06/05/13 4:00am

I Don’t Know I Said
By Matthew Savoca
(Publishing Genius)

The most fascinating aspects of this novel are also its most frustrating, as the book reargrounds its nuanced love story to foreground a pile of cash: the main characters, Arthur and Carolina, spend a year depleting $80,000 that she received from an accident. Much to Savoca’s credit, the novel becomes a nimble commentary on a creative generation faced with the declining value of a liberal-arts education. Arthur and Carolina are starkly unable to look toward the future, and as Savoca fleshes out their ultimate twentysomething fantasy, this handicap becomes even more crippling than a car crash. The pair vacillates between traveling and staying put, loving and fighting, being assertive and giving up—and never once seem to move forward. Arthur’s favorite phrase becomes, “I don’t know,” infuriating Carolina; each feels like the burden of decisionmaking falls to the other. (It’s curious that Arthur and Carolina seem to have both been dealt decent cards: both have loving parents; they are attractive and young; and they’ve come into money. They have pretty decent sex. You have to wonder what’s tripping them up.)

Their actions and dialogue, while sort of cute in a Tao Lin kind of way, are more often rankling; it’s hard not to think of a million better ways to spend $80,000 than just living off it like it’ll last forever. But the true beauty of this novel is readily apparent in Arthur’s musings about life, needs, wants, and love. He’s the quintessential armchair philosopher, however misguided, and you keep reading to hear more of his simple thoughts. The couple split up for a time, and Arthur tries to grasp its meaning: “I thought about how I didn’t really understand it myself, but how it was a different kind of non-understanding, one that was accepting.” As the novel ends just as quietly as it began, in reconciliation, acceptance seems like the last thing that Arthur should ever
practice again.

05/09/12 4:00am

Falcons on the Floor
by Justin Sirois
(Publishing Genius)

Falcons on the Floor is an arresting tale of adolescent friendship and love, about two boys not yet old enough to be men, asked to survive in circumstances that would make most adults shake. The danger the two boys face is the tread of Coalition forces, and the setting is Fallujah, Iraq, on the eve of the first siege.

The story follows Khalil and Salim, the former a mischievous con-man in the making and the latter a computer-savvy hopeless romantic, as they flee Fallujah across the desert to Ramadi, and internet access, so that Salim can tell his girlfriend in Syria that he is alive. The stakes are higher than merely updating his Facebook page: the itchy trigger fingers of overtired US Marines make the desert even more inhospitable. Justin Sirois’s debut novel is exciting and eye-opening, with a sad finish that will leave the reader with a fresh disgust for war.

Sirois wrote the book with the help of Haneen Alshujairy, an Iraqi refugee now living in Cairo, and speaking out about the plight of displaced Iraqis. Her consultation on the facts, conditions and general mood in Fallujah on the eve of the siege is invaluable, and as a result, the tale does not lack for authenticity, while Sirois’s spare, direct style conveys the complex terror of hiding behind a rock to survive. Much of the book is narrated via the diary Salim keeps on a laptop; his prose is poetic, honest: “The night sky crashes white. We turn toward Fallujah. Empty steel drums roll under clouds… Deltas of oil smoke leech the sky.”

Though American culture pervades the book, thanks to the obsessions of the pair of boys, fluffy pop is always distilled through a filter of violence. Khalil convinces Salim to take him along: “You’ll need me… You know, moral support, your wing man, your black guy in Dead Hard.” Salim, corrects him—“Die Hard”—laughing and wiping “bloody syrup” off his arm. The reference resonates for many reasons, chiefly the contrast between our violent escapism and the pain and suffering endured by these two innocents with a strength surpassing their age.

12/22/10 4:00am

Empty Mile

By Matthew Stokoe


Matthew Stokoe’s Empty Mile succeeds at showcasing the broader themes of remorse and regret apparent in any well-written noir, but stumbles over more immediate aspects of the genre, like believable minor details and logical plotting. The novel opens abruptly with Johnny Richardson’s homecoming to the small town of Oakridge, CA and an offhand explanation of why he fled the country for England: Johnny’s younger brother Stan suffered brain damage due to a swimming mishap that was only half Johnny’s fault. Unfortunately, this early revelation leaves little chance to build the tension required to create a more satisfying reveal, and sets the tone for the rest of the novel.

