his wife, and he played everything fast and loose. Hell, if he hadn't died when he did, he probably would have screwed up the country.
So the family knows things are going downhill, but they want Kennedy's new baby (The Space Program) to continue, so they do the only thing that seems to work in movies and literature: They fake his death. That's why so many people can't agree on what happened on that day in Dallas. He never really died. They needed it to look like he did. Some makeup and a willing to play along Jackie O sets Kennedy free and saves NASA. She is also set free from the marriage (something she had wanted ever since she learned he was stooping Marilyn Monroe). Now, He needs a place to go, so the family buys a compound in the Bahamas where no will really
look (say Martinique) and send JFK down there.
Soon, however, he gets lonely. He starts communicating with brother Robert. Robert has become disillusioned with politics, so he, too, fakes his own death. Again, closed casket funerals mean the body doesn't have to be there, and if it were open casket, it would be easy to fake. Robert now joins his brother in Martinique (or whereever).
Ted had his chance, but he screwed it up. Instead of waiting for the divers to come get him, he panicked and opened the door to the car too early. So, the girl died, and Ted was banished from joining his brothers.
Thus, John Jr. decided to join the rest of his family. I mean have they found his body yet? (Author's note: I don't remember. Did they ever find his body?) I don't think so. This is all a way to get away from it all."
After finishing this lovely speech, the bartender, who was also one of the owners, kicked me out. The guy sitting next to me just sat there with his mouth open. I was told, "Get out. NOW! Or I'll toss you out!" Oh well.
This brings me back to my point. In Dave, because the President dies, the rest of the government works to keep his bill alive and help people get jobs. Kennedy died and it helped NASA (Oddly true). So I was thinking: with so many government people wanting Bush to go, why not do this: Have Bush introduce a bill that the Republicans want passed but could be tough to get through to pass. Then, have Bush fake his death. Cheney gets installed and everyone feels so bad that it passes. Seriously, what's Bush going to do after he gets out of office? Run another company into the ground? No. Is he going to teach classes? Probably not. Host a talk show? Not without REALLY good writers he's not. Motivational speaker? I think Clinton and Bush Sr. have that one locked. So, he fakes his death and moves to a mansion in South America. I mean it's like Texas, only with less white people. That shouldn't be a problem, should it?
Anyway, he fakes his death, the nation mourns, and his bill is passed. Then, Cheney decides not to run in 2008, and we get the ultimate face off in 2008. Condi vs. Hillary. Could you imagine it? Who the hell would everyone vote for? Seriously. This country is still YEARS from ever putting a woman in the white house. It would be the only time Nader could win. I don't know what it is about women, but this country fears a woman in charge. However, that's not the point right now. We'll leave that until 2007...when it's relevant.
I know what you're thinking: What the hell are you thinking? Fake his death? Why the hell would he do that? Well, if you think about the presidency as a business, then the stock holders are losing confidence. When that happens, the company is in serious trouble. Take note, the consumers are really losing their confidence in this company.
Side note: The phrase "The criminalization of politics" is now banned. You can't say it's never been like this before when we had...oh...Watergate, Iran-Contra, and every little thing that they attempted to pin on Clinton. Scandals in the White House are nothing new. Get over it.
It just might work if Bush is willing to go through with it. I mean if 9/11 and Terrorism used over and over and over again can get things done, imagine how politicians can use the death of one of their own.
Then again, what do I know? I believe William Henry Harrison got Pneumonia on purpose in order to get out of office. I could be wrong.

Up for Air

What a long week. Between the show (Cyrano went well), the end of the quarter, and "real life", I was in a lot of pain last night. By the time I got home to my wife (who was already in bed and feeling horrible), I thought I was going to collapse. Would you like some highlights? Too bad, you're getting them anyway!

