Tag Archives: Hamilton


OK, I admit it was a typo, my title from blog before last. I really DIDn’t mean to type “DYI.”

But as often happens, the fingers precede the brain.

DIY-ing this patio, walk, and landscaping may do wonders for household budget, but possibly at the cost of “Doing Yourself In.”

2900 pounds: that’s the weight of a single pallet of the pavers we’re putting down. We bought five. Over the last week, I unloaded all of one and got down to the last rows of the other four. That is, loaded them into the cart, wrestled it down the hill to the house, unloaded it so James could set the pavers in place.

tommy james patio


A “Heads Down Job,” Tommy explained to me, is one where you do just that: grit your teeth, put your head down, and get on with it, little comfort or perks involved. Yup. Well, at least I had music: “Les Miz”–most appropriate. “Jekyll and Hyde,” with the amazing Australian baritone Anthony Warlow playing that doctor/monster, and if you haven’t heard him in Jekyll or any of the Australian Opera Company’s productions, you’re missing a treat. And of course, hip-hop “Hamilton,” which I wrote about a few weeks ago.

Thank God for gravity: the cart pulled me down the hill, rather than me having to push it. (Though it had a tendency to want to take off in its own direction on the curves.) Thank God also for gloves, though it was so cold I was wearing two pairs.

But the real thanks goes to Tommy, who gave us a week of his time to do the heavy digging which would have taken me three times as long. And to Marshall, who spent much of his Thanksgiving break planting shrubs. And yes, Charlotte-fans, she toted some of those pavers as well. 



tommy digs 2

Do we appreciate our children enough? I’m learning….


“The World Turned Upside Down”

“On the face of it, few historical incidents seem more unlikely to spawn a Broadway musical than that solemn moment in the history of mankind….” (Clive Barnes, New York Times)

The smash hit,”Hamilton,”right? this year’s brilliant hip-hop presentation of the life of that ‘fatherless’ immigrant Founding Father?

Actually, Barnes was talking of “1776,” Sherman Edwards and Peter Stone’s multi-award-winning 1969 musical about John Adams’ battle to get the Declaration of Independence passed by Congress. You may have seen the film with “The Graduate’s” William Daniels as “obnoxious and disliked” little John Adams. The script borrows liberally from writings of the period, including Adam’s opening words to the roomful of delegates: “I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is a disgrace, two is a law firm, and three or more make up a Congress.”

(No comment).

That musical transformed the mythic figures of our nation’s past into passionate, witty, amusing companions I wanted to know more about, sparking an ongoing fascination with the history of the period, a senior thesis on Jefferson’s philosophy of education, and a brief sojourn in a Senator’s office.

This generation gets “Hamilton,” and though words, at least on paper, rarely fail me, they are at the moment. How can I begin to describe this musical? The CDs my daughter left me her Itunes managed to scramble, so I’m listening to the music in complete chaotic non-order, piecing out the plot. Older generation that I am, the song that first yanked me in is the one written in an “old-fashioned” British pop: poor King George laments the loss of the colonies’ love the way any jilted heart might do–except that, “when push comes to shove/I will send a fully armed battalion to remind you of my love.”

But the more I listen to the rest, the more obvious it is that King George’s lovely, funny songs are as dated, as conservative, as the notion of sticking with Great Britain began to seem to the young revolutionaries. They are all, like Hamilton,  “as young, scrappy, and hungry” as their not-quite country, and their music embodies this. Caution given here  if you object to language, but picture Hamilton played by first-generation Puerto Rican Lin-Manuel Miranda (who wrote the show) rap-sparring with a black Jefferson. Picture a young cast in period costumes peopled by the same mix of nationalities as our contemporary America, including women soldiers. The show almost forces us to recognize how very radical our revolutionaries were, pushes us to experience the passion with which they pursued independence.

Perhaps also inspires a whole new generation to contemplate that “public service” isn’t mere dead rhetoric?