That Was Fun, Wasn’t It?

Pistol at Home

There we were last night, 3-4 minutes into Act II of Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice in the Minnesota Opera’s innovative and dramatic new production at the Ordway Theater in St. Paul, as Orpheus descends to Hades to retrieve Eurydice and bring her back to the world of the living.  Orpheus is confronted by a number of demons and furies who try to impede his progress, surrounded by smoke and flashing lights, when suddenly a raucous siren blares, and a recorded voice overrides the music and declares there to be a fire emergency and everyone should leave through the nearest exit.

For a moment we actually wondered if it was part of Orpheus’s descent into Hell, part of a very inventive staging, until another voice, this one not recorded, announced that it was a false alarm and we should keep our seats.

Meanwhile, however, the performance was totally disrupted.

Seems that some of that abundant artificial smoke had leaked into an area that had a more sensitive smoke detector and set off alarms for the entire theater.  Eventually the siren and recorded voice were stilled, Kevin Smith, the Minnesota Opera’s General Manager came on stage to announce it was a “technical problem” that had been resolved, and soon thereafter the production recommenced.

Without the smoke.

The mishap notwithstanding, a superbly staged performance, one of the company’s best in the twenty-five years we’ve been going, starring countertenor David Daniels as Orpheus, a role he will soon reprise at the Met itself.


More Maryland Department

Nice analysis by Radley Balko on the Anthony Graber case and the judge dismissing the portion of the case relating to Maryland’s wiretapping law.


The President and Tyranny Department

Many civil libertarians have been outraged by the President’s claim to be able to execute a U.S. citizen with no due process of law, which is what President Obama is claiming the right to do in the case of Anwar al-Aulaqi, the U.S. citizen now a Muslim preacher somewhere in Yemen.

Radley Balko has something to say about this, too, and I have to agree with him:

Tyranny. If there’s more tyrannical power a president could possibly claim than the power to execute the citizens of his country at his sole discretion, with no oversight, no due process, and no ability for anyone to question the execution even after the fact . . . I can’t think of it.  [Emphasis in original.]

This comes about because the Obama administration is claiming that not only that the President has such a power, but that the fact that he exercises that power is a “state secret” not susceptible to review by the courts.  Sorry, folks, but that is just plain wrong.  And tyrannical.  Also read Glenn Greenwald on and the original piece in The Washington Post.


If Ya’ Gotta Eat Pizza … Department

… at least be environmentally correct when doing so:  GreenBox.


Feds Gone Wild Department

I am in the middle of reading Harvey Silvergate’s Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent, and so far the reading is chilling for the lack of discretion and abusive tactics federal prosecutors will use to pursue victimsdefendants once someone gets in their sights.  Now comes a USA Today series, “Justice in the balance,” the results of a six-month investigation into federal prosecutors’ misconduct.  Read the original articles, but also read the very good analysis of the situation by Radley Balko in


A fun session at her apartment.

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