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The Advice Goddess July 2019
Monday, 01 July 2019 23:12

Baptism by liar

Syndicated Columnist

I was talking with this guy whom I’ve known for over six years who lives a plane ride away. It was late at night on a weekend, and he was saying all this mushy sexy stuff and how he wanted to fly me out to his city, blah, blah, blah. Afterward, he never called or texted again. It’s been weeks now. He’s done this before -- come on really hot and heavy and then disappeared. And he doesn’t drink or do drugs, so that isn’t an explanation. Why do men do this?

— Feeling Dumb For Believing... Again


Well, on the upside, he isn’t afraid to express his feelings. On the downside, if you’re like many women, you prefer your relationships long-form — more Nicholas Sparks’ “The Notebook” than 3M’s “The Post-it Note.”

 You aren’t the only one on these calls who buys into everything the guy says he has in store for you (and no, I’m not suggesting there’s an FBI agent listening in from a “cable company” van). While this guy is on the phone with you, chances are he believes what he’s telling you — which is to say, deception has a brother, and it’s self-deception.

 Evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers defines self-deception as “the active misrepresentation of reality to the conscious mind.” As for how the self can end up being “both the deceiver and the deceived,” Trivers and fellow evolutionary researcher William von Hippel explain that our mind seems to have “information-processing biases” that “favor welcome over unwelcome information” in a way that reflects our goals. (Think rose-colored horse blinders.)

Trivers and von Hippel note that believing our own hooey helps us sell it to other people: If you aren’t conscious that you’re lying, you won’t be burdened by the mental costs of maintaining “two separate representations of reality” or show physical signs of nervousness at possibly getting caught, such as a higher-pitched voice.

 Understanding all of this, you should probably go easy on yourself for being a bit of a slow learner on the “fool me twice” thing. If this guy was also putting one over on himself in these phone conversations, that probably made it much more believable to you. 

Mark him as emotionally toxic and come up with a plan in case he calls again. 

Options include blocking his number, not picking up, or figuring out how to control the conversation if he veers off into Sweetnothingsville. 

On a positive note, it does seem he’s accidentally telling the truth in one area: You do seem to be the woman of his dreams —  as you always vanish from his consciousness as soon as he wakes up.

(c.) 2019, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA  90405, or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ( Weekly radio show:

Monday, 01 July 2019 23:06

With A-plus musical score, play masterfully shows ‘you’ve got to be taught’ racism, cultural bias

“Most people live on a lonely island,
Lost in the middle of a foggy sea.
Most people long for another island,
One where they know they will like to be.....”
 — From the song “Bali Ha’i” by Rodgers & Hammerstein 


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FLAT ROCK — The Flat Rock Playhouse production of “South Pacific,” which runs through July 6, provides an exhilarating musical and visual experience that is not to be missed.

From this reviewer’s perspective, the show performed on June 15 was one of the best productions that the FRP — North Carolina’s legislatively designated “state theatre” — has staged in the last 15 years or so, since the Daily Planet was launched.

The acting, the singing, the choreography, the costumes and the sets were top-notch.

Alas, the air conditioning was cranked up in the theater on the night of this review to such a frigid level that a companion and others around us scrambled for jackets and sweaters at the intermission. 

One might only guess that the FRP was trying to keep its hard-working performers cool during the high-intensity show....

The only other criticism was the lack of live music to accompany the stellar singers. Instead, recorded music was used. 

It is likely the addition of a paid orchestra or band, even a relatively small one, might have put the show in the red, financially. But a live band would have given this otherwise smashing show the ultimate stamp of authenticity.

As always with “South Paciufic,” arguably the greatest-ever musical with more songs than any other to be adopted permanently in the American songbook (and this reviewer’s personal favorite, just barely edging out “Singin’ in the Rain”), the show is worth atttending, if for no other reason than to hear the lush deep baritone operatic vocals by Andrew O’Shanick, who plays the co-lead role of well-read and culturally sophisticated French planter Emile De Becque.

He becomes inescapably romantically entwined with lovable-but-rough-around-the-edges nurse Nellie Forbush (Sara Stevens, in the co-lead role), who initially is saddled with small-town prejudices, but is amazed to find those from other lands and different from her (racially and/or cutlurally) to be  interesting and charming.  As such, Nellie grows ever more tolerant and, hence, lovable, as a character. 

What’s more, Stevens, brimming with vitality and talent, sparkles in her role, too.

Based on James Michener’s 1948 Pulitzer Prize-winning book “Tales of the South Pacific,” which is a collection of sequentially related short stories about the Pacific campaign in World War II. The truths it reveals are truly timeless — and worth reviewing about 70 years later.

“South Pacific,” first produced on Broadway in 1949, with songs by composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist-dramatist Oscar Hammerstein, tells the story of two couples on an island in the South Pacific during World War II. 

A young American nurse falls in love with a middle-aged expatriate French plantation owner, while a U.S. lieutenant and young Tonkinese woman spark a new romance.

In an event promotion, the FRP said of the show’s plot, “Both relationships must overcome the insecurities and fears of possible social consequences, should these diverse couples marry. Their struggles are heightened by the ongoing war that brought them together and may tear them apart forever. A vibrant community ensemble of fellow nurses, soldiers, children, and locals weave these romances together.”

Upon its premier, “South Pacific” became an immediate success. The production won 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1950. 

What’s more, “South Pacific” came in second to Rodgers’ and Hammerstein’s other huge hit, “Oklahoma!” for the longest running production at that point. Following a 2008 revival, the show won seven Tony Awards and was nominated in an additional four categories. 

Besides “South Pacific” and “Oklahoma!” Rodgers and Hammerstein also created smash Broadway hits such as “Carousel,” “The Sound of Music,”  “The King and I,” “State Fair” and “A Grand Night for Singing,” to name a few.

Interestingly, this production’s artistic director, Lisa Bryant, came full circle with the show, inasmuch as she acted in the lead role of Nellie in the FRP’s 2002 production of “South Pacific,” and now she is directing it.

Popular hits from “South Pacific” include “Bal’i Ha’i,” “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair,” “Some Enchanted Evening” and “There Is Nothing Like a Dame.”

Besides the excellent work by the director, others making significant behind-the-curtain contributions to the show were Matthew Glover, who served as choreographer; Maddie Franke as dance captain; and Briana Stone as assistant dance captains. 

For perhaps the greatest musical of all-time, Alex Shields delivered as this production’s music director. Also, providing exceptional contributions as scenic, lighting, costume, sound and projection design, respectively, were Dennis C. Maulden, CJ Barnwell, Ashli Arnold Crump, David Gerena, and Patrick W. Lord. In addition, Cassidy Bowles excelled with design of the properties.

“South Pacific,” which runs through July 6, is performed at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, at 8 p.m. Fridays, at 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays at 2 p.m. Sundays

The FRP’s next productions are “Separate Beds,” July 11-20; and the Elvis-themed musical “All Shook Up,” July 26-Aug.18.



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