Shakespeare in Love again

I recently watched “Shakespeare in Love” again. It’s one of my favorite movies, though it has been several years since I have watched it beginning to end. I was reminded once again at how wonderful – truly beauitfully written, acted (less Ben Affleck), directed and photographed- that movie really is. The ending though is so good, so touching, without being overly dribbly, that I thought I’d post the script here.

I’m a person who tends to romanticize too much about the world, which is why maybe I like this ending so much. Whatever the reason I find I like it, hopefully you’ll find your own.

A gaggle of the QUEEN'S favoured courtiers wait by her
carriage. WESSEX is hurrying down the exterior staircase
as the QUEEN emerges from the theatre. During the
following a general egress from the Auditorium is taking
place, including some of the actors crowding to see her
off. WESSEX bows out of breath.

                 Your Majesty!

                 Why, Lord Wessex! Lost your wife so

                 Indeed I am a bride short. How is this
to end?

VIOLA has come out of the theatre, amongst some of the
other players. The QUEEN catches her eye.

                 As stories must when love's
denied--with tears and a journey. Those
whom God has joined in marriage, not
even I can put asunder.

                           QUEEN (CONT'D)
                     (she turns to VIOLA)
Lord Wessex, as I foretold, has lost
his wife in the play- house--go make
your farewell and send her out. It's
time to settle accounts.
How much was the wager?

                 Fifty shillings.
(the QUEEN gives him a look)

                 Give it to Master Kent. He will see it
rightfully home. WESSEX gives his
purse to VIOLA.

                           QUEEN (CONT'D)
                     (to VIOLA)
And tell Shakespeare something more
cheerful next time for Twelfth Night.

The QUEEN proceeds towards her carriage. There is an
enormous puddle between her and her carriage. The QUEEN
hesitates for a fraction and then marches through the
puddle as cloaks descend upon it.

                           QUEEN (CONT'D)
                 Too late, too late.

She splashes her way into her carriage, which departs.


                     (heartbroken, testing her
My Lady Wessex?

VIOLA nods, heartbroken too. For a long moment they
cannot say anything to each other. The she holds up
Wessex's purse.

                 A hired player no longer. Fifty
pounds, Will, for the poet of true

                 I am done with theatre. The playhouse
is for dreamers. Look where the dream
has brought us.

                 It was we ourselves did that. And for
my life to come I would not have it

                 I have hurt you and I am sorry for it.

                 If my hurt is to be that you will
write no more, then I shall be the

WILL looks at her.

                           VIOLA (CONT'D)
                 The Queen commands a comedy, Will for
Twelfth Night.

A comedy! What will my hero be but the
saddest wretch in the kingdom, sick
with love?

                 An excellent beginning
(a beat)
Let him be…a duke. And your heroine?

Sold in marriage and half way to

At sea, then--a voyage to a new
world?…she lands upon a vast and empty
shore. She is brought to the

                     (despite himself)
Orsino…good name

                 But fearful of her virtue, she comes
to him dressed as a boy

                     (Catching it)
and thus unable to declare her love

Pause. They look at each other. Suddenly the conversation
seems to be about them.

                 But all ends well.

                 How does it?

                 I don't know. It's a mystery

WILL half smiles. Then he's serious. They look deeply at
each other…and rush into each other's arm.

                           WILL (CONT'D)
                 You will never age for me, nor fade,
nor die.

                 Nor you for me.

                 Good bye, my love, a thousand times
good bye.

                 Write me well.

She kisses him with finality. Then turns and runs from
him. WILL watches as she goes.


A blank page. A hand is writing: TWELFTH NIGHT. We see
WILL sitting at his table.

                           WILL (VO)
                 My story starts at sea…a perilous
voyage to an unknown land…a shipwreck


Two figures plunge into the water

                           WILL (VO)
                 the wild waters roar and heave…the
brave vessel is dashed all to pieces,
and all the helpless souls within her


WILL at his table writing

                           WILL (VO)
                 all save one … a lady


VIOLA in the water

                           WILL (VO)
                 whose soul is greater than the ocean …
and her spirit stronger than the sea's
embrace … not for her watery end, but
a new life beginning on a stranger

       EXT. BEACH. DAY.

