Thursday, August 21, 2014

Illusion

August 14

Just starting to write this hurts.

It appears that I'm running toward something that looks a lot like a wall.

I know that I can make a choice between optIons of avoidance. They are all variations of stopping and changing direction, and their combinations thereof. As long as I remain focused on the solid mass which is the assembly of granite and mortar and, no doubt, a heavy modicum of rebar, there's a headache dead ahead.

But then, I hook a left: I've often wondered about something that doesn't exist any more, yet it still crops up now and then....

A long time ago, when telephones were tethered to the wall and all you did was talk to other real people on them, the phone company (as it was known in those times) assigned something called an "exchange" to all the telephones in the land. These exchanges were a two letter code to be derived from an area or region in which the local switching facility was housed, after which a pentium of digits would follow. (Area codes had not been imposed as yet.) In the midst of the MUrray Hills, the SYcamores, the KLondikes, and the PEnnsylvania 6-5000's; the exchange assigned to our little patch of the world was "AR". Some say it stood for ARnot Forest - a non descript point in the middle of nowhere, in the actual center of nothing in particular. Some say it stood for literally nothing at all. It was known as the "no name exchange".

Thanks Ma Bell.

It might as well have stood for Alternate Reality.

...which brings me back to my point, which is: I could just ignore the wall. In an alternate reality it does not even exist. Runners run through it on a regular basis. Writers call it a "block" and bombard it with words. A mime would just create a door.

Actually, now that I think about it, this is a picture looking back at the wall I just climbed over.

9,310 we don't need no thought control steps.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Towards a Million Steps

July 23, 2011
This is a Chronicle of my attempts to ready myself to run the Los Angeles Marathon. When I initiated this Photo Album on FaceBook, I was shooting for March 18, 2012. It would have been my 11th Marathon (8th LA) and would have been preceded my 60th birthday by 10 days. I was not successful. 


At that time, July 23, 2011, this page was named "A Half million steps or more..." It began this way: 

"The journey of a thousand miles beginds with the first step." ~Lao-Tzu

"They say 5 miles is 10,000 steps. I figure I have about half a million to go before this is done.

Onward."

Koloa, Kauai - December 11, 2011
UPDATE: September 23, 2011
Since beginning this journey, I have logged nearly 115,000 steps - and that's skipping almost a month of training. My aim was too low. After reworking the data and making a modestly progressive assumption for the months of training to come, I have to restate my goal and change the name of this Album.

"Towards a Million Steps..." Catchy eh?

UPDATE: January 27, 2012
I have been sucked in and mired in the reality of working in Los Angeles. The situation is less rosy. 


December 26, 2011

The last run was in Dover, DE just past Christmas. It's been another month since then. I have always had a problem with the Capricorn - Aquarius transit.

UPDATE: March 17, 2012
As it stands, this year's attempt has ended. I wish all the best to my friend Charlie Bates who IS running tomorrow. This is not the last of it.

April 22, 2013
UPDATE: Earth Day - April 22, 2012
I picked up the baton again. Weight is farther out of the nominal range than last year. the goal right now is to be able to run in next year's LA Marathon. I have almost a year this time to prepare.


UPDATE: June 27, 2012
Beaver Creek - Week of June 27, 2012
A month after my last post and run we have traveled to beautiful Beaver Creek, Colorado for Ashley's Suzuki Violin Institute.  It's a special time.  A vacation that will most likely never be repeated  Either you walk or take a shuttle to get everywhere up here.  I have charged myself to walk.  Walking is so much more rewarding, if not exhausting due to the altitude. As it adds up I'm doing about 2 to 2.5 miles a day.  By the end of the week I should be feeling something besides light-headed
Last Night Moon
- July 1, 2012


At the end of the week on the mountain and after the drive back, I have managed to keep it on the road through July and August. I'm starting to see some results in the mirror again. All the time I have to run is being provided by the fact that Ashley is not in school yet. I hope I can keep it up even when that big scheduling hit occurs.  We'll see. Won't we?




(NOTE: Beginning August 19, 2012, there is an Interim in which exists one post from Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 2012 when it looks like I tried to get off the proverbial bench again.  I did, but for just that day.)




UPDATE: April 13, 2013 
I have picked up the tools of despair once more.

UPDATE: September 27, 2013
June 28, 2013
This time around I am more confident that I am on the correct path. I am - and this has not been the case for 12 years - finding the time, shoehorning it TO get out and run instead of using excuses to keep me inside on my duff. I also believe that I'm getting a little better at telling the story with the photographs. i should probably let you be the judges of that. 

December 26, 2011
I have stopped drinking alcohol, something I have tried to do on several occasions in my past with varying levels and durations of success. By publicly stating it, I am attempting to manipulate the outcome of this excursion without the need of "meetings". 
August 22, 2013

"That's all I'm going to say about that." ~Forrest Gump

My weight as of April this year was, in Body Mass indications, "Obese". That was, to say the least, disturbing. Since then I have lost 40 pounds and am shooting for about 40 more by race day. 