Johnny reunites with his abandoned love, Marla, and moments later they are asked to have sex in the woods while a town politician watches —the take, 200 bucks. “I’m afraid I need the money too badly,” Johnny remarks, despite numerous mentions of all the money he’d saved overseas: “there’s no way I could turn down 200 dollars right now… No sir.” In a more plausible twist, Johnny murders the politicians brother in law in quasi-revenge, and Johnny’s friend Gareth blackmails him with the bloody weapon of choice, a lead pipe, and asks for a ransom: “Dude…I should have a share in the woman.” There is an acute feeling, though, that Jonny, with the lead pipe, in the woods could just as well have been Colonel Mustard with the candlestick in the dining room, as the events feel somewhat arbitrary —Stokoe hasn’t allowed the reader to get to know the characters.

Empty Mile finally hits its stride just after the three-quarter marker, when Johnny finds an old diary pertaining to the California Gold Rush and a mysterious piece of land called the Empty Mile, owned by Johnny’s missing father. The history lends some much-needed credibility, and helps to stabilize the book for a barn-burning finish. A final murder creates closure for the haggard characters and leads to a dramatic, Dickensian act of self-sacrifice, bringing Stokoe’s concern with past regrets to a meandering but definite full circle. Although Stokoe’s pacing and ear for emotions in Empty Mile create a book that diehard noir fans would find passable, the structure and hard-to-swallow details leave minor feelings of remorse and regret on the part of the average reader.

12/14/10 4:00am

Nutcracker Rouge
Choreographed, directed, and conceived by Austin McCormick
Written by Jeff Takacs

Company XIV's latest presentation, Nutcracker Rouge (through January 9), keeping with their sexy fairy tale schema, is a passionate ballet masquerading as a sultry burlesque. The surface boils with skin and suggestion, while the movement and narrative structure supporting and propelling these bodies in motion evoke the most sublime of ballet positions. The performance, a reinterpretation of Alexandre Dumas' version of E.T.A. Hoffman's fable The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, works to expose the darkness and decadence hidden in this seemingly innocent story of children and their imaginations.

The performance begins before the audience has even taken their seats, with Uncle Drosselmeyer (Jeff Takacs, who also wrote the book) insidiously enjoying a libation amongst the crowd, as he presents his newest creations; two innocent dolls, girl and boy, in a gold-curtained box, who engage in not so innocent acts before the very table the audience eats and revels at. His niece, Marie-Clair (Laura Careless), appears and spots the foot-tall nutcracker, her Christmas gift. The familiar story is set in motion, but something is off. There is a sinister sense of impending corruption this night. Perhaps it's the richness of the chocolate and red wine, or the power and tenacity held in check and hidden just beneath the pristine whiteness of the dancers' snowflake tutus, but it is clear this will not be Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker, no more than Tchaikovsky's was Dumas' or Dumas' was E.T.A. Hoffman's. This is a very good thing.

The clever conceit of Nutcracker Rouge is that Marie-Claire's journey through the Nutcracker Prince's kingdom is not only fraught with the taunting and danger of Tchaikovsky's original, but it is an education as well, a purging of innocence, as she is danced through her adolescence and introduced to not only different ways of moving—from Flamenco to Can-Can to Jazz—but also to the varied types of sexuality available to a young lady. Drosselmeyer practices S&M with the Licorice Boys, nubile and muscled men wearing black leather cod-pieces: "You don't like licorice? It's an acquired taste! Grow up!" Marie-Claire tastes the lips of another of the female dancers and is smitten by this seemingly forbidden treat.

With each new presentation of form, movement, and sexual endeavor, choreographed so expertly by Austin McCormick that it almost seems improvised, Marie-Claire crawls closer, engages more earnestly, touches, feels, dances, joins in the melee of the night. After she disappears and Drosselmeyer declares that all has been lost, Marie-Claire returns, spotlighted above the stage, having removed her taffeta green skirt for a bare-all corset and some pasties. She's come to claim her kingdom of decadence, The Land of Sweets, and her prince. Her skin and barely-there costume out-glitter even the baroque and gilded sets, which inspire awe upon entering the space at 303 Bond. The large bruises and contusions on her bare white legs are illuminated—the scrapes, welts, battle scars stand out in the harsh light, reminding us that this type of dance is physical and violent, a demanding and ultimately draining act. Careless's solo number is body range pushed to the limit as she wrenches and hurls her body into each new step in the dance, as if deliberately trying to throw her spine out of her skin.

