Friday, December 29, 2023

The Trouble I've Seen -- Popcorn by the Colonel

1/ If nobody knows the trouble I've seen, then neither do I, because I'm a part of nobody.

2/ The Hollies did a whole album of covers of Dylan songs in 1969. It made #3 on the UK charts but went nowhere in the US. If you like Dylan songs but can't stand his voice, it's for you. YouTube.

3/  This is not a proposal, just a "what would happen if." Kamala Harris said she won't be Biden's running mate next year and the Dems should use the primary season to pick a new ticket mate for Biden at the 2024 convention. I'm thinking, "Whee!"

4/ Speaking of Dylan, he did a gospel song called "Quit Your Low-Down Ways" with the refrain/hook "If you can't stop your sinnin', please ... quit your low-down ways." If virtue is beyond you, at least don't be tacky?

5/ Another "what would happen if": balanced federal budgets were mandated immediately. How would $2 trillion deficits be eliminated? What tax hikes and spending cuts would emerge? Not what you want, what you think would actually happen.

6/  Google is great, but has gaps. What is the calendar date of the first of the twelve days of Christmas? December 25 or December 26?

7/ A "social construct," according to Merriam-Webster, is "an idea that has been created and accepted by the people in a society," as in "class distinctions are a social construct." I have come to believe that M-W has feet of clay. E.g., "the people": some? a majority? all?

8/  Chico Marx's name is pronounced "chicko," not "cheeko." He had an eye for the chicks, and they for him. Less-famous brothers were Gummo (in no movies) and Zeppo (non-comedic roles in first five movies). Mother "Minnie" was born "Miene" (Schönberg).

9/ Jesus's birth is celebrated when the days start to lengthen, St. John the Baptist's when the days start to shorten, because the baptizer said of Jesus, "He must increase; I must decrease."

10/ Best colonelic wishes to all for everything good in 2024. "Mind how you go."

Saturday, December 23, 2023



"Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus"
By Francis Pharcellus Church
Appeared In The New York Sun Newspaper On September 21, 1897 As Their Newspaper Editorial
"Dear Editor,
I am eight years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says “If you see it in the Sun it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia O’Hanlon.
115 W.95th St
"VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank GOD! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood."

Merry Christmas & A Happy, Healthy & Peaceful 2024.
Enjoy The Videos.

Friday, December 22, 2023

Actor Training for Teens this Winter in Middletown

Photo attached by Bill De Kine of Teen Rep 2023 production of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing

Oddfellows Playhouse Teen Repertory Company invites young people ages 14 - 20 to Winter Training, featuring two six-week acting classes designed to hone your skills - voice, body, emotion and imagination - in preparation for the Teen Rep Spring production!

Voice, Text and Shakespeare with Sarah Jo Provost will be offered on Mondays, 6:30 - 8:30 pm, starting January 8. In this class, students will learn how to warm up their voices to utilize the full range of sound and expression. Using what they learned about their voices and bodies, students will delve into scenes and monologues from Shakespeare’s canon, exploring how the text can inform and inspire their acting choices. Sarah Jo is a member of Actors Equity Association and the Screen Actors Guild. She has many acting credits in New York and Los Angeles, and has appeared on the long-running TV series Law and Order. She is currently pursuing her MA in Voice Pedagogy. Classes will be held every Monday evening Jan 8 through February 12.

Theater Improv with Carmine Lavieri will be offered on Thursdays, 6:30 - 8:30 pm, beginning January 11. In Improv, students will learn how to create original characters, scenes, and stories off the top of their heads with no script. They'll learn fundamentals of character creation, story escalation, environment, and pantomime through both short and long form performance. Carmine is a long-time Oddfellows teaching artist who encourages creative risk-taking and maintains a positive, fun  environment for his students. Classes will be held Thursdays from January 11 through February 15.

Tuition is $120 for either six week class, or $200 if you enroll in both classes. Financial Aid and Work-Study options are available. No one is turned away for lack of funds.

Auditions for the Spring production, which will run May 16 - 25, will be held March 4 and 7.

Register for Winter Classes at For more information, go to, call (860) 347-6143 or email


Thursday, December 21, 2023

Oddfellows Winter Programs for Youth start January 6 in Middletown

Registration is now open for Winter Programs at Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater located at 128 Washington Street in Middletown! Beginning January 6, weekly classes in theater, dance, circus, capoeira and music will be offered for toddlers to 20 year olds, plus auditions for two upcoming mainstage productions.

On December 6, teens ages 12 - 20 may audition for Circophony Teen Circus’s winter mainstage production, “Enjoy the Silence”. Auditions will be 6:30 - 8:30 pm and circus experience is not required (although some background in theater, dance, gymnastics, sports, comedy or parkour can be helpful). Auditioners should prepare a short solo highlighting their personality, dress to move, and plan to stay for the entire two hours. Rehearsals begin January 2 and will be Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 6 - 9 pm; performances will be February 29 - March 2.