VIOLA is walking up a vast and empty beach ….

                           WILL (VO CONTINUED)
                 It will be a love story … for she will
be my heroine for all time


WILL looks up from the table.

                           WILL (VO CONTINUED)
                 and her name will be … Viola.

He looks down at the paper, and writes: "Viola" Then:
"What country friends is this?"

       EXT. BEACH. DAY.

DISSOLVE slowly to VIOLA, walking away up the beach
towards her brave new world.

                             THE END

Free comedy from a poor comic

I’m launching my stand-up comedy career and this is your big opportunity to laugh at me – not with me. And in public. In front of a live audience. Within throwing distance, if you wanna.

Me, along with about 12 to 15 other budding comics – all enrolled in Jeff Jena’s “Stand-Up Comedy Basic Training” course at the Funnybone on the Levee – will do a two-hour show of six to eight minute sets each in front of a live audience.

Who’s the live audience? You.

And the best part? It’s absolutely free. And if you park at Sawyer Point and walk across the Purple People Bridge – you won’t even have to pay for parking. Drink minimums? Bleh – not even being enforced. However, the bar will be open and so will the kitchen. So you can eat and drink to your heart’s content. Get drunk, if you’d like – just so you can tolerate us all. Whatever it takes. Just come.

So bring the kiddies, bring Mom, bring Dad and Grandma can come, too. And watch me and a bunch of others try out all their original material for the very first time. Did I mention it was free?

In all honesty, though, it’s a big night for all of us. I am nervous even just thinking and writing about it. Typically the places fills up, so get there early. Tickets are available the night of the show at the Funnybone on the Levee box office located, believe it or not, at Newport on the Levee. Box office opens at 7 p.m. and the approximately two-hour show begins at 7:30 p.m.

Those who have been in the past say it is one of the best, raw comedy shows around as comics trying to see if they have the skills necessary or not throw out their very best stuff. Hope you can make it.

If you decide to come…
WHEN: Wednesday, December 7, 2005
7 p.m. Doors open
7:30 p.m. Show begins
WHERE: Funnybone-on-the-Levee, Newport on the Levee, Newport, Kentucky TICKETS: Free, at the door. Tell attendant you’re there to see me, Joe Wessels. No limit.
PARKING: $4 at the Levee Free at Sawyer Point in Cincinnati. Five-minute walk over Purple People Bridge.
WHAT: Comedy students have their first stab at performing in front of a live audience, each doing six to eight minute sets
FOOD: Bar open and kitchen open night of the show.
WHY: Support local comedy and see a good, free show.

Scenes from the Hamilton County Board of Elections

No doubt about it. It was an interesting night to be at the Board of Elections.
On an evening when it appears the shape and form of city government was changing right before our very eyes, it was neat to be at the epicenter of all the celebrating and tears and cheering and back slapping and giant bear hugs and happy disbelief among the first-time winners.
Leslie Ghiz saw me as she walked into the press room. I could not help myself and grinned from ear-to-ear. I was so happy for her and we gave each other a big hug and a kiss – not because I was rooting for her necessarily. It was just the moment, and journalist or not – you just feel happy for people who are just so rightfully happy for themselves. It was like few things I have experienced before – and never at the Board of Elections. You could have sliced the good karma in the room and served it up to outsiders like pumpkin pie.
Reporters, print and television alike, chatted among themselves and into TV cameras about how a new day seemed to be dawning in Cincinnati politics. Then you look around the room and see the new faces hugging the incumbents, then they shift quickly and start talking business with serious looks on their faces – staring fervently right into each others eyes, a glaze fixed on the future. You couldn’t help but feel a little hopeful.
There was a sense and chatter about how things look like they are going to be different than they have been in my memory and quite possibly the memory of many people in the room (I didn’t get around to asking Jim Tarbell – he’d know for sure). A new mayor, four new faces on City Council, even a radically different Cincinnati Public Schools school board. Wow. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens next.
[I took photos of part of the evening and recorded audio for Friday’s Cincinnati Advance Radio. We’ll be talking about the outcome of Tuesday’s election. Please tune in.]