We left our intrepid hero (ok, me) on Tuesday. Having taught three people how to run the show, I was feeling confident that everything would be all right. That was my first mistake. As Wednesday morning dawned, I had this...eerie feeling. I already knew I would be covering a colleague's classes while he was gone, but I had no idea that every single one of the kids in those classes was, in fact...from the class I taught this past summer. That's right: Most of the kids I had failed in the summer reading course were still in the high school. Front and center was the girl whose mother had tracked me down and screamed at me for failing her daughter. Sadly, they were just as I had remembered. Sigh. Best moment? I asked which president was involved with Watergate (they had been studying that time period). The answer? Well, it went as follows:
"Which president was involved with Watergate? Yes?"
"Bill Clinton!"
"Um, no. Yes?"
"George Washington?"
"This was about 30 years ago, so no. Anyone else? You."
"Uh....What was his name....Uh....That guy....Oh yeah, Kennedy!"
"Um, wow. No. There was a Kennedy that was part of a different scandal. (It gets quiet.) Anyone else. (I count to six, finally a hand goes up.) You."
"Was it Richard Nixon?"
(Same kid) "I guess that makes sense, it says in our book he resigned due to Watergate."
All I'm saying is....WOW!
When not working with these kids, I was in the theatre trying to get everything to work. Just when I would have one light fixed, another would break. It was like stacking dominos. One afternoon four (count 'em FOUR) bulbs popped. Add to that trying to set up lights for action going on in the audience, and the stress just kept on building.

Wednesday night! Oh lord, that was dress rehearsal. Oy VEY!
-I bought pizza for everyone...but no one saved me a slice.
-My crew suddenly forgot everything we had talked about with regards to running the lights, so we had to start completely over in writing the cues. However, I will say this: Nora is going to be better at lighting than her brother. Mark my words.
-Watching the show on Wednesday night, the director and I had a long chat about his retirement. He talked about how sometimes, "In years like these, it can't come soon enough." Now, I'm already stressed as my wife is sick, I haven't been sleeping (at this point it's been a long time since I slept through the night), and I'm trying to get my colleagues grades in for him because the quarter is ending (what the hell was I thinking?) and now I'm trying to console a man who's been teaching forever. It was a long night. After getting home and checking in on my wife, I stayed up watching Dave, which lead me to an idea for George W. Bush (more on that later).
-Emma showed up. I've mentioned her
before. Even though she's at a different school now, she showed up to dress rehearsal. This leads to everyone asking me how I feel about her being there, or as I call it: Another distraction. She would also show up on Thursday.

Thursday. That feeling I had was worse as I woke up on the floor in the same clothes from the night before. I hadn't even made it to the bed. Sometime around 3 in the morning, I made my way to the bedroom and passed out on the floor. When the alarm went off a couple of hours later, I was mighty surprised.
Classwise, it was...tiring:
-Began All the President's Men. First question (seriously): "Why does this film take place in the 70's?" For the rest of the period, all I heard was, "This is boring," "Why do we need to know this?", or, "What does this have to do with what we were studying?" I can't tell you how close I was to yelling "Because this is about Watergate, you schmuck!"

-I attempted to relax on Thursday only to be sucked into a conversation about how one the students and I are going to have 24 children. What makes this funny? Well, how about the principal showing up to hear the end of the conversation and ask me questions about it. Awesome!
Now, Thursday night was the opening of Cyrano. It went well, but there were some problems. The light board operator that night got Tourette's in his hand and double clicked the button on one occasion. Luckily, he had listened to me when I mentioned the "HOLD" button. It stopped the blackout. He screwed up on two other cues, but it was ok. Other problems?
-The actor playing Cyrano lost his nose during the first scene.
-The actors weren't in places when the lights came up. Luckily one girl was and she was able to fuss about on stage until the rest of the actors showed up.
-This one's for Greta: "You want a fair day's work? Pay a fair day's wage." That sound like the line? No? Let me know what it is when you remember it. (I kid because I care.)
-Emma. You know, everytime I think that girl is totally over me, she goes and does something like...oh, I don't know...fake my signature on her butt (and Blair's chest). Yeah, you got it wrong. You should make sure I'm not at the top of the steps or anything before trying that. Even more fun was watching Elizabeth turn bright red when I mentioned her part of it. Yeah, the whole signature was wrong. Good try though.
-You can tell when a person doesn't like you. It's in the eyes. Somehow the relationship has changed. Maybe it's because you're too much alike, or maybe it's something else. Put it this way: It's really hard to put your trust and faith in someone when they turn around and burn you at every step. It's hard to sing the praises of people who don't return the act or behave in such a way as to no longer deserve it. Sometimes, however, you just have to watch someone self-destruct. It's hard, but you have to go boom sometimes in order to learn.
The rest of the night was pretty quiet. I went home and figured I could relax. I was wrong. Didn't sleep AT ALL that night. I never even closed my eyes. Too much work to do and too hyped on all the things I had to fix in order to sleep. Thus, as the sun rose on Friday, my brain was hurting.

