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  1. Once Again, Dick Gets in the Way*

    Tuesday, July 30, 2013


    It’s 10pm.  Do you know what your weiner is doing?

    Mr. Weiner, you need a cock sitter

    Someone to keep you off Facebook and Twitter

    If you had a vagina

    They may undermine ya

    But you wouldn’ta been a campaign shitter


    New York City needs a good mayor

    But you were being a cock swayer

    You took your dicky

    Made everything sticky

    Now the city’s future is much grayer


    When you’re in the public eye

    There are things you shouldn’t do

    Jerk off on line and lie

    Just to name two

    We gave you a second chance

    You got another shot

    Again you unzipped your pants

    You’re expecting an awful lot

    If you really were in treatment

    And got a grip on this

    I might reconsider

    In two thousand twenty-six


    Would a Weiner wean whacking his weiner if a Weiner could wean whacking?

    *Truthfully, I feel for him because I don’t think he can help it right now.  He needs to be in treatment not to convince voters of anything but because he wants to understand himself and have control over himself.

  2. Bingevision

    Monday, July 29, 2013

    By Samantha DeRose

    Confession.  I binge watch TV shows.  With the advent of Netflix, Video on Demand, etc.  I've become one of those people who spend entire weekends, vacations, summer breaks watching entire series in one sitting.  One very long sitting.

    Dexter, Arrested Development, Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Ray Donovan, Homeland, Girls,  Bates Motel, etc.  I've binged watched them all.  Which leaves me in a bit of a quandary when I'm finally caught up with the rest of the world and have to wait for the next season to watch on a weekly basis like a normal person.

    I don't know why I do it to myself.  I find myself depressed, bereft, forlorn, wandering aimlessly in that stretch of time betwixt seasons (or at least until I can find something else to watch like a maniac).

    My most recent bout of bingevision occurred just this past weekend.  You may or may not know that one of my favorite podcasts is The Moth.  I listened to an episode last week in which the storyteller, Piper Kerman, told her tale of being a WASP sentenced to 15 months in a federal penitentiary.  The story was fascinating.  At the end of the podcast, the host, Dan Kennedy, mentioned that Kerman had written a novel about her experience which was being picked up by Netflix and made into a series called Orange is the New Black.

    What the what what?  Netflix had been "recommending" that series for about two weeks and for some reason, I ignored it because, well, it was Netflix recommending it for me and not a real person.  Now that I had "met" Piper Kerman (I feel that I know all of the Moth storytellers stalker) I trusted that the series would be great.

    And so Lee and I watched.  And watched.  And watched.  Until all 13 episodes were complete leaving us depressed, bereft, and forlorn until next season (2014).

    The series was phenomenal.  So phenomenal that it made me want to become an activist for women who have been incarcerated.  Each story resonated so deeply within me.  I felt that there really is just a fine line between their lives (even the meth addicts) and mine.

    I found myself so emotionally invested in this program that I decided that Lee and I would write to female prisoners to bring some sunshine into their lives. (Lee didn't know about this).

    First I went to Write a Prisoner Dot Com and searched for female inmates.  Not that male inmates don't need cheery letters, but I felt that I would have a stronger connection with the women... you know, kindred sisters.

    I decided to exercise some caution and search for inmates with life sentences and preferably older inmates.  Grandmotherly or motherly types (like the non-speaking inmate from the kitchen or Yoga Jones...both  from the series).  As much as I wanted to spread sunshine, I didn't want a stranger to come knocking on my door one day looking or a fix or a job or a place to crash with their man.

    Turns out that life sentences can vary meaning that the person could feasibly get out soon.   So I searched for women on Death Row.

    My search was narrowed to two women.  Their photos were remarkably like the women on Orange is the New Black.  They looked like ordinary women.  Someone I might bump into at the supermarket or invite to a book club.  Both of their mini-biographies said something along the lines of "the world seems to have forgotten me"  and "letters help me to get through my day..."

