Monday, December 29, 2008

On Peace

With today's headlines from the Middle East, it seems odd for a post on peace. But peace has settled upon me and I am trying to welcome it into my life.

I've spent much of 2008 picking up the pieces of my heart and mind while recovering from the divorce. I could write at length about the drunken, sobbing nights I endured this year, but those don't much interest me now. Toward the end of the winter and the beginning of Spring, I began to feel better. I've written about this turn of the road before, but some elaboration is in order.

My therapist recommended that I construct a timeline of my marriage. Major events, changes in mood or circumstance, things that may seem minor and/or important. I approached this assignment with a fair amount of dread, because who wants to see their failed marriage arranged on a spreadsheet or a table? But I decided to attack this as another Technical Writing project: document what happened in order to produce a better Test Case for future releases. So I began the task. Took me about two months to complete, but by the time I was done I did see some patterns of behavior. Patterns that during the marriage I considered essential to its survival. Patterns that I have exhibited my whole life.

I sat on these discoveries for a while, not knowing what to do with them. Typical guy thing to do, I guess: ignore the problem and it will go away! I wrote in my journal without reviewing its contents as I went along (a former habit of mine). I also used the VoiceNotes program on my iPhone to record my thoughts and feelings, mostly while porching ("Porch Thoughts"). And after a while the problem revealed itself. The best way to sum it up is in a maxim I have often said to people over the years: "If you can't take care of yourself, then how can you take care of another?"

The cruise was a wonderful kickoff to my latest project: Taking Care of My Emotional Life. Making small changes, asking myself if this choice or that one will be beneficial to me as well as to another, for example, has done wonders. And all during the hectic production process at work I felt calm and centered. Unlike last year when I was at wits end, spending 12+ hours at work because I loathed returning to my new home to be alone with my demons.

This Holiday Season has been one of the best I've ever had. My family has been a real source of strength and I wept when we exchanged gifts, saying that they had already give me the best gift of all: their love. I had Dad, Sister, and her dog over for dinner last night, and we all had a wonderful time chatting and marveling in the sixty-degree weather! We sat on the porch before dinner and reveled in it.

So, this peace. I like it. I'm still working hard at welcoming it into my life, and I still have much work on myself to do. But I feel that I've been given a headlamp while still spelunking my mental caverns. I can find my way out of this; I believe this now.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

On Singing in Public

Last night I attended a holiday party and met a whole bunch of new people. Always a good thing. A group of them left early to go to a piano bar and asked if I wanted to tag along. I brought some cigars to share with my host so I told them I would meet them up later.

After leaving the party, and then going home to put on a sweater because the air was getting chilly, I made my way to National Harbor. This is the brand new hotel/convention center/outdoor mall complex just over the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Maryland. Only took about 20 minutes to get there from my house and I found the place with no problem.

I call one of the folks to find out the name of the piano bar. "Bobby McKey's," she said.

It's not a typical piano bar. It's what would happen if a dueling piano bar were dropped into the middle of a frat party. And people don't get up to sing while the pianists provide backup, rather, the performers encourage the crowd to sing, clap, chant, and make all manner of ruckus while they belt out a bunch of very different tunes.

On the plus side, all of the musicians were pretty good. Nice piano technique and serviceable voices. Even their canned jokes didn't feel quite so canned. They all knew how to read a crowd, and this was a raucous one. So they got appropriately raunchy when they needed to be and then clever to amuse themselves.

All in all, I had a nice time even though my voice paid the price for howling along with the rest of the crowd. But as I drove home, I felt a longing for a real piano bar. And then I remembered the one that my friend TRP took me too many years ago when I was visiting Seattle

I usually prefer new takes on old forms, but in this case I'll make an exception.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Different Kind of Holiday Show

Over the weekend, I attended a production of "The Last Days of Judas Iscariot". I thought it was one of the most moving and sensitive portraits of Christianity I've ever seen. That title was previously held by "The Last Temptation of Christ" (book and movie), but this moved me even more.

The play consists of a trial for Judas Iscariot held in Purgatory. There are witnesses arrayed for and against, and while Judas spends most of his the play in a semi-catatonic state, he remains central and vital to what is going on around him. The question before us is simple: Can we forgive Judas? Should Judas be forgiven at all?