Friday. We'll skip the fun day of classes which saw the end of the film, multiple questions about what happened, and five kids sent to the office. It was Friday and the end of the quarter. Yup.
That night, the show went well (from what I was told. I was tending to my wife).
-I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Nora kicks serious ass. It also helps when the posted rule in the booth is for Rob not to touch her. Trust me: this is a good rule.
-The cast had no idea I had shown up for strike. When I started barking out orders after the cast photo, I apparently spooked a few people.
-We started strike at 5 minutes after ten p.m. with instructions to be done by 10:30. Between myself and the crew, we had everything done in 20 minutes. Damn those kids can be good when motivated. It makes me actually excited for the spring play. I now have a sophomore and a freshman who can run lights and sound, and both of them want to learn the ins and outs of it. I might suggest that one of them move to crew, but we'll see.
-Best moment: Trying to quickly break down the scaffolding, seven students can't tell that the brakes are on the wheels. They need to be unlocked to make it work.
-Worst moment: A student brings me the drill and says, "I don't know where I'm supposed to be or what I'm supposed to be doing....How did I get this drill?"
-There was a cast party, but I realized two things:
1. It's weird when your teacher shows up.
2. No one told me where it was. In essence, I wasn't invited. The director hoped I would show up, but again, no idea where it was.
As for sleeping, well, I admit I found a cheat to help me. I got home, my wife was asleep, and I was on my last legs. I down a full shot of NyQuil (MMM the Q) and passed out. Got up nice and early today to work on everything I had neglected around the home. You gotta love it.
Moral of the story: There is no moral. Ok, maybe we all have to learn how to balance our time and energy or were going to pay for it.
Admit it, you missed me a little. Well, I missed you.
Talk to you later.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Tech Week

Ok, so it's tech week this week. Add to that the end of the quarter, and I have a lot a work ahead of me. So I won't be posting for the next few days (Unless, by some miracle, I get some time during the day to could happen).
Thanks to everyone who responded to yesterday's posts. Honestly, I'm not angry that someone thought I was Henry Rollins. I was really more angry that the guy wouldn't leave me alone at first. I'm also more confused about it. I mean Rollins is a cool bad ass, and I'm...Leab. It's odd.
I'll leave you with this: Yesterday, I had a few trick or treaters. Most were just bland store-bought costumes, but a few instances were...memorable. I had a pair of 40 (that's 4-0, not 4) year olds in costume that asked for candy. No kids, no little children around them. No, these were adults dressed as Sonny and Cher asking for candy. It was odd.
The absolute best moment, however, was the kid in the Batman suit who attempted to steal my bowl of candy. Seriously. This kid, maybe six years old, grabs the bowl and starts to try and run off. He misjudges how big I am. When the bowl doesn't move, he pulls harder. I said, "Hey! What are you doing? You got your candy." His mother comes running up to me and starts yelling at me for correcting her kid. She asks, "What the hell do you think you're doing?" I looked at her and responded, "Trying to keep your kid from stealing my bowl. You want to tell him to stop then?" I thought this woman was going to hit me. "Don't you accuse my son of stealing. How dare you!?" Sigh.
My other favorite moment was a mother who told me I was giving her child, "Too much candy!" That's right: Her daughter was getting TOO MUCH CANDY! On Halloween. Wow.
Two handfuls is too much? Oy.
Otherwise it was fine. No eggs or tp at my house. My neighbors? Not so lucky.
Talk to you when I can.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Finding Ways to Relax