    I knew that I could be that person!  I'd buy new stationery, a new pen (inmates can't use the computers).  I wouldn't type my correspondence.  Handwritten letters would be so much more personal.

    The bios simply stated that both women had committed murder.  Hey.  While I would never do that, anything could happen.  I mean their photos were so wholesome.  I knew that these women must have suffered some type of awful abuse and had no choice but to commit those crimes.

    Just before I headed out to Office Depot to buy my new stationery, I decided to do a quick Google search on both of the women.

    Turns out that the first woman murdered 4 of her 5 children (the 5th survived).  I will not go into the details as I've had nightmares for 3 days now.

    The second woman and her boyfriend were serial rapists who tortured their victims in a van and eventually murdered a girl.

    I suppose it's safe to say that I'll stick to blogging and skip the letter writing.  Apparently, TV is not always a reflection of reality.

    I did, however, download Kerman's book (I mean, we're best friends and all) and it is just as phenomenal as the TV series (I binge read it in a day).   I highly recommend both.

    By the way, I'll be at Tierney's in Montclair on August 4th at 8pm


    Saturday, July 27, 2013

    By Lisa Harmon

    A few years ago the Super drove over to the Motor Vehicle office that offers free parking in their lot. When he got there the lot was practically empty. He pulled right in thinking “It's my lucky day!”

    Overjoyed, he walked to the counter. As he approached he was informed the computers were down and there would be “no transactions!”

    As it turns out, his lucky day was not that lucky!

    In a related matter, we left town for a few days last weekend. It was a short trip. I decided I wasn't going to use a pet sitter. This time we were going to wing it.

    The morning we were getting ready to leave, I filled up three clean litter pans with fresh litter.

    Then I measured out four days worth of dry food and put that down.

    Then I put down a giant bowl of cold bottled water and a frozen cat waterer that would defrost by itself and keep her going for days.

    My cat could not believe the sudden bounty that she was receiving. She was looking at everything with such a look on her face, I do believe she was thinking “It's my lucky day!” Poor silly cat. Ten minutes later she was probably thinking “Where'd everybody go?” 

    I wonder if she realized her lucky day turned out to be a bad luck-y day.

    The moral of the story is, if it's your lucky day, look out. It probably will not end well.

  4. Blackfish Redux By Rhonda Hansome

    Wednesday, July 24, 2013

    Blackfish is a new documentary that explores the world of killer whales in captivity.  I don't want to say. "I did it first!", but I did.  

    Just take a gander at my blog from Thursday, July 12th, 2012: 

    Speaking of documentaries, I have one in post-production, 
    Drama Mamas The Film.  
    My feature length documentary explores the world of overlooked black women theater directors. It puts these visionary women of American theater in the spotlight.  

    Did I mention the film stars Phylicia Rashad and Ruby Dee?

    Drama Mamas carves in history the names of women like
    Ellen Stewart, Shauneille Perry, Vy Higginsen,
     Shirley Jo Finney, Jaye Austin Williams, Barbara Ann Teer
    and many others.
    In Drama Mamas the Film, their contributions are remembered for all time. 

    Well, remembered for all time if I can get out of post-production. I've shot all the footage and still need finishing funds for...

    sound correction, original music, animation, and final edits

    Someone writing the very earliest version of a blog said,
     "Ask and you shall receive."  So I'm asking...
    I have just launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund the necessary post production elements and I need your help. I need you to donate right here.  

                          $5, $15, $40, $100, $500, $1000, $5000

    No donation is too small or too large!

    I need you to donate and follow @DramaMamas2, "like" Drama Mamas The Film and urge your friends to donate to this historic legacy film.  Nothing more.  Well, one more thing: #BlackWomenTheaterDirectors

    Dear Reader I sincerely thank all three of you.

    Rhonda Hansome is a director, writer, stand-up comic and actress. She is currently playing The Bar Owner in the rock musical Date Me Do Me Dump Me. Tell your folks in Columbus Ohio to get tickets now!