Not surprisingly, I found that I could forgive him. But not because of my feelings about organized religion, but because I understood why he made that choice. I won't tell you the reason, because that may spoil the play for you and I do encourage you to see a production if you get the chance.

But for now, during this season of peace and reflection and forgiveness, I choose to think not of the Light of the World, but of the man who effectively snuffed it out. Sometimes cursing the darkness is the only choice you think you have.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Pastor Rick Warren

Speaking as one of those non-religious types, I have to ask a question: Why do we need a religious figure to be included in the Inauguration of the President of the United States? I don't care about Rick Warren. He doesn't speak for me -- but then again, the Reverend Barry Lynn doesn't speak for me either (at least from a religious standpoint).

But if I were the leader of the LGBT band from San Francisco that is scheduled to perform in the Inaugural Parade, I might be tempted to inform Obama that they might be busy that day. You know, for a parade in South Dakota, perhaps.

I do think that Obama's response is pretty good, FWIW:

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

On Thrown Shoes

This may get me kicked out of the super-secret-commie-pinko-bleeding-heart-liberal-elitist club, but I didn't find the shoe-throwing incident funny. In fact, I found it rather sad. Sad for our country, sad for Iraq, sad for the troubled journalist, and sad for the President. Maybe I'm still feeling a bit melancholy over the death of a friend but I couldn't enjoy any schadenfreude from it at all.

Truth is, I just want GWB to go away. I don't want to waste any energy (emotional or otherwise) on him. That's not to say I don't want every single one of his crimes investigated to the fullest extent possible. But that's for the incoming administration to deal with. For now, we have to deal with this sad little man who doesn't seem to understand the enormity of the insult that those shoes represent. Either that, or he just doesn't care.

And that may be the saddest thing of all.


OK, this may be the saddest thing of all:

Monday, December 15, 2008

Inferno and Paradiso

Funny how two weeks ago today I was lying on a beach in the Dominican Republic, soaking up some Vitamin D and listening to the latest Stephen King short story collection on my iPhone. Today I plunged deep into the document production process for our upcoming release. Only 150 docs or so to deal with. It'll be fine. Really.

Also funny how remembering how the powdery sand felt between my toes helped today go by a bit faster...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Post Mortem

So much has happened.

A vacation that was 15 years in the making.

A peace that is slowly settling upon me.

The death of a dear friend.

Updates to follow. I am needing this forum once again...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


"In the unlikely story that is America there has never been anything false about hope." -- Senator Barack Obama

The first time I heard Senator Obama utter that line, I wept. I wept for many reasons: the state of my beloved country, the state of our political discourse, even the state of my own beloved Commonwealth. But the main reason I wept was for myself.

Because when I first heard that line, I was hopeless.

The divorce was bearing down on me like a runaway semi with no brakes. I had made some costly mistakes at work and what was once a refuge from the turmoil in my life had become an uncomfortable place to be. I drank too much. I felt overwhelmed by everyone and everything.

And then I heard that line.

I know this sounds corny as hell, but I'll swear on any book you want me to swear on that this was the moment that the clouds began to part for me. Just a little bit. It took weeks of trying to believe those words and then to commit them to action in my own life.

And now, life is so different.

The divorce is in my rear view mirror, no longer a dominant presence in my life. Yes, it has informed who I am now, but I have not let it define me. Work is better. My social life has improved. I've even lost almost ten pounds on Weight Watchers in the last month.

But all of those things would have been impossible without believing in the audacity of hope.

I proudly cast my ballot today for Senator Obama for many reasons. But the biggest one is the hope that his words gave me. They are a gift that I will always be thankful for.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Ex- and Empty

So, it is done.

The waiting is over.

The papers have been signed.

The money has been deposited.

How do I feel?


But it's a good kind of empty feeling. I feel like a piece of freshly turned out pottery, awaiting its time to be filled.

And now two interesting linguistic matters have materialized: the use of the pronoun "we" is going to be employed less and the use of the prefix "ex-" is going to become more prevalent. I'm sure that the last thing most recently divorced folks think about is their use of language when it comes to referencing their former and current daily lives. But, as an actor and a writer my thoughts naturally fall to such things.