Young actors ages 12 - 14 are welcome to join the Junior Repertory Company December 18 or 19 for auditions for “Lord of the Flies”. Students may audition 4:30 - 6 pm on either day. Rehearsals begin January 8 and will be Mondays and Thursdays, 4:30 - 6:20 pm, with performances March 14 - 17. Everyone who auditions and commits to the rehearsal and performance schedule will be cast in this original production of the powerful literary classic. Register for one of the two auditions at

Saturday Classes with Meg Berritta begin on January 6 and serve ages one through eleven. Classes include Acrobabies (ages 15 months - 3 years with caregiver; 9:15 - 9:55 am); for ages 3 -6 there are three classes - Circrobatics (10 - 10:45 am); Mixed Up Faerie Tales (10:55 - 11:40 am)and Circrobatics (11:45 am - 12:30 pm);  kids ages 7 - 11 can register for Slaprobatics & Equilibristics (12:35 - 1:35 pm). Weekly classes continue through a Share Day on March 9 (10 weeks total).

The Teen Repertory Company at Oddfellows provides training and performance opportunities for young people ages 14 -20, and this winter two six-week classes will be offered. Voice, Text and Shakespeare, taught by Sarah Jo Provost, will meet Mondays, 6:30 - 8:30 pm, January 8 through February 12. Theater Improvisation, taught by Carmine Lavieri, will meet Thursdays, 6:30 - 8:30 pm, January 11 through February 15. Students may sign up for one or both classes. Auditions for the Spring Teen Rep mainstage production will be March 4 & 7.

After-School classes for ages 6 - 14 begin January 8 and will run for eight weeks this winter, culminating in a “Share Week” March 4 - 7. Most classes run 4:50 -5:50 pm.

Stage One classes for ages 6 - 8 include Complete Actor I, Circus I, Intro to Musical Theater, Creative Movement and Musical Mentoring

Stage Two classes for ages 9 - 11 include Intro to Watercolors, Circus II, Intro to Scene Study, Capoeira and Hip Hop Dance (both open to ages 9 - 14), and Musical Mentoring (up to age 12).

Stage Three classes for ages 12 - 14 include Theater Improvisation (meets 4:30 - 5:50 pm), as well as Capoeira and Hip Hop Dance (again, both dance classes are for ages 9 - 14). Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian martial arts form that combines aspects of dance, acrobatics and music.

Middletown Public School students may complement their class experience with Oddbridge, an extended day program which provides transport from Middletown schools to the Playhouse, a snack, and supervised arts activities, games and homework help before classes start. Oddbridge extends throughout the school year, providing special programs and field trips on early dismissal days or days when regular Oddfellows’ classes are not in session.

For more details on times, tuition and class descriptions, please go to If you have specific questions, email or call (860) 347-6143. Financial Aid is available for all programs. It is Playhouse policy that the arts should be available to every young person regardless of ability to pay - no one is turned away for lack of funds.

Oddfellows Playhouse, founded in 1975, is Connecticut’s oldest and largest performing arts program for young people. Oddfellows programs are made possible with support from the Middletown Commission on the Arts; Connecticut Office of the Arts/DECD; City of Middletown; The Fund for Greater Hartford; American Savings Foundation; State of Connecticut Judicial Branch (Youth Violence Prevention); Middletown Youth Services Bureau; Community Foundation of Middlesex County; Liberty Bank Foundation; Middletown Health Department; Maximilian E. & Marion O. Hoffman Foundation; Thomas J. Atkins Memorial Trust Fund; Middlesex United Way; George & Grace Long Foundation; and many generous individual donors.

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Auditions for ages 12 - 14 for "Lord of the Flies"


Oddfellows Playhouse Junior Repertory Company announces AUDITIONS for

Lord of the Flies, a new dramatic adaptation of the novel by William Golding.

Auditions, which are open to anyone ages 12 - 14, will be held Monday,

December 18 and Tuesday, December 19, 4:30 - 6 pm.

*Auditions, rehearsals & performances at Oddfellows Playhouse,

128 Washington St, Middletown

*Pre-register for one of the two auditions:

*Arrive on time and be prepared to stay for the entire 90 minutes

*Dress to move and be ready to be barefoot

*Everyone who auditions and commits to the rehearsal and performance

schedule will be cast in our annual Junior Rep mainstage production!

*Directed by Oddfellows Artistic Director Dic Wheeler

Rehearsals will be Mondays and Thursdays, 4:30 - 6:20 pm

starting January 8, 2024

Tech Rehearsal: Saturday, March 9, noon - 6 pm

Daily rehearsals Monday - Wednesday, March 11 - 13, 4 - 8 pm

Performances March 14 - 17

To register for one of the audition dates, or for more information,

call (860) 347-6143 or email

Tuition for the Junior Repertory Company is $300.