It may be a dream, but I have read that "A Goal is a Dream with a due date." 

This Dream is due: Sunday, March 9, 2014 at 7:35AM.  I'll keep you up to date.
October 1, 2013


UPDATE: October 1, 2013 
The day the Government grinds to a standstill, I decide to keep things moving.  


UPDATE: December 1, 2013I have passed a million steps. I passed a million steps 50,399 steps ago...About a week ago. No whistles blew. No bells rang. No lightning bolt struck from high Olympus. A milepost is no longer before me. 



October 11, 2014
To this all I say, "Onward."

PS: I have re-renamed this blog - "About a Million Steps...and more."

FINAL UPDATE and EPILOGUE March 11, 2014This past Sunday, I finished in the 29th running of the Los Angeles Marathon. It took me 6 hours and 21 seconds (give or take) to cover the required 26.2 miles of the course "From the Stadium to the Sea".Actually it took 2 years and a little over 8 months to travel my personal course. There was ultimate success in this, and some failures along the way. I shall endeavor to celebrate the success and learn from the failures. 
It is complete. The miles have been run. The goal has been reached. A page turns.

Along the way on Sunday, I was evangelized via bull horn and loudspeaker at least 4 times, passed by three blind runners being guided by their hosts (Amazing!), passed by Gumby (Wierd!), hosed down by kindly bystanders along the route just exactly at the precise moments it was needed most. I kibitzed with five of the 182 "Legacy runners" (those who have run in EVERY LA Marathon since 1986), ran along with a group of Elvis impersonators (one of whom has run 50 Marathons - I don't know which practice makes him crazier...) and, though I have never carried on a conversation about how cool the Kardashians are or how much an inspiration Bruce Jenner is, engaged in JUST that conversation for about a quarter mile of Sunset Boulevard with another runner... foreign, as evidenced by his selective use of English terms such as "Hollywood?" as he pointed up Sunset towards the Roosevelt Hotel... (I said, "Yes!") and "Kardashians!", this he uttered with a knowing smile and a nod as though to make me assured he knew ALL about Hollywood. (I said that I doubted the Kardashians were anywhere near today's festivities, but he continued...) "Bruce Jenner! Great athlete!" (To this I agreed. His 1976 Decathlon Gold made him a national hero...) He then launched into a listing the rest of the Kardashian spawn and their exploits as though he was reciting an epic poem.

All I needed to do was speed up a little. Oxygen choices. There was heat. Lots of heat. "Oppressive heat," said the news reports. One of the hottest marathons on record. Topped off at 88 degrees. But for some reason, that wasn't my biggest challenge of the day. I have Susan to thank for that. She had given me a really nice "Under Armour" shirt for a birthday (maybe Christmas) years ago. It is made of some special fabric that both clings to you and "wicks" the perspiration away from you and it's supposed to be great for this type of activity. I had never worn it. It was very... stretchy and... body-fitting and I felt WAY too self-conscious even putting it on. But I decided to christen it for my big day. Turned out to be a good choice, because the event tee-shirt that the Marathon folks gave to us was just loose enough to allow some air circulation under it, at the same time ITS own wicking properties really made the combination of the two garments a kind of an air conditioner. I felt positively cool throughout the race. Big thanks to Susan Spadaro for saving my bacon on that one.

Now if only we could have done something about the oppressive gravity on the course.

But then there was the finish line. The glorious finish line by the glorious sea. The glorious finish line by the glorious sea with my glorious family waiting right there for me. I had been counting down the miles since halfway along (yes I know that's not the best practice) but now it was in sight...out of focus...but in sight. And just beyond that - after the medal and the mylar blanket - was the biggest prize. Susan and Ashley had braved the crowds and the traffic and all the hullabaloo to greet Daddy as he finished the grand and crazy thing he'd been working on so long.

I didn't get as many pictures of the race as I'd hoped I would. A final flurry of images to round out the Lookback Movie of this album (if Facebook ever releases the technology to produce one of those precious little vignettes for our customization) would have been nice. I did get a few and have posted most. One or two may yet find their way here. If you have been following my posts in this quest/personal challenge, I want to thank you. It really is astounding what that little "thumbs up" icon can do for a person. Had it not been for that, your supportive comments, some gallows humor, and the ultimate humiliation of failing publicly, (I say that with the requisite "Smiley Face" attached) this would have been a much shorter blog. 

Expression of Humble Appreciation.

THE FINAL STATS:

Since the first recorded workout I posted on Humana Fit (now called Map My Fitness)...in exactly 200 posted workouts

881.33 miles covered

217 hours 40 minutes 18 seconds invested

150,021 calories burned (total net loss of 85.3 pounds after gaining back a year ago)

...and 1,640,308 STEPS.