So now I must ready myself for the next big thing: the rest of my life.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

032401 -- 070908


Ever since I learned the court date for our divorce hearing, I haven't been able to get these lines from "Hamlet" out of my head:

If your mind dislike any thing, obey it: I will
forestall their repair hither, and say you are not

Not a whit, we defy augury: there's a special
providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now,
'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be
now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the
readiness is all: since no man has aught of what he
leaves, what is't to leave betimes?

Like Hamlet, I thought I was ready to face the end. And, like Hamlet, I find myself in a state of eerie tranquility about my lack of preparation to face the end. Despite all my confident reassurances to family, friends, and myself, I find myself both terrified and relieved by the prospect of tomorrow.

True, I'm not going to die tomorrow. And my feelings for my soon-to-be-ex-wife won't change. But I will feel different by the time the day is over. Change is difficult, isn't it? And sometimes painful.

I want to thank all of you for your support, your love, and your good wishes. I will carry them with me tomorrow and all the days to come.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Monday, May 19, 2008

"King Lear" Post Mortem

"The King is dead; long live the King."

A three-week, nine-show run is hardly enough time to adequately explore the vast yet intimate universe that "King Lear" inhabits. I'm not sure that I'm qualified to make such an exploration. All I can do, with your indulgence, is to offer a few insights into what made my journey through this play one of the more challenging experiences in my theatrical career.

First, a few observations about the production itself. Like most community theater, the technical production was hit-or-miss. The lighting was effective, the sound design engaging and evocative, the costuming adequate. (We all made jokes about the "smocks" all the men were wearing; it was like we were back in pre-school on the way to finger painting.) The group, Cedar Lane Stage, is affiliated with the Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church. That means we performed in the main sanctuary of the church: a large box with two of its walls composed of glass panels, some of them tinted. As a result, we never fully went to blackout, which made scene changes difficult. The space also has poor acoustical traits; it's very difficult to find your voice in there. I didn't even bother warming up in the space because it sounded different when the space was empty than it did with audience present.

The direction and cast were very strong. But I wasn't very worried about that going into rehearsals: Shakespeare tends to bring out very talented people. I happened into this show in an unusual way: by email. The director sent me a message 4 days after I finished "An Experiment With an Air Pump" and offered me the role of Gloucester. I took a day and a half to think about it, and when I learned that a few of my friends were in the cast (all of them very talented folk) so that sealed my decision to join the cast.

At the outset, I was a bit concerned that I wasn't old enough to play Gloucester. Being 40 is one thing, but when one of the actors playing your son is four months older than you, steps must be taken. So the director encouraged me to grow a beard. It helped a bit, a bit more when it was whitened, but I never got the sense that my "look" was convincing. As a friend who came to see the show said: "You're too young to play Gloucester; the good news is you get to try again!" Maybe in a decade or so...

Of course the divorce hung over me in this production. There were too many parallels between Gloucester's journey through the play and my own journey at the moment. The only difference between G and me is that his abuse is mainly physical while mine is mainly mental. But, surprisingly I found, they were both rooted in the same emotion: shame. Gloucester's shame is three-fold: he's failed his king/country by not preventing Lear from falling into the arrogant trap he sets for himself, he's failed his legitimate son by sending him fleeing into the wilderness for his life, and he's failed his bastard son by treating him so terribly that his son betrays him. All of these failures become tangled in Gloucester's mind and vex him terribly; his torture at the end of Act 3 seems almost trivial were it not for the blood. Strangely, when I played the subsequent scenes I didn't feel that Gloucester hated Edmund; he failed him. If Gloucester had only shown him a bit more attention and a bit more love, perhaps all of this could have been avoided.

I don't think I need to tell you how many nights I have had those same thoughts about the breakup of my marriage. Hey, at least I didn't get my eyes removed!

There's really only one thing left to discuss and that is Act 4, scene 6, when Gloucester and Lear are reunited. It was an emotionally draining scene, one that was difficult to get into until we stumbled upon something remarkable during rehearsal. Lou Pangaro, the actor playing Lear and a dear friend, decided to wear a pair of boots to rehearsal one night for this scene. During the scene, Lear and Gloucester joke around with each other, allowing the audience to glimpse what their relationship must have been like long ago. And then the madness takes hold of Lear again:


... Get thee glass eyes;
And like a scurvy politician, seem
To see the things thou dost not. Now, now, now, now:
Pull off my boots: harder, harder: so.