There is, thankfully, no overarching battle between good and evil, no fight between mice and cookies, but rather a celebration of dancing and the ability for human beings to engage with life and love and sexuality however they choose, as long as their hearts are good—speaking of which, Company XIV donates half of its proceeds to an LGBT shelter in Brooklyn. The only battle worth fighting here is within, and it's a battle that should be hard-fought, enlightening, and need not involve stabbing seven-headed rats.

After Marie-Claire's dance, Drosselmeyer suddenly can't contain the hunger for his niece that's been building throughout the show, and he calls his Licorice Boys to coral her (Iggy Pop's "I Wanna Be Your Dog" drones from the speakers). But before he can take her a shot rings out and the Nutcracker Prince appears, slays the evil-ish watchmaker, and exits stage right. Drosselmeyer gets up clutching at his stomach, "I'm hit!" he yells, and stumbles away, thigh high leather stiletto boots and all to the gates of hell. But as any good showman, before he goes, he takes one last look at life, and recalls a moment in his childhood, where he realizes there are only a few things he wants out of life: to behold beauty, to know truth, to practice love, and of course after a pause, "I want a death scene." Drosselmeyer gets his campy final moments on the stage, echoing, even in death, Nutcracker Rouge's insatiable lust for life.

(photo credit: Corey Tatarczuk)

09/23/10 4:00am

Red Over Red
Written by Shannon Sindelar and Ryan Holsopple
Directed by Shannon Sindelar

In 31 Down's latest production, Red Over Red, which ran this summer at the newly renamed Incubator Arts Project (following its divorce from Richard Foreman), the sound underlying the players' actions is so rich and heavy with metaphor and catastrophic hyperbole that it scarcely allows room for the actors to be anything other than accessories to its magnitude. This is not in any way surprising (or detrimental) considering the theatrical resume that 31 Down has so far worked up. Last year's Assember Dilator was, although different in scope, no less jarring in its sonic ambition.

At times in Red Over Red its seems as if the actors are there merely to hold the place on the stage, to fill it up with things to look at—to give the sound something to act upon, or an idea to ground it. The sonic engineer, Ryan Holscopple, who also plays the creepy guy in the airport drinking coffee and eating chips, creates sonic slaws of rich heavy cream bass, treble spice, and sugary buzzing and crashing that can alternately soothe the psyche or send a listener over the edge, screaming from the theater. The production's subject matter, a behind the scenes anatomy of a plane crash and its attendant melodrama, is ready-made for the loud noises and scraping metal which are direct consequences of the crash. But it also involves a more personal look at the doomed souls involved, the indirect consequences—the adrenalin junkies, perverts, and phobics who populate the international airline system and keep us safe (or not) as we travel across the world like moths towards a bug lamp.

The first scenes of the play focus on Holly (played by an adequately mousey Shauna Kelly), a stewardess, who is so deathly afraid of taking off and landing (flying is safer, statistically, than driving a car, right?) that she hides in the bathroom and cries during both maneuvers. Why does she remains at her job in the air instead of finding other employ? Red Over Red poses this initial question delicately and the answer builds slowly over a framework of raw fear and lacking self worth. There is a phone call before a flight, as the voice of Holly's friend Craig intones, annoyed, that Holly needs to stop calling him like this; there are suggestions of impropriety and a love triangle. Effectively cut off from her only source of solace in her increasingly claustrophobic airborne prison, Holly turns to the aging pilot Captain Frank Donna (DJ Mendel) for a different kind of shoring up. Donna's hobby of renewing his membership to the mile high club as often as possible is pathetic in a way, self-serving and cruel, preying on Holly's fears of flying; even while Donna's wife (the ghostly Caitlin McDonough-Thayer) dreams of his fiery death in a screaming mass of melting metal as it smashes into the ocean. No matter how jarring Holsopple makes the soundscape as the plane tears asunder in mid air, flying an airliner is still just a job, and somebody's got to do it.