The next journey begins right now.

ONWARD.

Here's a link to the whole story on Facebook!
https://www.facebook.com/thom.spadaro/media_set?set=a.190720414303680.40517.100000971670764&type=1



Thursday, November 22, 2012

Foul It Is, to be Raised For a Glutton's Feast

(Blatantly Stolen from FaceBook)

Foul it is, to
be raised... so,
that gluttons might
feast; on, but the white
of my breast... while,
they toss the rest!

Millions and millions,
force fed to burst; such
a shame, as a pheasant
or Cornish game hen... would
provide, more that enough...
meat, and gristle; to satiate
even, the most finicky of
peasant!

Then, there's potatoes, and
yams; steamed and boiled to
distraction, while the "cook" makes
themselves sick; drinking cooking sherry
by the gallon!

Green bean casserole; it's Gramma's
favorite... though, year after year; all
the guests, just hated it! With, carmelized
onions; that "look" like worms, so the
kids tease each other... then, feed
them... to the dog!

The potatoes mashed, always taste
"burned to a crisp"; "but honey,
that's the best part... just
bite down, chew, and swallow it!"

Is it, cranberry jellied; or, more like a
chutney? Guess, I'll just have plenty of
both... and, let the fickle ones; decide on
their own flacid gluttony!

There's always a fight, for the
drumsticks for two... Maybe, someday...
the growers, will develop a turkey
with six to a bird; just for the sake of
making the food pugilists happy!

Gravy, always comes in two styles...
cold, clammy, and greasy... or, tasteless,
clumpy and lumpy; tasting, alternately...
of grease or of pork!

Stuffing, stuffing, who wants stuffing... goes
the cry 'cross the table; there's just a little that
was in the bird, but several oven baked pans...

Hey! Keep those OFF the table! Then, there's
corn and peas; in separate bowls... that,
make the kids always giggle; as they roll off
the table!

Then, there's dinner rolls; and both sweet
and salt butter tabs... take more than two
per roll, and "suffer extra holes in belts, and
double roll abs!"

Sweet potatoes, baked with marshmallow clumps;
look like "dead eyes", staring into the void... oh,
what a ghostly repast!

So... what did I forget, besides the desert treats?
Somebody please tell me, before somebody blesses
this feast!

Oh, beverages... help yourself... There's glasses, on
a separate table; along with silver bowls filled with
ice; "please! USE the tongs!" There's sodas and wines,
and juices galore; please "pour slowly"... don't want, a
sticky floor!

Somebody please, say grace... then "help yourself"! I'm
already full, 'cause I tasted everything; while playing at
gourmet chef! Breeeeep! Oooops! I'm just saluting all
of you'res health! *Sigh! L'triptophan, lead me to sleep!*

11-18-12


2012 Copyright Zed Null & Word Hack, Ltd.
Feel free to copy and share, provided nothing is changed; and this accreditation remains attached!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Yes, Abigael, it WILL all be over soon.

For those of you who are not one of the 1.6 million viewers of a YouTube video starring a 4-year-old Colorado girl named Abigael Evans, who awww'd us all with her tearful lament that she was "Tired of [the coverage of] 'Bronco Bama' and Mitt Romney" on National Public Radio - here's what you missed:


Her mother is heard on the video to be attempting to console the child by telling her that the election will be over soon. It calms her a little.

Show Tracker of the Los Angeles Times reports young Abby's spirits have further been bolstered by none other than NPR correspondent Mark Memmott himself, who wrote on the organization's website, "On behalf of NPR and all other news outlets, we apologize to Abigael and all the many others who probably feel like her. We must confess, the campaign's gone on long enough for us, too. Let's just keep telling ourselves: 'Only a few more days, only a few more days, only a few more days.'"

The Times goes on to say that NPR also sent the girl an NPR politics pin, which, according to a reporter from NPR station KUNC, seems to have cheered the girl up tremendously.

I suppose, in that sentiment, we can all take solace.

It feels as though it has been a lifetime since April 21, 2011 when Gary Johnson announced - on Twitter no less - "I am running for president." He was the first to declare and the fourth to eventually leave what was to become a field of twelve Republican candidates writhing their way toward the GOP convention more than a year and a half later. For the record, the rest of the names were - in order of their entry into the race - Cain, Gingrich, Paul and Pawlenty; Romney, Santorum, Bachmann and Huntsman; McCotter, Perry and Roemer. Some fell quickly. Others were tripped up later. Before reaching the Convention at Tampa, all but Paul and Romney had fallen along the road.

After 478 days of campaigning for the GOP nomination for President of the United States, two men entered "Tampa-Dome". One man left: Willard Mitt Romney.

478 Days!  And that was only to the Republican Convention.  There was still nearly 3 months to go before election day.  All in all, 565 days will have been spent literally brawling for the chance to go up against "Bronco Bama" for President.  That's almost half the time poor Abby's been here on this planet!