  5. Unboxed

    Tuesday, July 23, 2013

    When it comes to the need for drama in my life, I am glad when I get it by being in a play.  The role I am cast in is that of an ex-wife and mother of two grown children.  I am fortunate in that I like the play, “When We Met,” the director Lexy Nistico, and the cast.  That’s a pretty good deal.  Now if landlords didn’t need rent in the form of money…

    If an afternoon or evening of short plays sounds like something you’d enjoy, please do get there early to get your tickets.  I am in Festival B.  That is Saturday night or Sunday day.  My friend Richard Ploetz is a playwright and has two pieces in the festival (same as the part I’m in), and he’s acting in one of his short plays. 

    I’ve been lucky recently in getting free photo shoots where we both gain more experience and more photos.  The photographers ranged from student to experienced and normally paid.  Now, this is a rare occurrence, but I was motivated to wear a dress in the last one.

    I felt pretty comfortable with the photographer, Richard Hart, and it shows.  When I’m not, it is so difficult to get natural looking pictures.  If I haven’t driven him nuts in the editing process, we may do another shoot.  And since I looked traditional in this one (ya know, where I could play the Avon lady), I want the next one to be very different… more like where I could play Madonna’s lover. 

    Stay tuned…

  6. By Samantha DeRose

    1.  Eat junk all week
    2.  Forget to wear clothes
    3.  Burp
    4.  Fart
    5.  Leave clothes on the floor, dishes in the sink
    6.  Watch dozens of movies
    7.  Read 7 novels
    8.  Write 1 novel (or at least think about it...again)
    9.  Enjoy not being a taxi or an ATM
    10.  Miss them terribly

  7. By Lisa Harmon

    I can't believe that men are ANGRY about the all woman open mic. I keep hearing about one comic or another going on a rant about it. It makes no sense. These people never seemed to care much about sexism when women were on the receiving end. So I'm surprised how sensitive to injustice some of them have suddenly become. Anyway, I have no idea why an all woman open mic would make them ANGRY, but I don't care. I have the sense to keep my mouth shut on issues that don't pertain to me, (for instance raising children) and I wish everyone else did. The truth is we're surrounded by idiots. ANGRY idiots.

    I'm no stranger to the blatant sexism that some people are either too stupid to notice or pretend not to notice. I don't know how they don't see it but I'm pretty sure those are the only two options. To my credit I usually attribute it to their desire to maintain the status quo, because despite their best efforts to prove me wrong, I never can quite believe people are that fucking stupid. Do you want your rights? Yeah, well so do I. You really can't get that? Really?  If they can't see that blatant institutionalized sexism how did they spot it at a tiny little open mic?

    News flash: Its not your business how we decide to live our lives. If we hang out without you that's our choice SO BACK UP. How dare you demand to be a part of every aspect of our existence? Where does your sense of entitlement come from? I don't owe a thing to you or anybody else. I'm free to spend my time in the company of whom I choose. Furthermore, you know NOTHING about being a woman and if you weren't a self-centered block-headed egomaniac you would realize that and stay out of our business. If you overly-entitled lunatics think you can make a demand on me or any other woman (or human being) to spend time with you, you're more deranged than you think. Furthermore, if you were really against sexism, I'm sure I would have heard from you before now.

    And what is your motivation to want to invade our space with your ANGER? Are you really surprised someone went and made this place and it became popular? Are you that stupid or jealous or what? Or are you just a control freak? Do you really think that a hang-out between women is a threat to gender equality? You're a liar. You're lying to yourself. Holding doors for women and letting women be women is not preventing the end of gender inequality.

    Gender inequality has been around for thousand of years. It is institutionalized. It is deliberate and it is malicious. An all woman open mic is a fun activity for women to enjoy a common hobby and each others company. Furthermore, there are always men at the mic. The bartender and barback are both men (when I've been there) and there are no problems with them or the mic patrons.