Red Over Red is full of inventive staging and innovative use of tiny cameras and video projection to create the illusion of imprisonment and claustrophobia in the small space at St. Mark's and though much of the play unfolds in what might be considered a conventional style (save for the sound) there are of course the signature touches of any Ontological-associated experiment. In an early sequence, the lights go up on Donna's wife in a red dress lying on a red carpet fading into darkness at the rear of the stage; the lights flicker and Donna stands behind her beginning to undress, menacing, murderous, angry, the lights flicker, he is closer, horror movie sequencing—the “Look out behind you!” moment—but as Donna draws closer, getting nearly nude, his wife removes a series of long butcher blades from the bag and places them neatly in a row on the ground. One wonders who exactly has the upper hand in their bizarre courtship. Red Over Red is frightening, and the title is meant to invoke fear as well. The mnemonic device a pilot uses to remember the position of his Visual Approach Slope Indicator on a runway includes the phrase, "Red over red, you're dead," intimating to the audience that their chances of making out of this production are slim—statistically speaking.

(photo credit: Sue Kessler)

06/23/10 4:15pm

Free Moviez!!1!

  • Free Moviez!!1!

We just wanted to remind everyone that this summer marks the Fifth Anniversary of our SummerScreen outdoor film series and the final time you will hear from us as we’ll soon be clinically insane, having just come down off the blotter-trip that was the Northside Festival (happening tomorrow people!). Yup, and then after that, it’s SummerScreen.

This year at SummerScreen, while reveling in fluffy David Bowie hair and rising star DiCaprio spouting iambic pentameter, Fandango will also be offering an amazing VIP contest that will give L readers the chance at a metric ton of free stuff. And Keanu Reeves. Also, don’t forget to check the Summer Screen Facebook page for updates and other things that Facebook does.

And in case you’re not at your computer because it’s the summer and nobody actually works, the interns will be along shortly in tan trench coats to play this message verbatim from a boom box outside the bar where you’re drinking.

06/23/10 4:00am

Dandilion and the Amazing Bicycle Powered Cloud Plane
Written by Heather Coffey and Andy Hadaway
Directed by Heather Coffey

On the Tiny Black Hearts theater company's blog, one line stands out: "Donations are more than appreciated and heartily approved of, we are after all, orphans." The sentiment informs the Hearts' latest offering, Dandelion and the Amazing Bicycle Cloud Plane at The Brick as part of the always surprising Too Soon Festival through June 27. Cloud Plane is about the imagination of childhood and the absence of authority, and though the Hearts may not be orphans in the literal sense, they stand alone in other ways, producing theater by themselves without the backing of any larger outfit. In the midst of a generation where post-grads are living at home to save money, and in an art world that necessitates personally bankrolled self-production, the Hearts and Cloud Plane reactivate the idea that to be orphaned shouldn't be a debilitating circumstance and rather, a freeing experience.

The fledgling group, comprised of Heather Coffey (who also directed Cloud Plane) of Austin and Andy Hadaway of Brooklyn, exudes that basic DIY aesthetic that champions the unpolished and playful—which, can either be "so very charming" or "just tolerable" and a bit frustrating, but always ends up strangely engaging. These headier notions however are buried beneath a layer of glee, child speak, and flower power dancing, as well some funny set pieces involving hand written placards. Though Cloud Plane can be a bit obvious and awkward—probably the point—the orphan child in all the cynical culture fiends in the audience can take a little joy from the simplicity and innocence of a couple of kids going on adventures and building pedal-powered airplanes.

Dandelion (played by Nurk Njordsen) and Strawberry (played by Heidi Girard) are brother and sister on a modestly-appointed set-cum-magical landscape consisting of two green wooden bushes. Dandelion is dressed like Tom Sawywer on Bedford Avenue and Strawberry is decked out with rosy cheeks and a white on red polka-dot dress and red high top sneakers. Cloud Plane opens with Dandelion teaching Strawberry how to catch a ball, and the cute comedy of Strawberry trying, failing, blushing, and trying again, giggling throughout. Both actors are the type of bright-eyed and big-smiled twenty-somethings that seem to populate the quirky advertising scene these days and play up, to great effect, the awkwardness of adult bodies trying to imitate the clumsiness of kids.

Things go awry when Strawberry throws the ball too far and, as Dandelion searches for it, Strawberry is lured away by the Pig People, barefoot with strap-on pig noses and wearing grass skirts. Dandelion makes sure we know that the Pig People's hideout, the Sty in the Sky, is the grossest place, like, ever, and that the pig people are definitely nasty—or so he thinks. This supposed kidnapping triggers a reference-heavy montage (lifting weights while reading the Life of Pi; extreme!) in which Dandelion trains hard a la Rocky, builds a fixed gear airplane, and heads off into the wild blue yonder.

