1419418Since I’m taking the MasterClass David Mamet teaches I thought I’d read some of his plays. This week I got his play November (2008) which is about an American president Charles Smith who’s up for re-election with no funds for campaigning. He’s been cut off by his party. He’s getting no help from his speech writer either. He has one person who’s still advising him, Archer.

Archer provides a reality check (if we can call information on the absurdity of how DC works reality) for the President. Smith would like to strong arm his opponents and betrayers as they cut off his funds or call in sick.

A main plotline here is the President’s traditional pardon of a turkey before Thanksgiving. According to the play, the turkey farmers’ association gives the president a stipend, a hefty stipend for the pardon. Now Smith strives to up the amount by threatening to have his speechwriter convince the public that it’s not PC to eat turkey.

The play moves quickly and has a robust humor, colored with profanity, as you’d expect from Mamet. The story is outlandish and now a bit dated because we’ve resolved some of the issues it tackles. I wouldn’t say this is a must read or that the play’s a must see. It does exemplify Mamet’s rules for writing, e.g. don’t bore the audience with exposition and start in medias res.

Sepia Saturday

Sepia Saturday 401 Header : 13 January 2018

Bridges. Here are some old bridges I found on Flickr Commons.

kara keui galata bridge 1890

Kara-Keui (Galata) Bridge, Turkey, 1890

london bridge

Tower Bridge, 1890


Japan, woodblock print, mid-1800s


Where’s the bridge? Ireland


Glenariff, Ireland

Why I’m Not the Least Bit Hungry

For Thanksgiving a number of us went to the Hyatt Hotel in Jinan where we feasted on: turkey, cranberry, rabbit, beef, ham, beef stew, carrots, Brussels sprouts cooked with bacon, corn,  fish, prawns, clams, caviar, three kinds of cheese, paté, an assortment of breads, sushi, pizza, mini hamburgers, pumpkin soup, salad, and hot pot. I did not try everything, but most everything was scrumptious.


For dessert there was ice cream, six flavors including pumpkin, which I’m told was delicious, pumpkin pudding, which I’ll say was outstanding, pecan pie, tiramisu, chocolate mousse, Napoleons, panna cota, pumpkin pie, which disappointed, peanut-chocolate brownies, mango cake, chocolate chip cookies, egg tarts, crepes, waffles, cupcakes that looked like turkeys, and fruit.

Time to exercise.

Sepia Saturday


Today’s prompt is smoking. I do not advocate smoking, but in days gone by it’s harmful effects weren’t known. So I offer this Biblical advertisement for Turkish cigarettes called Ruth, that I found in Flicker Commons from Yeshiva University.


Chinese cigarette ads from the 1930s often featured graceful women posing. They didn’t smoke themselves in the posters. Last May I saw an art exhibit of these ads in Nanjing. I wrote about them here.



Here are some old Japanese ads for cigarettes.

What's with the Prussian uniforms?

What’s with the Prussian uniforms?