    For you to compare the inequality experienced by women to an all-woman open mic as the same thing is insulting. You're either a total nitwit or just a sad pathetic loser that wants to control women.

    Either way I hope I NEVER see you at any open mic or anywhere else. You should be ashamed of yourself. If this hurt your feelings, please unfriend me now.

  8. I’m not angry over the verdict 

    Not Guilty

    in the George Zimmerman murder trial.  

    I expected it and I was not surprised. 

    What did surprise me was, how frightened and intimidated poor George Zimmerman was by Trayvon wearing a hoodie in the rain...

    ... and juror B37 admitted on national TV, that she thought Trayvon was responsible for his own death...

    ...and the jurors agreed that Trayvon had so viciously attacked George...


    with Skittles, 

    that George was justified in using deadly force to defend himself with a hand gun.

    I’m not angry. 
    I'm just saying keep your spirits up and remember to laugh everyday.

    Rhonda Hansome is an actress, writer, stand-up comedian and new film director. Donate here to the Indiegogo campaign for her documentary, Drama Mamas The Filmwhich celebrates 

  9. A Monday Night with Mindy

    Tuesday, July 16, 2013

    A Monday Night with Mindy


    I don’t remember if I first found the Saturn Series poetry readings when my mother passed, but it seems to touch that spot for me.  I know it is largely Su Polo (and past co-hosts) that makes everyone feel so welcome at her weekly reading series (in its 19th year!).  I feel able to be somewhat emotionally naked there.  I feel understood.  And I tend to share my tumultuous inner world.  I was very happy to have been asked to feature, and to top it off, she had asked me who I’d like to feature with.  I picked Mindy Levokove who agreed, and I called it the night of two Mindys.  Su began calling it Mindy Squared.
    Before leaving home, my dog had an unexpected need for another walk, so I was late.  Su begins with open-mic readers, so it was fine.  I was given such a welcome when I arrived that I almost felt like a movie star. 

    I was particularly disorganized in gathering material to read this time.  It reflects my paper clutter at home.  I had to remind myself that the audience does not know any of that and just knows what I present.  It was a strange combination of older poems and rough drafts of new stuff.  I was still revising drafts on the train ride from the Bronx to Union Square.  So when I arrived, I still didn’t have things in the order I wanted to read them.  I felt bad to be organizing my papers while people were sharing their work.  Then when we had to work out who goes first, Mindy Levokove was fine with going first which gave me the time I needed.  She sang her work and played a shruti box for some of it.  I never heard that before.  Mindy Levokove is full of surprises, and this night was no exception.
    Patricia Carragon was there and gave me my complimentary copy of the 2013
    Brownstone Poets Anthology.  It is beautiful and was such a nice surprise.  I read

    the poem I have in there, “Brown Leaf in February.” Some of the people there know me to be amusing, so I had to read something deserving of that reputation.  I read, “Divorce, Poor American Style.”  It amused.  I got to meet a Facebook friend in person, Gabriel Levicky.  It means so much to me that Jay Chollick was there.  I wasn’t too late to hear him and Evie Ivy and Pete Dolack and others I enjoy.  Bernard Block dedicated his open mic contribution to me.  My playwright friend and co-worker, Richard Ploetz, attended the reading.  Some people I thought would be there were not there.

    By the end of my set, I read a rough draft about where schizophrenia grows in a poem called, “When One Is the Filler for the Other’s Fractures.”
    I was back in my neighborhood at about 11:30pm.  The humidity was high.  Under a tree at one end of my block, four people were playing dominoes.  Down the block and across the street, there were many police vehicles and traffic was blocked.  I thought there must’ve been a traffic accident.  I think that corner merits an episode on “Survivor.”  Later, when I went to the all-night store, I learned from someone who lives in that corner building that a man who was sitting at home was shot dead. 