Our own little Judith Miller case…

I must give props to local Blogger Brian Griffin for bringing attention once again to an incident in January 2004 where five Cincinnati City Council members voted to subpoena Cincinnati CityBeat contributor Leslie Blade to testify before Council.

The Society of Professional Journalists sent a letter to Mayor Charlie Luken and members of Council in protest of that action.

Here’s the text of that letter, written by then-SPJ president Marc Emral:

David Pepper
Law and Safety Committee
Cincinnati City Council
801 Plum St.
Cincinnati, Ohio, 45202-1979

Councilman Pepper:

The Cincinnati Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is alarmed with the recent subpoena of Cincinnati CityBeat reporter Leslie Blade issued by council. It sets a bad precedent.

We’re concerned that committee members’ questions about the story could proceed down a path that negatively impacts the ability of reporters to do their jobs and do damage to news gathering in the city. This subpoena could put a chill on relationships between reporters and their sources. The story was written largely from public records, which are easily obtainable by anyone. In our opinion, further questioning of the reporter serves no useful purpose.

We ask that the subpoena be withdrawn.

Thank you,
Marc Emral
President, Cincinnati Pro Chapter
Society of Professional Journalists

As Griffin so aptly pointed out, five Council members voted for the subpoena: Laketa Cole, John Cranley, Sam Malone, Alicia Reece and Christopher Smitherman.

The subpoena was never withdrawn and subsequently Blade testified before Council and no one but Smitherman questioned the reporter. Malone did not even attend the meeting and later declined comment, according to an account in CityBeat.

I became president of the Chapter in April 2004 and never fully followed up on this situation. Looking back on it, I think I should have. Though I believe, if memory serves me correctly, CityBeat editors felt satisfied with our response and realized not much was going to come out of the hearing, which ended up being true.

Despite no major pitfalls for the paper or the reporter (she testified, did not reveal sources, the Council member got to ask his questions with already-pubicly-known answers and that was it), it still riles me to think it happened. These five Council members got away with setting a horrificly bad precedent and slapping the face of journalism in Cincinnati. And we never really let them know we felt about it, held them accountable or really explained to them why it was such a bad, bad idea. I wonder how long it will be until it happens again? And I wonder if we’ll handle it differently?

Scene 16

One of my favorite movies of all time is “Before Sunrise”. It’s fitting, albeit not really as good, sequel “Before Sunset” came out last year. Maybe you saw it or heard of it.

It’s worth noting the story is not really this movie’s strength – it’s the dialouge. And some of the lines are just beautiful and poignant. Scene 16 happens to be one of the best.

I am not sure what exatly made me think of this today and then proceed to want to post it here. Chalk it up to my easily-distracted brain, I guess. Enjoy.

The scene:

[Still in club. Playing pinball. Selene is playing, and she loses her ball. Both are drinking beer.]

Selene: [hitting the machine] Merde!

Jesse: [taking over, and starting playing] Well, um, we haven’t talked about this yet, but, are you dating anyone? You got a boyfriend waiting on you back in Paris, or anything like that?

Selene: No, not right now.

Jesse: not right — but you did! [he loses ball, she takes over]

Selene: We broke up about six months ago.

Jesse: Six months ago.

Selene: Yeah.

Jesse: I’m sorry. I mean, I’m not that sorry. But, uh, tell me about it.

Selene: Ah, no. No, no way, I can’t. Its really, really boring.

Jesse: C’mon, tell me about it.

Selene: Okay. I was really disappointed. I thought this one would last for a while. I mean he was very stupid, ugly, bad in bed, alcoholic, y’know

Jesse: Real prize-winner.