I haven't even mentioned how much time Mr. Obama has had to take away from his duties as the leader of the free world to meet the challenge brought by the opposition, and keep his job.  

(And thank you SCOTUS for making it even more like blood-sport by adding that little wrinkle of the so-called "Citizen's United" decision.  You just couldn't leave bad enough alone without adding UNLIMITED corporate funding to the election stew.  As if we, living our shabby little lives, needed more incentive to believe we were completely impotent in the ability control our own political destiny.  That the government of the People, by the People, and for the People survives only because its it's the Corporations who are the People.)

Oh, let's not forget the whole "early voting" thing.

Anyway - yes, Abigael, it will all be over soon. Next Tuesday is Election Day and that's when the counting begins.

Of course when, the counting will end is anyone's guess at the moment. Both camps are lawyering up rather heavily. Something akin to the Y2K Bush v. Gore mishegoss could happen again this year if the legal eagles have anything to say about it. But that's another very long story...

All we can do is all we can do. Turn out. Bring your ID with you even if you don't think it's necessary. Pull the lever. Fill in the dot. Touch the screen. Punch the chad - all the way through!  Vote!  Get 'er done!

And when it's all over, and Abby can listen to her programs again, by the time she's six the whole thing starts all over again.

Ain't democracy grand?


Friday, September 14, 2012

We tell the story this way: PART 1


We tell the story this way:

It was in my home town of Ithaca, NY. 1980 or so.

I had already been "out and back" - which means just that: I graduated high school and moved out.  I went to college and went to work.  I moved to Syracuse; moved to Boston; moved to Fort Lauderdale; moved to Lansing, Michigan; moved to New York City and then I moved back home again to live with my parents to review my situation.  Voila: "Out and Back".

Along the way in my American Walkabout, I had developed a hankering to be on stage portraying characters other people have created.  I enacted scenarios of dramatic import for the entertainment of groups of patrons who would suspend their realities for measured lengths of time.  I stumbled, bumbled, mumbled and grumbled under the guise of art.

I believe the word "Acting" serves as an omnibus label in all the above pursuits.

Following that vein, I was appearing in a play called “The Runner Stumbles” by Milan Stitt at The Central Casting Theatre; a light hearted romp about a Catholic priest on trial in rural 1911 Michigan for the murder of a nun with whom he is also alleged to have been romantically involved.  Like I said: a total fluff piece.

I played the priest:  Dark, brooding, unsympathetic.... and those were the good reviews.

A couple of the other characters were acted by students from Ithaca College's famous Television and Theatre department.  One of them counted as one of his friends, a Sophomore in Fine Arts - Acting... a student named Susan.

We did not meet that night.

Months passed.

She was stage managing a production of “Mame” for the Ithaca Theatre Company and she needed someone to play an older, stuffed‐shirted, stick‐in‐the‐mud, non-singing, party‐pooper in the show.  None of her friends filled the bill, but then she remembered me and my dark, brooding, etc. performance in the play she had come to see months earlier.  She called Central Casting and got the phone number I had given them. It was my parent’s house where, as I have mentioned, I was living at the time.

The next day, I received a message left from my father at the school bus facility where I was performing daily as a "School Bus Driver".  No, really, I was driving a school bus for a living.  Maybe I'll relay some sappy stories from that episode later on. The message, in my father's shorthand delivery, was: "Some girl called to find out if you want to try out for a play.  Do you want her number?"

I did.  He gave it to me.  I called her.  I showed up.  She gave me the part.  Things began to change.

That's how we tell the story of how we met: Girl sees Boy in play.  Girl hires Boy for another play.  Girl and Boy get married and live happily ever after.

Oh, I'm sorry. Did I leave out part of the story?

Well then, tune in for another installment of "We tell the story this way" coming soon to a blog near you!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

An Open Letter to my FaceBook Friends Regarding the "Tea Party"


A recent exchange on my FaceBook page centered around a clip which I posted from "The Best Damned Show on Television Which Is Shown on a Network That I Don't Subscribe To" - AKA: "The Newsroom" on HBO...


... In it (if you didn't "have time" to watch the clip) anchorman Will McAvoy delivers a scathing and painfully truthful treatise on the state of politics in America; which - it should be noted - he delivers from the point of view of a Repubican - himself.  He is railing against the "Tea Party" under whose influence we are, all of us in America, suffering.


It's tenets:  (through Aaron Sorkin's words)
-Ideological purity
-Compromise is weakness
-A fundamentalist belief in scriptural literalism
-Denying science
-Unmoved by facts
-Undeterred by new information
-A hostile fear of progress
-Demonization of education
-A need to control women's bodies
-Severe Xenophobia
-Tribal mentality
-Intolerance of dissent
-Pathological hatred of the U.S. Government


Well, one of my FaceBook friends took issue with the post and saw fit to suggest I had my "head up my ass" for sharing it.  At least I think that was why he said that.  It wasn't actually clear to whom he was responding with his jab.

