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New Years 

The entertainment is just getting warmed up in the lounge tonight. Some Canadian jazz pianist with a voice like whiskey and cigarettes. 

You take a seat in a wash of blue light and take a sip of cool amber. 

You see his familiar face across the room. He walks over and says, “I haven’t seen you for awhile. Care to dance?” 

Sure, why not. 

He’s taller than you remember. You kick off your heels anyway. It’s a habit. 

The singer finds her groove, you bury your nose in his shirt. His hand settles on the disputed territory between your back and the top of your pencil skirt. Here we go…

Happy New Year! 

Plague 2016

219-2016-06-50-18-evolved-timelineHas anyone out there ever played Plague? That’s the game where you try to make the human species go extinct using biology. It’s not as easy as you think. It took me a couple tries to get the hang of it.

First, you have to design a pathogen that’s easy to spread. I like to make it affect the lungs. Then gradually you add more lethality to it and make sure it can be introduced from place to place via multiple transportation methods. Start the bugger off in a crowded developing nation, like Indonesia or China. That way it can infect a lot of people at the outset and mutate. It can take out millions in the manner of the Spanish Flu before we develop resistance and the bug dies out before people do.

I tried making the pathogen hot right away but if you make it too much like Ebola, it quickly peters out when there are no hosts in the immediate vicinity to hitch a ride on because they’re all bleeding out. No, it’s got to be more subtle than that. You need to keep the host feeling ok and moving from place to place before he sheds his pathogen.

The trick to winning plague, from my limited experience, is making sure that the people collaborating on a cure never meet while turning up the volume on civil unrest. Just crash the plane with the researchers on it. Or make sure that telecommunications are disrupted and do this everywhere on the globe. Wherever there is an attempt for the humans to rally and fight back, squash it immediately and without mercy. Then watch as civilization dies and the species is reduced to a few wandering bands of hapless cannibals.

The first time I made the species extinct, it was awesome because, you know, it’s just a game. The second time, I stopped sabotaging the scientists a little sooner and started to root for the home team to make a comeback late in the 4th quarter. But it was too late. Once the population has reached some kind of extinction event horizon, there’s nothing that can be done to bring it back. Then I watched in horror as those little struggling bands dwindled to unsustainable numbers then winked out. It made me feel responsible and guilty so I had to stop playing.

2016 has that feeling. I feel like we’re in the hands of some diabolically bratty kid who is determined to see how much damage he can wreck on us. And for whatever reason, all our attempts to resist him so far have been feckless as one by one the safety valves and emergency systems are disabled.

It’s not like we don’t see the danger coming. You’d have to be a hard ass with malice in your heart and a ruthless ambition for power to think anything good is going to happen when Trump takes office. And even though the number of people who didn’t vote for Trump exceeds the number that did by something like 12 Million people, it’s going to take a while before the majority of Trump’s mislead supporters get a clue. Meanwhile, the Democrats are fighting with each other when finding common ground is not only easy but critical, and the Republicans are about to take a chainsaw to Social Security and Medicare.

The world’s geography hasn’t changed. The chokepoints that existed during WWII still exist today: the eastern Mediterranean, the south China Sea, the Nato countries on the eastern front. Funny how they all seem relevent again all of the sudden.

And yet, we’re powerless to stop it. Not only powerless but powerless for the cheapest of reasons. It might look unseemly.

Most of us do not want this man. He’s capable of massive destruction in every conceivable way. Yet we keep getting pushed closer and closer to getting him, like we are strapped to a conveyor belt that steadily inches towards the laser aimed between our legs.

Cue the binary solo:

Mercy Now 

There’s a quote from The Fellowship of the Ring that’s been floating around in my head all day. It’s when the hobbits escape an early peril with the help of Tom Bombadil but they are distressed about losing their possessions. Tom says, “Clothes are a little loss when you escape from drowning”. 

Have mercy. We will need each other later. 

For every boy who dreamed of pointe shoes

Here’s a non-traditional version of the Nutcracker choreographed by Mark Morris called The Hard Nut.

I love the whipped topping headdress and everyone seems to be enjoying themselves. 


Can we all agree that we don’t have to necessarily buy into the whole nativity narrative to appreciate this version of Hallelujah? This kid has an amazing voice. My choir teacher would say great tonal memory. She didn’t miss a single note. And there’s something about her delivery that feels very authentic. 

You don’t have to have a mature vibrato to sing like an angel. 

Kayla Rodgers is a student at Killard House School in Northern Ireland. This school meets the needs of autistic children and those with moderate learning disabilities. 

Favorite Carols. 

This is my favorite version of Good King Wenceslas by The Roches. 


It’s been awhile since I posted a ballet video. Normally, a good Nutcracker Waltz of the Flowers would go here. But today, I wanted to post this pas de deux from Giselle with Alina Cojacaru and fiancé Johann Kobberg. 

I’m not a fan of story ballets as I’ve said before. Too much 19th century melodrama. But the second act of Giselle is breathtaking. Backstory, Albrecht pretending he’s another peasant, falls in love with Giselle without telling her he’s betrothed to a noblewoman. When Giselle finds out the truth, she dies of a broken heart. Late one night, Albrect goes looking for her. She’s become a wylly, the spirit of a betrayed woman. The  wyllies are commanded by their queen Myrta to dance their former suitors to death. Giselle intervenes for Albrect and saves him then as the sun rises, she fades away. 

This pas is beautiful between this couple. She floats, he sets her down so gently. One night and she’s gone. Lovely. 


Easing into the Christmas Spirit

Maybe I should be more concerned that Trump wants to restart the arms race, Kellyanne doesn’t know what the f%{* she’s talking about in her Rachel Maddow show interview, and the final vote counts show that Hillary solidly beat “Trump by almost 2.9 million votes, with 65,844,954 (48.2%) to his 62,979,879 (46.1%)”.  Ouch, that’s going to leave marks. He’s outnumbered everywhere there are more people than antelope. 

But I digress. 

Let’s do Christmas. Winter and Christmas music this am at The Confluence. Use this thread to comment on current events and wrap presents. 

Here’s my favorite rendition of Baby, It’s Cold Outside from Glee. Get your flirt on. 

Take that, North Carolina. 

Morning Stress Relief

Hahaha! I know what some of you are thinking. Um, why not?

Today is the first day of my Christmas vacation. I have a week off.  2016 has been very rough on all of us. I need a break.

In keeping with the downtime and the natural winter world, I am going to try to spend some time outdoors, walking and destressing and playing Pokemon Go. I’m just kidding about the Pokemon Go. (Or *am* I?) I’m wondering if there are any pokemon near the abandoned country club not too far away…

I listen to this song when I need to destress. The phrasing is intentional. It is just long enough for deep breathing. The song is by Snatum Kaur, a Sikh singer. Sikhism doesn’t get enough attention. Very enlightened.

Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo as interpreted in this song mean:

Oh my Beloved
Kindness of the Heart
Breath of Life
I bow to You

Divine Teacher
Beloved Friend
I bow to You
again and again

Sounds lovely. Bow to the divine spirit in the people you live with.





Happy Solstice

In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love.
In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile.
In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm.
I realized, through it all, that…
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.

                                                                                                      – (not necessarily all 😉) Albert Camus