O, matter and impertinency mix'd! Reason in madness!


If thou wilt weep my fortunes, take my eyes.
I know thee well enough; thy name is Gloucester:
Thou must be patient; we came crying hither:
Thou know'st, the first time that we smell the air,
We wawl and cry.

During one rehearsal, Lou pulled me down to the ground on his line "Now, now, now, now: Pull off my boots: harder, harder: so." He caught me completely by surprise, but I got down on my knees and groped around for his feet. I caught one of the boots and pulled -- and it came off in my hands, empty. That simple act triggered such a physical and emotional response that I bawled for twenty minutes. There, in Gloucester's hands, was the perfect metaphor for all that he had gone through. And when Lear said "Thou must be patient", I cried even harder. Because Gloucester has had enough of patience! He's spent this act trying to kill himself and he can't even do that right! At the end of this scene he wishes to be insane just like his master:


The king is mad: how stiff is my vile sense,
That I stand up, and have ingenious feeling
Of my huge sorrows! Better I were distract:
So should my thoughts be sever'd from my griefs,
And woes by wrong imaginations lose
The knowledge of themselves.

But his lot is that he gets to feel everything that happens to him, and understand it all. Lear, by comparison, almost gets off Scot free. Lear's choices lead him to insanity, while Gloucester's lead to clarity.

The show ended last Sunday, and it took me until Thursday to get back to any semblance of normal. I'm taking some time off theater for a while, I think I've given my all for the moment. ;-)

For a more prosaic account of the show, I refer to you David Gorsline's excellent post here.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Six Degrees

I blame Alison for this. And, by extension, Swankette. Very cunning, those two. They remind me of a couple of daughters in a certain play...

  1. I do get stage fright. Very intense stage fright just as the lights go down and I get ready to enter. Once I cross the threshold, I'm fine. Very akin to the feeling of jumping out of perfectly good airplanes.
  2. I have an intense phobia of anything cold-blooded. How intense? I almost killed a friend's gecko that was left in the care of one of my college suite mates without my knowledge. Keep in mind that this poor little thing was safely ensconced in a container.
  3. Barry Manilow is the reason I started singing.
  4. I have not visited my Mom's grave.
  5. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, I'll pick the cover over the original.
  6. I almost always think I can do a better job at directing the show I'm in than the Director. That's the hardest thing for me about being an actor: knowing my place.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bloody, Exhausted, Bitter, and Elated

Been a while. (I keep saying that.)

Tech week for "King Lear" is here. I've had my eyes yanked out three or four times. Walking around backstage with a stage blood-smeared face is an interesting experience.

We have signed our divorce agreement. I'll get a summons and then go to court. And then all the waiting will be over.

Dad continues to mend. He attended a Yale class luncheon and reconnected with people he hasn't seen in a long time. He is responding well to Spring and so am I. My allergies aren't nearly the bother they have been in the past.

We're still in Iraq. That makes me bitter. But I'm glad that one of my fave singer/songwriters, Mike Doughty, knows what to do with this bitterness: write a little ditty called "Fort Hood". It's off his latest album, Golden Delicious, and here's a little video he shot for it. Please enjoy it. Its infectious spirit has elated me.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The New Hotness

I"m slowly getting used to all the iMac hotness... behold my first post using the Blogger widget!

Now I can post more easily... if I can get used to this tiny wireless keyboard!

Monday, February 18, 2008

I've Joined a Cult

The cult of Jobs....

My the Gods have mercy on the Apple support line... because I'm going to use my AppleCare for all it's worth!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Second Night: Recap

My apologies for the tardiness of this update. Not much to report on the second night. We finished reading the play and it didn't strike me as long as I remembered. Lear's long-winded-ness doesn't kick in until Act 4 or so, and my wanderings on the heath are as interesting than the King's. I haven't reviewed the text to bear this out, but I'm not sure what happens to Gloucester. Edgar leaves him under a tree and then takes him away to safety somewhere else. It's hard to imagine what safety he could offer Gloucester while the army of France is being routed by the English forces.