Financial aid is available for anyone who needs it.

No one is turned away for inability to pay.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

ZOOM Genealogy Club - Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023


Topic:  Putting the Gene Back in Genealogy

Presenter:  Carol Whitmer

Time:  The Zoom presentation will take place at 1:30 pm (ET) 

If you've heard Carol speak before, you know she makes things clear and easy to understand. Join us as she presents an introduction to DNA and how it can be used for genealogy. This presentation goes over the very basics of the topic, a clarification of some of the acronyms encountered, how DNA is used, and a description of the types of DNA tests currently available.

Godfrey Premium members can register for free at the following email:

If you are not a Godfrey Premium member and want to attend the presentation, you can pay $10 via PayPal ( with the payment sent to Godfrey Memorial Library.  Then register using the above email.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Let's Think Again: EV or PT? - How to Make the Transition Easier

“I feel very comfortable commuting
with TransJakarta,” said . . . a recruiter 
in Jakarta’s main business district.
"There's no need to own a private vehicle."

From The Guardian
Thu 30 Nov 2023 01.00 EST, 
---by Ardila Syakriah

‘A bus is open to everyone regardless of class':
riding the world’s biggest network. 


A big decision on everyone's mind these days concerns moving away from gas-powered vehicles:  What should we do? Should we go all in with EVs? or think about Public Transport again?  People in Jakarta & in many other regions have already weighed in. But what are we in Middletown--and in Connecticut, going to choose? 

______________In an attractive neighborhood near Wesleyan University, we often see 4 or 5 vehicles parked, crammed into a driveway, front to back or side-by-side. All around Middletown, we see overparked driveways and occupied street parking spaces everywhere. Everyone knows that parking is a problem in Middletown, especially in downtown neighborhoods. And near Wesleyan University. 

How did this happen? How did two cars in every garage become 5 or 6 cars in every other driveway? How did every student and both their parents buy into the necessity of a car for every student? (I'm not talking about my generation. Or maybe I am.)

Are we at all awake to the impossibility of sustaining our smug, outdated car- ownership habits linked to generations of easy access to roadways, petrol, parking, and cars? Our habits that were encouraged after World War II when oil and gas were cheap and easy, when prices were ridiculously low. Do you remember gas at 25¢ per gallon!?  Maybe you do. Do you remember free gifts given by service stations to draw you to their business instead leaving you to another gas station--the free cutlery, place settings, green stamps, & more?  Rewards (and attitudes) made car ownership go down easy, made us feel important and successful. 

After a time living in two different large cities, Washington, DC, and Seattle in the other Washington, one on the East Coast, the other on the West, I finally committed in both cities to public transport because of the ease of use, the predictability of schedules, and the comparative safety of the company of other riders: there'd be no more sitting alone, vulnerable, on a road jammed with traffic at a standstill. 

Going for a ride in your own car in our increasingly overpopulated world (what happened to ZPG?) is almost obscene, considering the real-world inconvenience of it--paying for repairs, insurance, & parking; and the destructiveness of it. .....Aren't we just hooked on the habit? and all of us just about running on empty, running around and around and around? When was the last time you enjoyed driving to work? Riding and reading a newspaper or a book enroute to or from the workplace? Letting someone else handle the driving?  I did make that change and I actually enjoyed getting used to it. Climate change notwithstanding, is it foolishness? or laziness, or stodgy unwillingness even to think about changing our habits? 

Why is it that we seem to be stuck in traffic driving every day? 
Is it a question of class?


If you're ready to consider switching to an EV, try thinking again. They're not really ready for us, are they. 

Electric busses are already in use in many large cities. And people in those cities have adjusted to their use and convenience. No more clogged neighborhood driveways and side streets, no more dangerous expressions of road rage, no irritation with other drivers or traffic jams or students randomly crossing the street in front of you, no more worry--coming home late at night or early in the morning--about being wiped out by a DUI, of which Connecticut has more than its share. 

Consider the comfort, consider the freedom, consider the safety of public transportation. Consider Connecticut committing to fleets of nicely planned busses interconnecting every day in a timely manner; and clean, comfortable, & safe enough for all, in conveniently devised routes; with an abundance of printed schedules, easily accessible, for all bus routes throughout the state. All being conditions that make it easy to walk to your bus stop and get to where ever it is on on time, or even to choose to walk a couple more stops to catch the bus and get a little exercise on the way to work! Easy to leave behind your car repair & upkeep bills & insurance payments, easy to feel safe with the comfort & predictability of a cleaner, hassle-free ride home. 

         Public transportation could be a lot easier for all of us.  
So why don't we try thinking again?   


Don't knock it until you've tried it with 
a public transportation system 
that works.