My point is this, FaceBook is the BBS of the 21st century.

"Huh?" you may wonder.  "What is this BBS you speak of?"

"...of which you speak, " I would respond.

To which you would most likely rejoin, "Whatever!"

And then I would explain that BBSes were pre-internet message boards where targeted discussions would take place by "users" posting comments on an electronic "Bulletin Board" which was hosted on some geek's home computer and networked with other geeks to foster widespread group discussions.  Myself being one of said geeks, I hosted a BBS called "the Outpost" and caused my wife great concern for more than 5 years in the late 80's and early 90's.

But, returning to the point... during many of these soaring conversations a certain faction of users would enjoy inflaming the discussions by posting personal insults and downright impolite language to get a rise out of the others on the board. These "Flamers" were, for the most part, anarchists, the equivalent of electronic "bomb throwers" who enjoyed making a mockery of civil dissertation. They were not accepted in polite virtual society; and we, who sought to run high class establishments in the wild-internet-west of the last century - by the power vested in us, the SysOp's - would simply delete them from our userlists.  They would virtually vaporize.

Of course there was no way of knowing when they would join the BBS again under a different name, until I began to recognize certain verbal patterns when they started to get frisky again. It was a tough life in the wild-internet-west.

But, that was then, this is now.  Now we have FaceBook, Twitter, Google+ and all the other social networking iterations of the modern internet.  FaceBook itself has nearly a Billion "users" all interacting in their spheres of influence, sharing and commenting and "liking" what each other posts on each other's pages.  A lot of stuff goes around on FaceBook and the others in the course of a nano-day.  Some of it is, admittedly, superfluous fluff.  (If I see one more cute kitten meme I think I'm going to fwow-up - but oh-so-cutely.)  Yet there is some powerful messaging going on as well; and in a presidential election year, the social internet is the Almighty Conduit.

The Conduit is where people of differing political ideals are interacting at a pace that far exceeds anything this country, indeed the world, has ever seen prior to this.  The "Twittersphere" is credited with informing the world about what happened in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen  during the "Arab Spring" last year.  People in the thick of things that otherwise would have had no hope of ever letting the rest of us know what they were going through, put all of us front row center in it by virtue of a few taps on their internet connected device.  It is was... (is he going to say it?)...a "by Gawd" miracle. (Damn, he said it!)

That being said, the Conduit also carries stuff that is, for lack of a better word, ungood.  Factions that use  it use the anonymity afforded to them by it to propagate a counter message of an anti-societal tone.  The trouble is, as we comb through the rhetoric and sheer volume of words and images, it becomes nearly impossible to filter noise from sound anymore.  Music from discord.  Beauty from indifference.  Truth from lie.  Right from wrong.

Where are the lines?  How are they drawn?

Who's truth wins?

Once upon a time, there were the facts and there was the fiction.  The facts were the Truth.  The fiction was the Lie.  The Truth was right.  The Lie was wrong. There was this whole "Bearing false witness..." thing from those "Commandments" to deal with.  Now, not so much.  People believe whatever they read on the internet these days.  They think: "Since someone spent the time, and went to all the trouble to put it all in print somewhere, then it must be true, right?"  Even smart people fall into the trap.  What happens is they need a truth to believe in so they pick a set of fictions that are close to what they already believe, and that becomes their truth.

I don't know if this is indigenous to our century or not.  Probably not.  But it's a lot easier to find a bunch of new fictions to latch on to these days.  And, here's the rub: in America, it's all protected.

And it's okay.

Here's the other rub: it's up to us to do our own homework.  WE have to do the work to really discern between the good stuff and the gunk.  Opinions are as plentiful as speakers.  The facts are researchable and unique.  Caveat lector.

So, since as far as I know the First Amendment still stands, everyone is entitled to their beliefs and so are any who may want to comment on my humble FaceBook posts and pages.  It's one of the things I love about this social-networking thing. It reminds me of the soaring conversations of the wild-internet-west of long ago.  Some great ideas were exchanged then, and some really fantastic futures are emerging now from the same type of intercourse.  I love it!

As I understand it, the "Tea Party" does not.

As previously stated (with confidence high) the "Tea Party" stands unmoved by such things as facts.  They adhere to an ideology that they cannot see around.  They also tend to be very loud, in a digital print kind of way, in denigrating opposing opinions from theirs.  No truth but theirs, facts or not.

Again, that's alright.  First Amendment, and all that.  But I also have the right to at least request civility in the discussion.  I don't expect it.  I'm not the SysOp anymore.  You can say whatever you want, and unless I think it has crossed the line and begins to insult those of my friends who may agree with me for what they add to the discussion, I suppose falsehood can be tolerated to a point, as long as the truth prevails.  I can assume the mantle of Supreme Protector in my virtual world if I want.  I can't vaporize transgressors, but I do have weapons:  History and the Truth.