Two thoughts scribbled in my notes from the second night:

  • "Edg can take care of himself?"
  • "Edm needed protection... but at a distance"
There's the rub, I think. Despite all his pretences to the contrary, I believe that Gloucester treats his sons very differently, and the mistakes he made with Edmund go back for years. Edgar was always the capable one, or so Gloucester thought. Edmund was the "son" that needed looking after. What if the reverse is true? It's quite clear that Edmund knows how to handle himself both with word and with sword. Edgar is completely taken in by his brother's ruse. How capable is he, really?

And what mistakes did Gloucester make with Edgar?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

First Night: Recap

Tonight began like any other show I've ever done: introductions, administrivia, scheduling (lots and lots of scheduling -- and it still isn't done yet!) and then a bit of reading. A few observations:
  • Short rehearsals: our evenings will be relatively short, beginning at 7:15 and ending two to two and a half hours later. The Director said that his page limit on Shakespeare is about 10 pages. I'm of mixed mind about this: on the one hand I won't be as exhausted on a day-in day-out basis, but I really like to work in larger blocks of text. Then again, I'm not directing this production, so I guess I should just be grateful, eh?
  • Thrust staging: the fact that I have directed in this space should serve me well. Our playing space will be bounded on three sides by audience and we'll have six entrances. Six! I'm going to make sure I have a map with me at all times so I can keep my comings and goings straight.
  • Aging: the Director asked me how I wanted to handle Gloucester's age. I asked him how he'd like me to handle it. He suggested a beard. I've never had a beard before. The last time I grew facial hair of any sort it came in on the reddish-brown side. That was over ten years ago, so I'm willing to give it another try. Any suggestions from the hirsute among you (ahem, Joe) will be greatly appreciated.
  • Blood: and yes, there will be lots of it!

I've Been Cast! Now What?

OK, so I've been cast in this great show. The first rehearsal is about 18 hours from now. So what am I doing to prepare?


That's right, nothing. There's no point in reading the text (and besides, it seems to be packed away somewhere and I can't locate it!) because the Director has probably made a few cuts and changes. It wouldn't resemble the original text. Now I did skim it online during lunch on Thursday, mainly to see how many scenes Gloucester has and where they are positioned in the play. Shakespeare has front-loaded this role in the first three acts. After he is blinded, he appears in a few really choice scenes but he's not onstage all the time. Which is a relief, actually. I can plan how to husband my physical resources during the performance with some actual breaks.

So now I wait to see what the Director has in store for the production.

I can't wait!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

A Rededication

I've spent the last six months feeling sorry for myself. It cost me, that feeling. It cost me the trust of my boss. It cost me some sobriety. It cost me some anger, rage and fear. Lots and lots of fear. Fear of never being good enough for anyone ever again. Fear of losing my Voice. Fear of pushing my friends away.

So. This feeling, then. It sucks.

I'm sick of it.

(Notice I didn't say I'm through with it. I'm not. But at last I see a glimmer of light at the end of this tunnel.)

I'm slowly making some changes. I've said that before, yes. But this time I think if I don't change my life I may end up being afraid all the time. I can't abide that.

So. Changes, then. What sort?

Starting here, I'm going to shift the focus of this space. The subtitle mentions politics and theater. I've written much on the former and precious little about the latter. I'm going to execute a flip-flop and devote this space to my experiences with my next show, "King Lear". I'm playing the part of Gloucester, and I'm going to use this space to let you inside my process. What goes on in my head and my body as I prepare to play this great part. It's long been one of my favorites and I only hope that I can do it justice. Some of my dearest friends are in this production, so I will be working in a comfortable place. It is my hope that I can stretch myself within this "comfort zone". I hope you will find it entertaining.

As for the other changes, well, they're mine for now. I may inform you of them later. I may not. Time will tell.

As dire as the opening of this post sounds, please don't worry about me. I'm feeling better than I have in months. For the first time in my life I am anxiously awaiting the return of Spring. I used to hide from it, trapped in a fog of antihistamines and flop sweat. I'm tired of hiding from my life.