Meanwhile Strawberry is having a blast with the Pig People and their kooky salsa dancing, and the audience realizes that, oh, hey, the Pig People aren't so nasty after all. Dandelion shows up and shoots some lighting out of his plane which does nothing but start a bonfire (a box fan on its side blowing up orange tissue paper, which, amazing!) that becomes the focal point of a new dance where everyone is friends and happy and together again. The topical message is simple and direct: Pre-conceived notions suck, acquire empirical evidence. But the theme of being on the fringe and the carte blanche that comes with outsider status runs deeper and with all the super serious theater happening all around us, I was tangentially reminded of a scenario not unlike like the exile of Philip Guston when he started drawing cartoons instead of stuffy abstract art. Perhaps the Hearts, Cloud Plane and their empowering orphanhood—happy on the fringe with no expectations—is just what the doctor ordered when it comes to finding the bright side of art in these (sort of) dark times.

(photo credit: Heather Coffey)

06/03/10 4:00am

The Bushwhack Series, which recently concluded a two week run at the Bushwick Starr, is one of those rare instances where the producers of the series truly aren't sure what they are going to end up with when rehearsals begin, or even on opening night. The annual series, which showcases both new and tried talent throughout the Bushwick area, features an eclectic mixture of styles and mediums, ranging from sci-fi theater noir to campy dance numbers, and though all share common threads of exploration and challenge, there truly is no binding element. But this isn't something that holds the series back. Rather, it catapults things forward as each new piece provides a different set of challenges for the audience to mull over and conquer. Some pieces get bogged down by over-complication as the ideas they explore overpower the performance and become too big for the tight stage. But for the most part the evening stays true to its grass-roots and never tries to be anything that it's not. It's an opportunity for young artists to showcase works that are near to their hearts, and as always at the Starr, the passion shows.

Undoubtedly, the highlights of the night are the puppet MC, and b-boy, hip-hop-influenced dance choreogrphy in two acts. Amidst all the text, the simple joy of motion is the shining star. The MC in question is a giant puppet squid who opens the night in a rambling philosophical greeting to the audience—a dare almost, to try and understand what they might see. Needless to say, the audience is rapt, more so than in the following pieces, and there's a sense of palpable anticipation during this rap. The sight of a talking five-feet-tall pink squid holding a couple cans of Bud (a squid can out-fist us by 6 cans of beer, remember) about 12 feet above the ground in a makeshift fish tank just to the right of the tech booth at the Starr is spectacular.

As the night progresses the squid becomes increasingly inebriated, his musings growing more haphazard and unintelligible, until he breaks into a rolling blues-influenced dirge about his baby. Reggie Watts, known across the US and much of Europe for his bizarre set pieces and comedic influence in mainstream television (he's done work for HBO and The Yes Men), who voices the squid, evokes a smooth-talking hep cat from the Fitzgerald era while Matt Brooks's puppetry is seamless. There's a certain camaraderie between audience and cephalopod as philosophical musing gives way to the urge to just tip back your beer and boogie.

Though none of the audience got up and boogied, the rest of the night save one or two pieces has a distinctly movement-oriented feel. The first piece after meeting the squid, NMQP, mixes elegant ballet and complicated b-boy stalls and holds. Set the to the music of Nina Simone and performed and choreographed by Ephrat Asherie, this one woman combination of styles uses the entire stage and a lot of air space. The elegant beauty of the balletic and jazz-inspired combinations contrasts pleasantly with the technical and impossible feats of strength associated with the b-boy styles incorporated. Asherie also choreographed and danced in A House is Not A Home, an allegory for what might happen in the down time at a brothel set to a rolling and poignant night club beat—the stage virtually shakes with the force and passion of the staccato dance movements. The standouts are Asherie and Big Tara, a 6-and-a-half-foot-tall black man who could have been a linebacker for the Eagles but instead performs dressed in a black lace flapper dress replete with pearls and tiara. The movements are ambitious and taken in rounds, much like a breaking cypher, but assuredly with roots in in Vogueing and what is less commonly known as Whacking (whether acknowledged or not, though given Asherie's resume, I'm sure it's intentional).