  10. Grateful

    Monday, July 15, 2013

    By Samantha DeRose

    Last night I had the privilege of hosting at Tierney's in Montclair, NJ for the 3rd time.  If you're not familiar with the venue, the room sits atop an Irish pub that I frequented throughout my college years as did most people from the Northern NJ / Essex / Passaic County areas.  The place is a landmark.

    A few years back, just before I started in comedy, Lee and I used to take the kids for guitar lessons across the street from Tierney's at Valley Road Guitar.  We'd sit in the restaurant's bar area for the hour that the kids were having their lesson and when they'd finish, we'd all have burgers, the kids would play video games, and we'd be on our way.

    Oftentimes, I'd see flyers promoting their "Sunday Comics" show and think in the back of my mind, "God, I'd love to be able to do that one day"  knowing full well that I'd never have the courage to be a comic.

    Lo an behold, a few years later, I took a comedy class at Gotham and, after a year or so of open mics and bringers,  mustered up the nerve to reach out to Pat Grillon, the booker for Sunday Comics.  Mind you, I was filled with self-doubt, knowing that I'd never be good enough to join the ranks of these folks and knowing full well that Pat would never give a no name like me a chance to perform on her stage.

    But alas, Pat got back to me right away and graciously offered me a spot on her stage.  I was thrilled / petrified / elated / scared shitless / grateful.  You name it.

    To my surprise, one spot ended up turning into several over the last few years.  Pat runs a tight ship at Tierney's.  She has high expectations of the comics and treats them well by offering them a nurturing environment to hone their craft.

    Pat even produced a wildly successful show that benefited St. Baldrick's when I shaved my head a year ago.

    After a couple of years, I, once again mustered up a smidgen of courage, and asked Pat if I could give hosting a shot.  I fully expected her to suggest that I work on tightening up my material and wait a while but she didn't.  She offered me a hosting spot within a month.

    Of course I ran the aforementioned gamut of emotions again, but I walked onto the stage that evening managed to not pass out.  Throughout the night, I thought for sure I'd never be asked to host again.  You may recall a few blogs back, that I mentioned trying out a song that I had written on the day of a show... (the Cougar Valentine song).  Well, it was THAT NIGHT.  The song flopped.  STUPID STUPID STUPID.  I had violate every rule of comedy.  Not to mention that it was my first hosting gig.

    I left the stage and drove home in fear of what Lee was going to say to me.  I can always count on Lee for brutal honesty.  When I walked in the door with my tail between my legs, Lee said, "You did a good job, Luvvie."  I knew it wasn't bullshit.  Lee doesn't bullshit when it comes to my comedy.  I've been told when bits don't work.

    I emailed Pat to thank her again for the opportunity.  She immediately wrote back and asked for my avails.  I couldn't believe it.  She was giving me another shot.  Just when I was ready to throw in the towel, Pat gave me hope.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm not the best comic out there and I have a lot to learn on my comedic journey.   People like Pat, who provide a safe, well-run environment for novices and professionals (she gets phenomenal headliners) to work, are rare.

    Thanks Pat!  You're a true gem.

  11. How much have we collectively spent on shoes we'll never wear and food we won't eat? I'm sure it is equivalent to the GDP of a country where the shoes are manufactured or the veggies grown. I am convinced if I had all the money I have personally spent on these items, I'd be be listed on Forbes richest list.

    I – like most people - have wasted lots of money – on things like gambling, shopping, hobbies that never stuck, expensive vacations. But for me the big ticket items are shoes – and rotten veggies.

    Mother nature thank you for your bounty but I can't finish a head of lettuce before it rots. Same with an avocado or heaven forbid a bunch of dill. Who needs that much dill? Dill goes bad in two days.

    Onions, forget onions. The first time you cry your eyes out. It is delicious and you have to stay home because you stink. Next day you chop a little more off the onion and its too late. Good news, no tears, bad news, no taste.