Time to make an entrance!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Saint John McCain

TRP has an excellent post explaining why he may support John McCain if he earns the GOP nomination. Allow me to present a counterpoint: why I used to support McCain and why I can no longer do so.

Let me take you back to 2000 and allow me to make a confession: I wasn't all that thrilled with Al Gore. I thought that his rejection of Clinton's offer to campaign for him was a petty move (not to mention tactically stupid). And, let's face it, this was the Al Gore before "An Inconvenient Truth": kinda bland, kinda nerdy (and not in a good way), and kinda entitled. He seemed to me to be approaching the campaign as if he had earned the presidency because he put up with Bill Clinton's shenanigans for 8 years. Perhaps my malaise was caused by other life events (my Mom dying of cancer, me engaged and undergoing a major career change), perhaps not. I was still prepared to vote for Al Gore come November (and did end up doing so) but I was keeping my eyes open for another option.

So along comes Senator John McCain. I had never heard of him before and was intrigued by this former Naval Aviator and POW. "Straight Talk Express"? Calling out the fundie freaks as "agents of intolerance"? Talking economic populism? And a Republican to boot? Wow, I was impressed. I disagreed with him a more than a few things, but I learned a long time ago that you are never going to find a candidate that matches you perfectly. I monitored his progress with great interest.

And then came the South Carolina push polling: "... the "pollsters" asked McCain supporters if they would be more or less likely to vote for McCain if they knew he had fathered an illegitimate child who was black." (McCain adopted a child from Indonesia.) I was incensed. I understood (and still understand) that politics can be a blood sport, but going after a candidate's family is really beyond the pale. I was anticipating a heavy response from McCain; I even had one crafted in my head:

"The people who are responsible for these phone calls are cowards. They are too scared to come after me so they come after my family instead. I am calling them out for the sniveling cowards that they are; I am asking the good people of the Palmetto State to prove these cowards wrong. The United States of America is not a country of cowards -- it is a country of heroes! Heroes like the people of the great state of South Carolina!"

But that stirring response never came. Bush won South Carolina and went on to secure the nomination and the election (with a dubious assist from the Supreme Court).

Over four years later, I saw this picture:

This was taken at a Bush campaign rally. McCain hugging Bush. Disgusting.

I apologize for the language I'm about to use but I can find no other words that adequately express how I feel: John McCain is a pussy.

Anyone who embraces someone whose agents have attacked their family is not much of a man, in my opinion. Gone was the "Straight Talk Express" and in its place was "Politics as Usual". To me, McCain can no longer claim the "Straight Talk" mandate ever again.

My Christian friends will remind me that it is better to turn the other cheek. And while I agree with that sentiment, there are limits to any virtue and attacking you through your family is one of those limits for me.

I'm also certain that there is much more to the story than what I have observed. But I don't care. McCain has proven himself to be nothing more than an average conservative politician. He'll probably get the nomination this time because the other GOP candidates are too freaky for a mass audience. John McCain is just another man who wants to be president, and a lesser man at that.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Religion and Politics

My friend TRP has an interesting post up about playing campaign manager for Obama. As a political junkie, I think his idea is brilliant and should be implemented immediately.

As a non-religious American I only have one thought: "Ewwwww. Gross."

Seriously, can we just cut this crap? Let me put this as plainly as I can: I don't give a Flying Spaghetti Monster about your religious preferences. I think it's rude to parade your religion in public like that.

Think I'm a bit hyper-sensitive? OK, imagine if TRP's fictional statement reads like this:

"We have a long, spirited campaign ahead of us. I'd like to lead it off by inviting Governor Huckabee to join me [in a 3-way with my Wife]. He can ["cum" up here and do it] in Chicago, or else I'd be honored to [do him and his Wife in] Arkansas if he'd like. No cameras, no press there...just my family and his [getting it on all night long with various toys, lubes, and restraints -- if that's what he prefers], starting off the campaign by thinking about one thing we share in spite of all our differences: our [strap-ons]."
See? Icky, right? That's what I hear whenever I hear any candidate speak about their religion. I feel uncomfortable, like I've been invited into their living room to hear them discuss how they had sex with their partner last night and oh by the way wouldn't you like to join us?

Just please stop it, OK? I'm not interested in your sex life -- I mean religion. Seriously.