Sunday, August 26, 2012

Jack Noir: Time Cracker


This document is a production radio script for a segment of "Barley Corne’s Hour Of Wasted Time" (alternately spelled: Thyme), broadcast over the National Broadcasting Network on the evening of June 14, 1949. The popular radio show which, on this occasion, was filmed by an NBN Television crew for an experimental broadcast, was briefly interrupted by interference from an unidentified source and the visual record of certain segments, including this episode of the popular Jack Noir: Time Cracker series,  did not survive.


(Editor’s note: “Barley Corne’s Hour of Wasted Time [Thyme]” was performed between 1943 and 1958 in front of a live audience on a theatrical stage in upstate New Amsterdam.)


Jack Noir: Time Cracker
ACT 1

Announcer:
If it’s after 6:30 on Tuesday, then it’s TIME!  Time for Jack Noir: Time Cracker…
{SFX: alarm clock}
(continues)…Episode 24. 
{ SFX: Theme music plays under}
Last week, when we left Jack, he and his stately and beautiful assistant Nathalie had wandered aimlessly into the Wilderness Bar and Grill in South Hollywood.  Nathalie was deciding between the Cobb Salad, and a Chicken with Wine Sauce and Onions. 
{ SFX: restaurant sounds}
Nathalie
I – I guess I’ll have the salad.
Jack
No.  Wait.  I don’t think you should do that…
Nathalie
Why not?  The Cobb Salad is good here…
Jack
You should have the chicken.
Nathalie
I want the Cobb Salad…
Jack
You should have the chicken.
Nathalie
Jack, I don’t think I want the chicken?
Jack
Just…order the chicken
Nathalie
Jack, why should I have the chicken?
Jack
Because the Cobb Salad has eggs in it….
Nathalie
Jack, I know that…
Jack
(not understanding why she doesn’t understand)
Chicken…(pause)… eggs.
Nathalie
Jack…
Jack
I think I know which came first…
Nathalie
No one knows that…
Jack
I think I know.

Waitress
(forgotten and waiting for their order)
I’d like to know…
Jack
Just…Just order the chicken.
Nathalie
Jack…
Jack
Please, just order the chicken.  I’ll explain it all to you later.  Just order…the chicken.  OK

Nathalie
Pause…

Waitress
Would you to take a little more …TIME? 
{ SFX: Dramatic music Sting}
Jack
The chicken…
Nathalie
(pause)…I’m not hungry.
Waitress
(a bit miffed)
I can give you more…TIME if you need…
{ SFX: Dramatic music Sting}
Jack
Nathalie… (Tense dramatic music builds under)
Nathalie
Pause…
Jack
Nathalie…! (Tense dramatic music builds under)
Nathalie
(Through clenched teeth)
I’ll have…the chicken! (Tense dramatic music resolves)
Waitress
Thank you, miss.  Very good choice.  And what will the Gentleman have?
Jack
Wh-what? 
Waitress
You, sir.  What would you like to order? (Tense dramatic music begins to build again)

Heavily Accented Stranger:
(Interrupting, dramatic music ends abruptly)
…Perhaps I can answer that question, Mr…Noir.

Nathalie
Jack!  It’s…Raton!
Jack
I can smell him Nathalie even though he’s hiding beneath that giant stuffed mushroom cap.

Raton
That’s right, Mr…Noir.  You have an extraordinarily good sense of smell don’t you?

Jack
It’s easy to sniff out a rat on this menu.
Raton
(Emerging from under the mushroom cap)
You’ve never really acquired the taste for my kind, have you Mr. Noir?

Jack
No.  Usually I have to add more lemon and dill.  Perhaps, a pinch of curry.  And…that special ingredient.
Raton
Ah, yes, that…special ingredient.  You never found that.  Did you?

Jack
As long as you have to bring it up.  No, I’m still looking.  And…

Raton
How long have you been looking for it Mr.  Noir?  It seems like you’ve had plenty of…TIME

{ SFX: Dramatic music Sting}
Nathalie
Jack, be careful.  He has the stopwatch!
Raton
That’s right Mr. Noir.  I’m holding your stopwatch.  The one you lost in episode 17.  You thought it was gone forever didn’t you?
Jack 
(trying to get the upper hand)
That depends on which forever you mean.
Raton
What?
Jack
Come on, you’ve been stuck in this recipe for a while.  You tell me, Raton.  Which forever do you mean?
Nathalie
Jack!  Be careful.  You’re going to send us into a flashback.

Jack
I’ve lived my whole life in a flashback, Sweetcakes.  What’s to stop me now?

Nathalie
I have a feeling this one’s going to be different.