Ok, so even though the Rollins story was funny (at least to me), I'm still kinda pissed. At what? Life, the fact that people don't realize when a joke is a joke (right, Worm?), ungrateful people. Still, I don't want to be so angry, so I look at these two pretty boys.
I know I've mentioned it before, but I have three cats. The one on the left is the most evil cat ever. The one on the right...well he wants to be human. He tries to use a fork and knife. What cat does that? Still, they make me laugh. My third cat (the black cat) is camera shy. Plus, a few years ago, someone tried to steal him from me on Halloween. I'm not kidding.
So let's break it down...then I relax with my boys.
Life: You know, the entire month of October was terrible. I really don't like my Birthday, for one thing, and I'm really frustrated with my health, my wife's health, and more. Someone asked me once, "If God hates you, what do you do?" Normally I would answer, "God doesn't hate you. He's not out to make it personal. Seriously." Now, however, I'm starting to think, "Hate him back," might be the right answer. Oh I know, I still believe God is not a cosmic bellboy, and I believe I'm not part of some master plan, but some days...some days.
Jokes: People cannot take a joke. We take life so damn seriously nowadays. I drop a joke about God, people flip out. I make a joke about women, I MUST be a misogynist. For the love of Mike, people, it's called a SENSE OF HUMOR! What's next? No jokes about penguins, it's insensitive. Hell, I call one of my students "Flock of Seagulls" because of his hair. He doesn't really get it, but he laughs. So do his parents, but they get it. Now I'll get some comment about how I'm hurting this boy. Ugh.
Ungrateful People: I'm starting to think helping people is a bad idea. I gave up my day to help some of my students with their problems and with the show that opens on Thursday. I got 1 thank you from a student who needed a laugh. The rest? Nothing. I helped my neighbors move an air myself. Did I get a thanks? NO! It's not that hard. Just say, "Hey, thanks."
And if I help you and give up my time, don't lecture me about the work I'm doing. You're just damn lucky I care.
That's it. I'm going to go hug my cats and figure out how to relax. Here's the third one, he just walked in:

Another Mistaken Identity

Usually, as you all know, I am mistaken for Greg Grunberg (see picture at right). This isn't a bad thing except when people don't believe that I'm not him. This happened a few weeks ago when a woman was so sure I was Mr. Grunberg that she told me, "unless I see two forms of ID to prove you aren't him, I'm not leaving you alone." I thought she was kidding. She wasn't. Anyway, while in downtown Minneapolis today, I was mistaken for another celebrity. Who you ask? Well, let me tell you a story....
Walking out of St. Thomas, I headed toward Hennepin Ave (I had a free parking voucher for a garage near The Saloon. So, as I cross the street, a guy starts shouting at me.
I love when someone starts with the following opener:
"Holy SHIT! Do you know who you are?"
If you answer, "No," and walk off, a person will follow you.
If you answer, "Yes," then they expect you to be a buddy.
I split the middle ground: "Maybe. Who wants to know?"
I start to walk away. I want to get home.
"NO, wait, DUUUUUDDE! I love you. You're awesome. Oh my God. What are you doing here? Don't you have a show in like an hour?"
"Yeah, but I need to relax. You out the nervousness."
"Look, who do you think I am?"

I managed to lose this guy, but explain to me this: How do I go from Greg Grunberg to Henry Rollins. I seriously do not get it. Yes, I was wearing a black t-shirt, but I don't have the cool factor, the tattoos, or the (to be frank) age.
Don't get me wrong, I think Rollins is awesome. His music is interesting, he's quite a good comedian, and if you overlook Johnny Mnemonic, he's not a bad actor. (Side note: JM was not his fault, but it was...not so good, "Just Johnny.")
Hey, it would be cool if I were Greg Grunberg or Henry Rollins. I'm not. I'm just plain ole Leab.
For better or for worse.
Unfortunately for a friend of mine, he looks like Brad Pitt. His life is SOOOO rough. Bastard.
Then again, what do I know? I wasn't the guy who played the Pilot on Lost. I could be wrong.

