Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Pondering the signs

As I mentioned earlier, I'm not doing theater for the rest of this year. But I received an audition notice in my email that really made me wonder:

Main Street Theater will hold musical auditions by appointment only on Saturday, September 6 for its upcoming production of THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA. The production will begin rehearsals December 8 to open January 8 and run through January 25. [...] There is one (male) non-singing role.


Readings for the non-singing role will be held at later in the week, but please let us know if you are interested in auditioning for that role.

Margaret Johnson - an elegant, self-possessed middle-aged American woman
Clara Johnson – her twenty-six-year-old daughter, young and na├»ve for her age
Fabrizio Naccarelli – twenty-year-old, good looking and charming Florentine
Guiseppe Naccarelli – Fabrizio’s slightly older brother
Franca Naccarelli – Guiseppe’s wife
Signor Naccarelli – Fabrizio’s father
Signora Naccarelli – Fabrizio’s mother
Roy Johnson – Margaret’s husband (a non-singing role)

Wait, what? How can I not audition for this role? Can you imagine checking the program to see who's playing "Roy Johnson", and it's Roy Johnson?

And is there a deeper meaning here? Why is the only non-singing role the one with my name? Is this character actually the opposite of me?

Oh, if you're interested in auditioning:

To schedule an audition, please call 713-524-3622 X106 or email

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Advocating science in nutrition

The Pollyanna Institute for Comforting Conjecture (I my have gotten the name slightly wrong) has a smear campaign going against Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. CSPI publishes Nutrition Action Healthletter, to which Shelly and I subscribe. We heartily recommend it; we have bought a number of subscriptions for our friends who are interested in current research on nutrition.

CSPI is best known for bringing to light how surprisingly unhealthy a lot of foods are, like movie popcorn and Chinese takeout. The Healthletter goes into a bit more depth, picking a topic or two a month and reviewing the science behind it. A lot of nutritional information is put out by companies selling products, and CSPI examines the supporting studies. Not surprisingly, they are often industry-funded, and the results are inconclusive, but the companies make sweeping and unjustifiable claims based on them.

The Pollyanna Institute apparently has a problem with consumers being informed about what science actually says. CSPI concerns itself with whether studies are well-designed, repeated, and conclusive. The Pollyanna Institute concerns itself with whether they can contrive some way to believe what they want to believe.

Case in point: they quote a Wall Street Journal opinion piece that claims the CDC says obesity would cure itself it kids would just exercise as much as they used to (I cannot find where the CDC says any such thing). Hey, it says what they want to believe. Never mind that it's not true — kids today consume more calories than they used to, so they'd have to exercise more than they used to. Never mind that it's easier to stop buying sugary junk than it is to change their lifestyle.

They beef that Jacobson pays only lip service to exercise (another lie), and focuses on nutrition. Meanwhile, they completely dismiss the role of nutrition, suggesting that Michael Phelps' diet is a fine model, if only we burn those calories. I wonder why they chose Michael Phelps, rather than someone who followed their advice for the longer term, like Jim Fixx? Maybe it's because Fixx died of a massive heart attack at age 52, and that isn't really the message that makes them feel comfortable. Sure, he had a family history of heart disease, but a lot of people do. Nutrition has a role to play in controlling that. Exercise clearly wasn't enough.

But if you want to eat like Michael Phelps and have his world-beating health, there are just three simple things you need to do:
  1. Be under 30
  2. Get six hours a day of strenuous exercise
  3. Have Phelps' athletic genes

You may find that to be a challenge, but you can see it's well worth it. So get out there and make it happen. Oh, steroids also help people be world-class athletes, so you might try them, too. The Pollyanna Institute's reasoning gives a pretty clear endorsement.

Some things I've learned from actual nutritional studies:

  1. Take a vitamin-D supplement. 1000mg of D3 a day is recommended. There are a lot of supplements that have not been shown to have much benefit to health. Vitamin D has. It is cheap.
  2. Take a fish-oil supplement (unless you eat oily fish several times a week). You should eat salmon and other fatty fish, too, but chances are you don't do so often enough to obviate the usefulness of a supplement.
  3. Take resveratrol. The human studies aren't complete, but the results in other critters are so astounding that it's just worthwhile.

We get our vitamin D and fish oil at Sam's Club, and our resveratrol at VitaCost.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Back to Bach

Rehearsals resume tomorrow with the Bach Choir. Our first vespers performance is September 28 at 6pm, at Christ The King Lutheran Church, 2353 Rice Blvd., as always. Soloists are Melissa Givens, Randy Lacy, and Paul Busselberg. They're all wonderful, so come if you can.
An interesting feature about this season is that we'll be recording a CD. This will be the first CD produced since I've been with the group. The recording sessions will happen the day-or-two after each performance, so we'll be at our most prepared.
And in other news, Joe informs me that HITS Theater will be doing Disney's Beauty and the Beast for their spring show at Miller Outdoor Theater. I don't know how he knows this, but it's my top contender for next production to audition for.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Missing Theater

Welcome to my blog!

That's sort of the requisite opening for the inaugural post, isn't it? What are the chances that anyone will read it? :^)

Well, anyway, what I'm up to is "missing theater". It's part of a familiar cycle: when the show's over, you miss it. It's a little like going home from summer camp. There's a period of adjusting to "normal" life and wishing you could still be doing the show. Actually, I'm pretty much over it, now. It was worse after Beauty and the Beast, because my role was bigger and more fun.

The latest show, if you missed it, was My Fair Lady. I played Freddy Eynsford-Hill, the fatuous young man who falls for Eliza, and whom she considers marrying, but doesn't. The chief requirement for Freddy is that he be a good singer, since about half of his time onstage is spent singing "On The Street Where You Live". Pictures (and video clip) are at the link.