Mnemonic 1.0 was wholly conceived and performed by Chloe Bass in the span of the rehearsal time, with emphasis on the fact that no work was done on the piece outside the walls of 207 Starr Street. The performance piece moves a bit slowly and explores memory in both the simplest and most complicated of terms, a voyage into the question of questions: "Why are we here?" Though the ideas are all there, and nicely packaged, it's hard to see the whole framework come to any sort of fruition that's not just a self-indulgent reason to hang memories on a clothes line representing a tired metaphor for how we view our lives. What stands out, however, is that the Starr ran with this piece, though it seems a little rough, along with the preceding polished dance numbers, proving once again the invaluable nature of this ever-evolving (and gentrifying) community where venues are sparse. And of course that's the beauty of a totally no-holds-barred festival like the Bushwhack Series—you truly are heading into the bush and cutting a trail through dense theatrical overgrowth with a critical machete, unsure whether what you discover will be the next big thing, or if you will even uncover anything at all.

05/12/10 5:00am


100 Frost Street, Brooklyn, 718.389.2982

Alcohol is the only thing we’d still be sure of in a post-zombiepocalypse society. Head over to Brooklyn Kitchen for your own brew kit as well as the know-how to make it work. And when the Arizona Police-State-model is adopted by the chimpanzee government in Albany, you can watch the trouble unfold safely from your bed, drunk. May 26, 6:30pm, $125

Even when it’s safe to walk the streets again, as long as you’re carrying your papers, it won’t be a good idea—you have a beard, dude. You’ll need to horde the kind of food that keeps forever. Pickles are sort of like that, as well as sort of nutritious, easy to make and delicious. This class will be taught by Bob McClure of McClure’s Pickles (like if Original Ray taught pizzamaking). May 24, 6:30pm, $40

To butcher a pig, you must first smuggle it into your bathtub (there has to be a drain, for your vomit). If you can get that far, this class will take it from there. Hosted by the fine murderers people of the Meat Hook, this class will not be hands-on (thank, um, god?), but there will be time for questions. Like, why are you butchering pigs? 
May 18, 6:30pm, $80

If not zombies, what will you eat when the zombiepocalypse arrives? This class on Rooftop Gardening will teach you to produce non-mutated food to keep you alive so you can keep tormenting yourself with thoughts of suicide. Just imagine if those attractive young people in that zombie movie had just stayed on the mall roof and made a self-sustaining garden? They’d still be there, craving protein. May 27, 6:30pm, $30

04/21/10 11:13am

america i love you

  • The Fat Soldier Svejk

As some of you may know, Jamie Oliver’s latest TV show, Food Revolution follows the intrepid Limey chef’s crusade to bring healthy eating options to the (statistically) most unhealthy town in America: Huntington, West Virginia.

Oliver’s first target is the the atrocious pre-fab mystery cafeteria school lunch and he soon discovers, to his dismay, that French fries are considered a vegetable by our government, students are not allowed to use utensils for fear of injury, and that a lot of kids do not know what a tomato is (seriously). To be fair, money is an issue for Huntington, and eating healthy can get pricey, but the resistance Oliver encounters is really kind of scary. But maybe he needs to appeal to something more than mere self-preservation; maybe he needs to appeal to the citizens of Huntington’s patriotism.

As reported by the AP yesterday, a group of retired army officers (“Mission: Readiness”) has taken up the same cause as Mr. Oliver but for wholly different reasons, as detailed in their manifesto, “Too Fat To Fight”—namely, the continuing strength of our military and our continued efforts at world domination. In a nutshell: Fat kids can’t pass the physical exam to get into the Army; a quarter of the population of kids is fat; ipso facto a quarter of the population of kids couldn’t possibly hack it in the army (which decreases our chances of taking over Canada by exactly 25%). The group has garnered the support of a few politicians and has even appeared before the Senate; a feat that Oliver hasn’t even come close to using just plain healthy living as his cause.

Per the AP:

“When over a quarter of young adults are too fat to fight, we need to take notice,” Barnett said. He noted that national security in the year 2030 is “absolutely dependent” on reversing child obesity rates.

If this whole “we need healthy kids to die for us” approach works, maybe this same tactic might help sell the health care bill to more Americans, because if kids can’t get medical attention, how can they be healthy enough to die for their country in the desert somewhere?