Mail Mondays (10/31/05)

Happy Halloween. Yes, it's that time of year when children (and some adults) dress up in costumes and parade around the neighborhood. I can already tell you that I've had two adults (yes, ADULTS) in costume come to my door for candy. Yup, two older women in masks asked me for candy. Isn't it supposed to be for kids?
On a side note, I went to St. Thomas tonight to talk to a class about what to do when a student has a crush on you (or asks you to Prom, as it were). I also had to speak to the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Why? It was my job to talk about all the good things about St. Thomas. I played my part, but when I mentioned one negative thing, they held me after everyone left to get my "full" impression. It Yeah, fun.
How about some mail?
Are you Slanderous Minneapolis?
A Depressed Reader (Remember, names are changed to protect the innocent...or the dumb).

Dear Depressed Reader,
I wish I was the Slanderizer. That site gets lots of readers, is always funny, and even won an award (Twin Cities locally generated Blog of the Year). While I may be able to write a piece here and there about Chris Conangla or whoever, I am not the Slanderizer. Nope. That's Jason DeRusha. Ok, just kidding, he's really Don Shelby.
Seriously though, I have no clue who the Slanderizer is. I just send a piece every now and then to see if I'm actually funny. Apparently I'm mean and can get people fired. So, who's next?
Dear Mr. Leab
Why are boys so stupid? I mean, a girl throws herself at a guy, and he slinks away? Doesn't that mean he's gay? What the hell?
Sexually Frustrated Gal

Ah, Gal. You have the age old problem. You're a vivacious young woman who really wanted this guy to play rough with you, but he was scared at how forward you are. No, it doesn't mean he's automatically gay. That would make life easier if it did, though, wouldn't it? No, I'm afraid your boy was probably a virgin and scared about his performance. You see, not all men are raging hormones who want sex all the time. We do have our lucid moments. Really.
However, we're talking about a high school age kid. He may be nice, but instead of talking to you about the future and how he feels and his fears, he decided to break it off. So here's my advice. Let it go. Soon you'll be done with high school and most college guys are more mature (no really) and will be able to help you.
Two-parter: 1. Have you ever held up a Starbucks?
2. What does "lost years" mean?
A Bored Student

Bored Student,
1. No. Seriously, you've been in my class, do I look like the kind of guy who would hold up a Starbucks? Wait, wait, wait. What I mean is, why would I hold up a Starbucks? I have an ok salary teaching, and my wife works as well. Look, I don't like the Starbucks crowd, but that doesn't mean I would commit violence against it. Sheesh.
2. Sigh. At one point, while in college, I became...a drunk. I reacted badly to some events in my life and decided to drink reality away. There are a lot of days during that time that I don't remember. It's sad but true.
Hey Idiot,
How dare you defend Spike Lee! He's a racist pig. This is a man who basically hates white people. Are you an idiot? If he said something that was against his own race, it was probably done at gunpoint.
A Loving Reader

Dear Loving Reader,
If I didn't know better, I might believe you were a big fan of Prussian Blue. Seriously. Look, we all have opinions. I believe Spike Lee was right, and I believe calling him an "Uncle Tom" is not a positive thing.
There's a great song from the show
Avenue Q called "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist." It's a great song. Essentially the song says it's title. Everyone has a little bit of racism. It's not a bad thing, it's just life. We all have some sort preconceived notion about another race that might be bad. Example? All Asian people drive badly. Racist? Sure. Do alot of people believe it? I bet if you took a poll, people who didn't have to show their face or use their name would say, "Yes."
I agree with what Spike Lee said. I think he has a better insight into African-American society than I do, but I agree that the idea of the "Gangsta" lifestyle gives modern teenagers and kids ideas that will never (and in some cases should never) come true. We don't need more killers out there. We don't need a "new mafia" as one rapper proclaims.
Sorry you disagree with me, but that's what I believe.
Ok one more.
To borrow a phrase from PTI, why do you slurp Jason DeRusha so much?
A Concerned Citizen

You know what? He's a nice guy. He's actually taken the time to comment on my blog and consistently writes on Sure, he wears high heeled boots now and then, but who doesn't? Ok besides me? Ok besides you? Ok screw you. He's a good guy. Get over it.

All right, that does it for today's mail. See you all tomorrow. Keep those comments and emails coming.