Selene: Yeah. [laughs] I was kind of giving him a favour, but he left me, saying I loved him too much, and, y’know, I was blocking his artistic expression, or some shit like that, y’know. But anyway, I was traumatized, and became [she loses ball. She shrugs, they switch] and became totally obsessed with him. And so I went to see this shrink, y’know, and it came out that I had written this little stupid story about this woman, trying to kill her boyfriend, and how she was gonna do it, y’know, with all the intricate details, of, y’know, how to do it, and not get caught, and

Jesse: She was gonna kill her boyfriend? [loses ball. Switch]

Selene: Yeah. Yeah, she was. I mean, its nothing I would do, but it was just some writing, y’know.

Jesse: Alright, no, no, I understand.

Selene: But anyway, this stupid shrink believed everything I was telling her, and it was my first time seeing her. She said she had to call the police.

Jesse: She had to call the police?

Selene: [loses ball. Switch] Yeah. She was, merde! she was totally convinced I was really gonna do it. y’know, even though I’d explained to her it was just some writing, y’know. She said, looking deep into my eyes, “The way you said it, I know you are going to do it, the way you said it.” She was totally out of her mind. It was my first and last session.

Jesse: Yeah, so what happened then?

Selene: I totally got over him, you know. But now I’m obsessed that he’s gonna die from an accident, or, you know, 1000 kms away, I’m gonna be the one accused. Why do you become obsessed with people you don’t really like that much, you know, I mean.

Jesse: I don’t know.

Selene: So, how about you?

Jesse: What?

Selene: Are you with anyone?

Jesse: Umm, its funny how we managed to avoid this subject for so long, isn’t it?

Selene: Yeah, but now you have to tell me.

Jesse: Well, I kind of see this all (****) as this, uh, escape for two people who don’t know how to be alone, y’know, or, uh. I mean, y’know its funny. People always talk about how love is this totally unselfish, giving thing, but if you think about it, y’know, there’s nothing more selfish.

Selene: Yeah, I know. So, she just broke up with you?

Jesse: What? [loses ball, switch]

Selene: You sound like you’ve just been hurt, or something.

Jesse: No…. do I?

Selene: Yeah.

Jesse: Alright. Um, Big confession, y’know. I should have told you the earlier, or something, but, y’know… I didn’t just come to Europe just to hang out, and read Hemingway in Paris, and shit like that, y’know. I saved up my money all spring to, uh, fly to Madrid, and spend the summer with my girlfriend, who has been on this —

Selene: Your girlfriend? [she loses ball. They switch]

Jesse: My EX-girlfriend, who has been on this asinine art history program for the last year. Anyway, I got here, right, and now we’re re-united, at long last, and we went out to dinner, our first night, ah, with six of her friends. Pedro, Antonio, Gonzalo, Maria, Suzie, from home, y’know. She pretty much managed to avoid being alone with me for the first couple of days we were there, and I stuck around for a while, just to kind of let it really sink in that she wished I hadn’t come. So I bought the cheapest flight out of Europe, this one leaving out of Vienna tomorrow, but it didn’t leave for a couple of weeks. So, I bought this Eurail pass, y’know. Y’know–y’know what’s the worst thing about somebody breaking up with you? Its when you remember how little you thought about the people you broke up with, and you realize that that is how little they’re thinking about you, y’know. [loses ball]. Y’know, you’d like to think that you’re both in all this pain, but really, they’re just, Hey, I’m glad you’re gone. [They switch]

Selene: I know. You should look at bright colours.

Jesse: What?

Selene: That’s what the shrink told me, y’know. I was paying her 900 francs an hour, to hear that I was a homicidal maniac, and that I could eliminate (****) my obsession if I would concentrate on bright colours.

Jesse: Yeah, well did it work?

Selene: Well, [loses ball, switch]

Jesse: Didn’t help your pinball, did it?

Selene: No. Yeah, well, you know. I haven’t… I haven’t killed anyone lately.

Jesse: Not lately? Well, that’s good, you’re cured, then.