Jack
What?  But, they’re never different.  They’re always the same.  That’s what makes them flashbacks!  They’re a literary, theatrical or cinematic device in which an earlier event is inserted into the normal chronological order of a narrative.  They tell you what happened before!

Raton
(Teasing)
Before what?   Mr….Noir.
Jack
What do you mean?  Before what?  Before this!  That’s what before… is… now… (gets lost)

Nathalie
But… you’ve never called me “Sweetcakes” before. 
{ SFX: Dramatic music Sting}
Jack
Ah hah!  But, you can’t know that unless you’ve been in this flashback already!

Nathalie
We’re not in the flashback yet.
Jack
We’re not?
Nathalie
Have you heard the organ music playing us into the past, yet?

Jack
No.
Nathalie (voice fading)
Has anyone faded their voice out as though they’re walking down a long corridor? 

Jack
I don’t think so.
Chief Casey (a completely different voice)
Has anyone completely new to the story up to this point started talking as though he’s been here all the time? Actually he doesn’t appear until the end of the episode?

Jack
Not until now.
Nathalie
Then we’re not in a flashback yet.  Are we? 
Jack
(mysteriously)
I don’t …know.
Waitress
Okay, who had the ribs?
Nathalie
I did.
Jack
Nathalie, that’s not what you ordered…
Nathalie
Yes it is.  I ordered the chocolate ribs with a Foccacia sauce and stewed tomatoes.

Jack
(As if remembering)
And I …I had the Hot Set Ralston with a bowl of Suet….Now, wait just a minute… Hold on!  That’s what I ordered in Episode 17, just before that vermin Raton stole my stopwatch!

Raton
That’s right Mr. Noir.  I have your stopwatch.  And I’m not afraid to use it! (He breaks into maniacal laughter)
{ SFX: A stopwatch starts ticking and continues through the next section }

(These next lines should be delivered in slow motion as though time had hit a wall of Jell-O, and then sped up through the end of the section as though the spring has gone crazy in a cheap clock)
Waitress
Okay, who had the soup?
Nathalie
I had the Split Pea.  I think Jack had the …
Jack
Egg drop…
Waitress (repeating)
Okay, who had the soup?
Nathalie
I had the Egg drop and I think Jack had the …
Jack
Chicken…
Waitress
Your entrĂ©es will be out in a minute…
Raton
What about the appetizer?
Jack
Okay, who smells of Mushroom Caps?
Waitress
Your entrĂ©es will be out in a minute…
Nathalie
I’m waiting for my chicken…
Jack
Which came first?
Raton
Who had the soup?
Jack
I had the Egg drop…
Nathalie
Chicken for me
Jack
Egg drop…
Nathalie
Chicken…
Jack
I think I know.
Raton
It’s an appetizer!
Nathalie
Cobb Salad
Jack
It has eggs!
Nathalie
Chicken…
Jack
I think I know.
Raton
Which came first?
Jack
What?
Raton
Which came first?
(Coming into real time, Ticking stops)
Jack
 (struggling with the words)  Okay!...  Who… had… the… soup?  (The last word is strained as though he has to punch through time to get it out.)

{ SFX: Dramatic music crescendo and climax, then Stops.}

Chief Casey:
We’ll be back after these words from Barley Corne’s Sourmash Sweetcakes and your local stations.

END OF ACT 1





ACT 2

 {SFX: ticking stopwatch}
{SFX: running footsteps}

Jack
(talking into a coffee mug to make his voice “do that voice-over narration thing”)
Nathalie and I leapt from the car and started sprinting down Wasilla Boulevard to South Hollywood  We only had a minute or so to get to the Wilderness Bar and Grill before Nathalie and I would wander aimlessly in as we did at the end of Episode 23…which is where we rejoined the story in this episode….
Announcer:
Jack Noir: Episode 24

Jack
(into the cup)  Exactly…
Nathalie
(out of breath as though she was running)  You know I can hear you when you do that, don’t you?
Jack
(normal voice, now breathing heavily as well) Yes, but it’s essential as a device to bring the listener up to speed about where we are in the story.  A classical element brought in from the Greek Theatre.  A Coffee Mug Chorus if you will.  It allows a character to step out of his body, as it were, and to narrate the story from a second or third person perspective.

Nathalie
Just as long as you know.  ….  

{SFX: the running stops}
{SFX: the ticking continues}
Nathalie
(continuing) Look, there we are!
Jack
(Into the cup again) We were not too late.  We arrived at the restaurant just as we were going in the last time.  This time we were not “aimless”.  This time we were prepared.  This time … we had already had …dinner.

{SFX: Door opening to restaurant}

Nathalie
(Stage whisper) Oh , no!  There’s Raton sliding under the Mushroom Cap.  He still has the stopwatch!
Jack
It’s not the stopwatch we’re after Nathalie.
Nathalie
It’s not?
Jack
No. 
Nathalie
I thought it was the stopwatch.
Jack
It isn’t the stopwatch!  It’s the special ingredient!   The FIRST ingredient!