    All those half-eaten veggies that are rotting in your crisper (ironic isn't it?) are just money down the drain! So forget eating salads! Fresh salad is a waste of money and a pain to make. And salad is awful in most restaurants. Be prepared to spend fifteen dollars or more for a salad that is chopped up enough for human beings to eat. If you want your cucumber without the skin, good luck. Restaurants don't do that. A small amount of arsenic in a diet is acceptable. Especially if its not their diet!

    And good luck trying to cut off that cucumber skin with the ancient knives they give you at the diner. That cutlery was brought to America by the first wave of Greek immigrants in the forties. If you want to save money, avoid salad! And while you're at the diner, don't play with the machines in the front foyer! You don't need a temporary tattoo or a piece of bubble gum the size and density of a golf ball.

    Its hard not to become bitter as one ages. (How'd that get in there?)

    Also a big waste of money: shoes. They're expensive. And if they're uncomfortable, you will never wear them. And depending on what you spent on them, you will hold on to them the appropriate amount of time before throwing them out without ever having worn them. That's a lot of money. Plus if you live in New York City that's a waste of valuable closet space.

    I'd love to have all the money back that I've spend on unused footwear. In this category I would also like a refund (in today's dollars) for the pair of shoes my cat ruined after I wore them once – they were seventy dollars in 1989 so what's that now? About six hundred?

    So that's my advice. Avoid these two common money pits: overly-large vegetables and uncomfortable footwear. You'll be on your way to financial freedom in no time!

    This has been Achieving Financial Freedom with Lisa Harmon.

  12. Moon Child It's Your Time!

    Thursday, July 11, 2013

    What’s your sign?

           Mine is...

     “Slippery when wet!” conjures a possible pratfall and sexual titillation.  My kind of stuff.

    Between June 21st and July 22nd falls the astrological sign


    I’ve never liked having what sounds like a life threatening illness as my astrological sign. To add insult to injury my birth sign symbol is a crustacean, the crab. 

    I prefer the term “Moon Child”, based on the moon being Cancer’s ruling planet.  
    It’s far more romantic and does not conjure up a debilitating battle with chemo.

    From the highly reputable (?) online source, Athena Starwoman (Starwoman?) at the Universal Psychic Guild (Psychic Guild?)  I learned the following:

    Those born under the sign of Cancer, ruled by the mysterious Moon, are one of the zodiac's enigmas. It is fair to say that most Cancers are a bundle of contradictions. Compassionate and caring with friends, family and lovers, yet they can cut to the bone with their jealous remarks and ever-changing moods. Endearingly eccentric on one hand, and on the other, insecure about how others see them. Like their astrological symbol - the Crab - Cancers can appear hard and insensitive on the outside. However, for those of us who know and love a "Moon Child", we understand that deep below lies a softness and sensitivity that makes them so very special...
    Just as the Moon goes through many changes as it moves from its new to full phases, Cancers too go through many new and full phases of experience. Life doesn't stand still for this sign, even if they remain in one place, because they live so much in their internal oceans of emotions. Their link with the Moon often makes it impossible for them to operate on an even keel from day to day. Up and down like the proverbial yo-yo, most Cancerians feel one way one minute, then sometimes totally different the next. But this characteristic is part of their charm.

    Love and romance matter more than anything else to this sign (but this occasionally shares first place with having lots of money in the bank). No other sign romances better, equally though, no sign takes it so badly when romance turns sour either. But with their changeable natures Cancerians are fascinating, mysterious, stimulating and extremely alluring. This sign is one of the most magic of all and once their magic has reached you, they are the most beguiling companions. After all, isn't the Moon the most talked about and romantic galactic identity?

    Dear Reader, even though on the rare occasion I can be a 

    I do possess ALL of the fabulous magical, mysterious qualities Athena Starwoman attributes to my “endearingly eccentric” sign. 

    I'm having a ball this year
    as I wish to every fellow and sister Moon Child.

    Rhonda Hansome is a stand-up comic, writer, director and actress.  See her live on stage playing the Bar Owner in the touring rock musical, Date Me Do Me Dump Me.