I love fall

This time of year and the coming next two months are my favorite of the entire year. The weather is cool but not too cold. The air seems cleaner and crisper and more breathable than other seasons. My favorite part, though? The colors. First the oranges, the browns, the dark yellows, the bright yellows, the dark greens and the earthy tones of the trees as their leaves turn bright colors and fall to the ground. I also love the rows of corn turned brown, ready for harvesting for herd feed. Then the farmer on his tractor harvesting that corn, row-by-row as the sun sets on the horizon.
Later on the weather turns cooler and up pops red, green, blue, yellow of twinkling Christmas lights – plus the pine smell of a tree just cut off the tree farm. There are just so many images and smells and memories representative of this season and I love ’em all.
So, that’s why today I woke up, packed the camera and headed West, to Indiana. Other than going to the family cabin in southern Kentucky, southeastern Indiana is so beautiful in the fall. I went to see it and photograph what I could, trying to capture a bit of what I love.
Today I found people fishing off a floating pier at Brookville Lake.
I also went back to Metamora, Ind. – where I used to love to go with my Mom, sister, my friend Alan and my Mom’s friends when we were kids. It was so magical in the fall and up closer to Christmas. I was disappointed to see it had lost much of its charm – replaced with kitschy little shops filled with future-landfill-filler gift shops.
I stopped in Okeana – near my cousins’ farm – and saw horses grazing beside an old train trestle. I always loved that train trestle and vaguely remember my Grandfather telling me that a train once derailed on it and fell to the ground. I’m not sure if it’s used regularly anymore, last used to haul “dirty dirt” from the Fernald Uranium Processing Plant environmental clean-up near Ross, Ohio to Utah for disposal in the late 1990s.
I wound up the evening with my Mom and dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Les Flick’s Homelike Inn.
What a relaxing day after the hectic couple weeks I had finishing up work on the SPJ banquet and then the banquet itself Friday night.

Raised manholes

If you have a sense of humor – even better if a sophomoric one like mine – you probably have done a double-take when you see a sign like this. Cincinnati is full of them. Watch out – some man has his holes raised. Take from that whatever you want, but the phrasing just begs a Leno-like pot shot, doesn’t it?
I really think it’s some road construction superintendent having a little fun. I mean, c’mon, there’s been manhole covers raised for, seems like, decades and we were never warned. Then, all of the sudden, time to warn motorists that the opposite of a pot hole – the “manhole”- is up and ready to ba-bump my car tire. Big deal. I think it’s an inside joke. And probably worth a sweeps piece somewhere. Aren’t the November books coming up?

Another side of the job

Leaving my sister’s house Friday night I happened upon a terrible accident along Interstate 74 just about two miles or so from Harrison. Two people died, another was sent to the hospital.

And I stopped to take a photo that appeared in today’s Cincinnati Enquirer.

I didn’t even think much about it when I pulled up to the sheriff’s cruiser on the highway, identified myself as press and crossed over to the other side of the closed highway. I’ve done that many times. I called the Enquirer’s Metro desk to let them know I was there, got my camera, a few lenses and headed closer to the scene.

A deputy along the way asked me to identify myself, pointed to the accident scene and said,”One dead in that car, one dead in that other car and the one behind it went to the hospital.”

I thanked him for the head’s up – which meant I wouldn’t need to be there too long waiting for an investigator to talk to me. He then told me I could go wherever I wanted around the scene – something not very typical of most accident scenes. So I did, walked within about 20 feet of the car with a dead person in it and started taking photos. I didn’t think twice.

It didn’t really hit me until later when I mentioned it to a few people. Probably shouldn’t have, but there was the, “So, did you get caught in the traffic on the highway after Shelly’s party?” question. I answered honestly and then watched the horrified look on the people’s faces as I told them what I did and saw (but not in too graphic detail). To me, though, it was just another day on the job – and a few extra bucks in the wallet. Sort of.

Journalism – as does police work or being a doctor or an attorney or a mortician or a coroner – exposes those who work in it to all sorts of bad stuff. Luckily this journalist doesn’t have to see that kind of stuff too often. I remember more experienced reporters telling me I’d remember the first dead body I’d see on the job. I do. Very well.

