Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Playing Catch-Up, not Poker

With my big-guy manager in town this week for his quarterly visit, it's been harder to roll into work at 9:30-10ish like I've become accustomed to during the course of this play, so my fat ass is dragging. Although if I continue on this path, my fat ass will be less so. I'm down to 243, a total of 22 pounds lost since I started making an effort, and I feel a LOT better. Except for the broken toenail, monster bruise on my forearm and blown-out knee, but that's all from the show last night, so it'll heal.

My days are currently looking something like this - get up around 6:30, write for an hour to an hour and a half recapping one or two events at the WSOP for PokerNews, then shower and head for work. Roll into work around 9, hand out there marking time (yeah right, we've actually been pretty busy the past few weeks) until 5:30 then head out. If I'm lucky, I have enough time to swing by the house and shovel some grub before going to rehearsal. If it's a performance night, I go straight to the theatre since I'm the only one with a key. I also don't eat before a show, ever, largely because I have a serious and not-entirely-unfounded fear of repainting the stage in biological colors in mid-fight if I eat pre-show. Get out of the show around 10:30, home around 11, check out what my assignments are for the next day for PNews, then grab a few hours shuteye. I'm looking forward to this weekend, because at least Saturday, after I get up early and do my stories for PokerNews, I can go back to bed for a few hours.

Last night's show was pretty good, tempered as it was by the publication of the second review. It wasn't a bad review, not at all, but I was a little disconcerted that only Kate and myself were mentioned in the review. I'm not used to being the only thing talked about in a review, I'm much more accustomed to being the thing that's overlooked. It made me a little embarrassed, and I felt bad for the rest of the cast, who were roundly ignored. I also admit to feeling a little sick to my stomach at the first sentence, but any review that ends by comparing me to The Nature Boy can't be all bad. Here it is, courtesy of Creative Loafing Magazine -

John G. Hartness is not destined to become one of America's great actors. But as his performance as Petruchio in the current Shakespeare Carolina production of The Taming of the Shrew clearly demonstrates, Hartness has evolved into a very good actor on the strength of his own self-confidence.

Until he appears onstage at Theatre Charlotte to claim his Kate, this saucy comedy is a rather bland porridge -- competently done without much distinctive flavor. Facing off against Karen Surprise in the classic Padua wooing, transported to 1962 "Las Padua" by director Chris O'Neill, Hartness brings us lift-off in a curious way.

There's continuity to the physical warfare and precise timing, without the brave ferocity of the hunter or the frenzied frustration of the prey. This choreographed deconstruct of Petruchio's courtship and Kate's resistance somehow releases the beautifully timed reversals that Shakespeare imbeds in his dialogue.

Hartness is the antithesis of charisma, strutting the stage with a conceit you'd expect from Rick Flair in his heyday (plus goatee and black Nehru suit). And isn't that exactly what the Bard insinuates -- that Petruchio's way of dominion isn't inborn but the product of cunning study?

Surprise isn't any more Liz Taylor than Hartness is Richard Burton, but her initial frustration and her two stages of understanding are nicely rendered. First, when she gets Petruchio's game, and lastly when she recognizes him as a kindred spirit. A solid Charlotte debut for the Rock Hill-based troupe.

Like I said, not a bad review, but a little uncomfortable for me (and Karen/Kate) to be the only folks mentioned.

As more information becomes available about the murder/suicide of Chris Benoit and his family, I become more and more disgusted and distressed by the whole mess. This dude was seriously fucked up. I wish that someone could have seen that and gotten in the middle of it before it cost the lives of two innocent people. It might not have been "roid rage" exactly, but I don't think there's any question that these bizzaro drugs had some influence on the actions of Benoit. There's certainly an argument to be made that he wasn't wrapped too tight to begin with, but it was certainly exacerbated by the drugs. I wish someone could have seen the signs and stepped in before it was too late. And I, like a bunch of the sportswriters that I've been reading, think it's time for some outside agency to step in and deal with the rampant drug abuse (not just steroids) that occurs in pro wrestling. It's bad enough when stars like Eddie Guerrero and Brian Pillman die from drugs and their side effects too young, but it's unconscionable when someone like Benoit's 7-year-old son is an unwitting victim.

Go to and see what my office is doing. We're raising money for the 24 hours of Booty, a cancer fundraising bike ride that takes place in Charlotte every summer. Right now we're the #2 fundraising team in the ride, and that's pretty damn cool! Last year I think we raised a few hundred dollars for this event, this year we're at close to $10K!

Hey - if you pre-order the new Harry Potter book, not only do you get it for half price, Amazon will give you a $5 gift certificate via email for use on anything you buy from the site in August! So click the banner on the left and pre-order! I get a few pennies, and you get a good deal! I actually pre-ordered two, so Suzy doesn't have to wait for me to finish. I know, it's a little sad.

Oh, and here's a link to a video clip on YouTube of the fight scene from Taming of the Shrew. Karen's boyfriend recorded it a few nights ago, and she uploaded it. It's pretty damn funny watching my fat ass try to tango, not to mention the front flip!

The same chick that kicks my ass in that video is doing a fundraising walk for suicide prevention - here's the email she sent out about it. Her goal is only $200 for the walk. Fuck that. Help me blow through her goal. I'm in for a hundy in memory of my uncle Ed, who took his own life last February, leaving his family in disarray. Suicide has touched all of us at some point in some way, and maybe this walk that Karen is doing can help a few people. If it helps one, it's worth it. Here's the info -

Greetings, friends and family ~

On September 15th, I will be joining with thousands of walkers in the 2007 Out of the Darkness Community Walks to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).

I am walking to raise awareness of mental illness and suicide. As some of you may know, I have lost loved ones to suicide and I am asking everyone I can to support this worthwhile cause. My fundraising goal for this event is $200.

Please consider making a donation in my name at or sending a donation by mail.

AFSP is dedicated to funding research, suicide prevention and educational programs, and conferences and support networks for survivors of suicide loss, mental health professionals, physicians and the public. Together, our support for AFSP will reduce suffering and the loss of life from suicide as well as end the broad stigma that surrounds mental illness and suicide. With more than 30,000 lives lost each year in the U.S. and over one million worldwide, the importance of AFSP's mission has never been greater, nor our work more urgent.

Please give a donation that leaves you feeling a part of this great event and that has you stretch beyond your usual contribution. I know it will make a difference for you and for many others. If you have any questions about the walks, or about AFSP, please do not hesitate to email me at (yeah right - I'm not printing her email. If you need any info, leave a comment and I'll have her get back to you).

Anyway, I didn't start out intending to uber it up, but I guess the spirit of my midget brother hath infused me, so that's it for now. Laters.


katitude said...

OMG, I wish that clip had audio!!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the information

bayne_s said...

Does a comparison to Ric Flair mean you can bump Jake Delhomme to lesser table in restaurants?

Anonymous said...

I realy feel for the gamblers in the US. I cant beleive your Congress banned all banks and credit card companies from accepting transactions from online gambling sites which makes you unable to play online poker. What a bunch of hypocrites your state government are. They have the largest gambling operations with lotto, keno, etc. If they truly believed their rhetoric about internet gambling they would cut out the state operations also. And now they are bringing in a law to legalise slot machines. Personally I would have a big grudge against any party that stopped me from playing on an online poker site. I think there must be some way for you guys to get around this problem. Must make you wonder if you are living in the land of the free when it seems the government has full control on what it will and wont let you do.

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