Nathalie
Jack…we’re about to catch up with our earlier selves, do something!

Jack
I told you!  I know now which came first!
Nathalie
The Cobb Salad?
Jack
No!  The EGG!

{SFX: ticking stops}
Earlier Nathalie
{SFX: in slight reverb like she’s a little out of phase}
I – I guess I’ll have the salad.
Earlier Jack
{SFX: …out of phase}
The Cobb Salad?
Earlier Nathalie
Yes.
Waitress
{SFX: …out of phase}
Wonderful choice.  And you sir?

Jack (Real time)
I’ll have…the rat stuffed mushroom cap!

 {SFX:  sound of a struggle… dishes and silverware hitting the floor}

{SFX:  sounds of surprised patrons in the restaurant as if they’ve seen a rat on the premises.  This keeps up as a background throughout the rest of the episode.}

Raton
(startled, out of breath, exposed) Well, Mr…Noir.  I don’t know how you did it, but it seems you’ve spoiled my little surprise.
Jack
That’s not all that’s spoiled Raton.  I’ve figured out the sequence.

Raton
What sequence?
Jack
The special ingredient…
Raton
You found it?
Jack
You bet I did.  See I take this egg here.  Crack it open and out pops…

{SFX: Loud popping sound}
Nathalie
Chief Casey?
Chief Casey
(Irish accent of course)  So, Mr. Raton.  It’s no good again ye’ve been up ta?  You’ll be comin’ along with me, then.

{SFX:  Hand cuffling sounds}
Raton
You can’t take me that easily copper.  I still have the …. Why…What happened to the stopwatch?  I had it right here in my pocket at the beginning of the episode. 

Jack
Are you looking for this Raton? 
{SFX:  Jack pulls watch and chain out of his pocket.}

Raton
Mon dieu!…Noir!  It is impossible… how did you? … But I stole it from you seven episodes ago. 
Chief Casey
Is that a crime I just heard you confessin’ to?  It’s your touch you’re losing, sure. 

Jack
It was easy, Raton.  While we were hurrying here to intercept our earlier selves from episode 23, I remembered a little trick I learned back in the original series.  All I have to do is dis-remember some element of my past.  Re-remember it into a different future.   And voila!

{SFX: Ticking resumes and gets louder throughout next sequence, morphing from that of a small stopwatch to something like Big Ben}

Casey and Raton
“Voila,” what?
Jack
Once I dis-remembered the exact moment you stole my watch from me in episode 17, I grabbed it back in my new reality.  Since Episode 18, you haven’t had the stopwatch.  I have!

Raton
But then I wouldn’t have been able to steal the secret of the tanning beds in Episode 20… oh, no!  I feel so pasty!
Nathalie
Jack…what’s happening?
Jack
The past is reshuffling around us, Nathalie.  Hold on!  We just have to ride it out…

{SFX: flashback music playing backwards}
Jack
(continues) There goes the flashback sequence in episode 24…

Nathalie
Jack…this IS Episode 24!
Jack
Not anymore, Sweet cakes.  We could land just about anywhere in this series. 

Chief Casey
(Now he has a New York accent) Or next, the way I figure…

Nathalie
Casey, what happened to your accent?
Chief Casey
What accent?
Jack
He’s right.  We could be thrown completely clear of this series and into another whole season.  Or…
{SFX:  Big Ben starts to toll midnight}

Nathalie
(nervously)  Or what?
Jack
Or, we could be cancelled completely.
Nathalie
Jack I’m scared.
Jack
Just hang on!
Raton
Noir!  You can’t dis-remember me! 
Jack
Sorry Raton.  It’s not up to me now.  I all has to shuffle out

Raton
Jack Noir…you haven’t seen the last of me!
{SFX: Big Ben continues striking}
{SFX: Loud popping sound with thunder}

Nathalie
Jack!  Raton’s gone!
Chief Casey
Who’s gone?
{SFX: Big Ben strikes 13}
Nathalie
Jack?
(silence)
Nathalie
(worried)
Jack?
(silence)
Chief Casey
Who’s Jack?

{SFX: normal restaurant sounds }
Waitress
Cobb salad.  No eggs.  Wonderful choice, miss.  And what will the Gentleman have?

Chief Casey
You got burgers?
Nathalie
(sadly) Oh, Jack….
{SFX:  Theme music up… a little more mournful than before…}

Announcer: 
(Raton’s voice with no accent)
Is this the LAST episode of Jack Noir: Time Cracker?  Or the first?  What happened to the Stopwatch?  How can anyone  know?  What have you been listening to for 24 episodes?  And what about Nathalie?  Tune in next week and find out.  Maybe.  

{SFX: Music swells, maniacal laughter in echo}


END ACT 2

THE END