But since then the shock wears off. We joke about what we see, I think, to take the edge off of what we’ve seen. Officers and firefighters at scenes stand around – often just feet from the accident – and laugh and joke and carry on. It seems so surreal to think about it later on.

People wonder why journalists cover this kind of stuff. What service does it provide to show fires and accidents and murder in our newspapers or on our televisions. Interestingly enough that question is answered every time I find myself at one of these tragedies. Just like in the past, people who found out I was there wanted to know what happened, when it happened and how bad it was.

What? Family party? Again?

My Grandma’s brother and sister-in-law celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary Saturday night. Family from as far away as Phoenix and Kansas City, Kan. and across the ocean in Breddenberg, Germany gathered to congratulate my Great Onkel Hermann and Great Tante Marie Jansen on their golden wedding.

We met at the consummate western-Cincinnati-defines-class eatery Dante’s Restaurant. Seems we have zillions of family and other gatherings at the place. In fact, I’ve never eaten there unless it was in one of their party rooms, upstairs or down, whether that it was for an awards ceremony, banquet dinner or some sort of birthday, wedding or anniversary. Wonder what it would be like to just go there for dinner, like with just one other person?

My cousin George – Hermann and Marie’s oldest son – wrote a very funny and touching poem. You can read it – in George’s own handwriting. There are also photos.

Though my Tante Marie is in notably declining health, she has moments of clarity and seemed to enjoy most parts of the evening. That’s good. It’s hard to see her not doing so well. It not only saddens me for her and my memories of a younger, kind, intrepid woman, but it reminds me of the increasing frailty of all my aging family members.

Gatherings like these also make me proud. I’ve got a great big, great family that really enjoys to be together. Things that used to embarrass the holy living shit out of me now are so endearing that it makes me well up as I type this. I wonder what the other patrons who sat in the dimly lit restaurant – with little oil lamps and white tablecloths and neatly folded napkins on their tables – thought when the Germans on the other side of the thin walls started all singing German drinking songs in unison and yelled “Prost!” and “Suffa!” and then downed shots of Jaegermeister? Well, they probably thought we were unrefined, crazy, drinking Krauts with a penchant for bad behavior in a nice restaurant. And we were. I was so proud to be one of them.

Happy Anniversary, Onkel Hermann and Tante Marie. Here’s to many more…

Photo captions
Hermann and Marie get toasted by John (didn’t get his last name), who was a bricklayer for Hermann for 35 years. He shared some funny anecdotes about working for Hermann and how tough he could be, but said Marie was always there with a doughnut and coffee.

Germans, family and friends raise a toast to Hermann and Marie.

Family from both America and Breddenberg, Germany (Jansens’ hometown) gather for the after-party at Bob and Maryann Jansen’s home in Bridgetown (suburb of Cincinnati).

Another party at Shelly’s

Holy Crap! Another birthday party at my sister’s house (this time her’s).

If you’ve read this Blog, you know we have a lot of birthday parties at her house. They’re all special, but I have to admit, this one was pretty cool. It was surprise party for her 30th birthday (she was sorta surprised).

I have one sibling, and though we’ve had our differences over the years (nothing more than most brothers and sisters), she’s a cool kid. I love her very much. She’s a great mother to her (count ’em) four children. Plus she’s a kind, caring person and pretty darn hilarious when she wants to be. Frankly, I don’t know how she does it. But those kids of hers are great, and as I grow older that and everything else makes our relationship all the more special.

All the usual suspects were at Shelly’s party (including my cousin Rhianna who had a piece of cake with Shelly’s likeness on it), plus some of my sister’s old friends and three of my cousins from Germany.

Last time I saw the German relatives? Four years ago. I’ll be posting more photos of them later (as soon as they let me take them). But it was so good to see them again. I am so lucky to have such a great and big family over there. I really need to get over to the motherland again soon. Maybe next year?

For now, though, enjoy another photo gallery from a party at my sister’s house.

Happy Birthday, Shelly!