Passion = Truth? How Jeffrey James Francis Ircink Sees The World? I love when people are passionate about something. That surging of emotion is the one honest measure of what truth is. It's a truthful display of how a person really feels about something or someone at that particular moment. That passion IS truth.

About me...

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Greendale, Wisconsin, United States
Ex-producer of THE REALLY FUNNY HORNY GOAT INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL, playwright, actor, singer, outdoorsman, blogger, amateur photog, observer & bitcher, Beach Boys groupie, Brett Favre fanatic, lover of everything Celtic and forever a member in the Tribe of HAIR. Spent most of my life in the Village of Waterford, a small town just outside of the Milwaukee suburbs. After 12 years in North Hollywood, Bel Air and Culver City, Cali, I moved back to Wisconsin in September 2009. No regrets - of moving to LA OR moving back to WI. Have traveled to Belfast, Ireland, Dayton (OH), Manhattan, Seattle, Cedar Rapids, New York, Miami and Sydney, Australia with my plays. Moved back into the Village of Greendale where I was born. Life is good.


Saturday, May 31, 2008

"But I don't wanna be thought of as a racist." The "New America".

If you've read this blog, you know I've commented at length on the illegal immigration issue facing this country. I was on my 5-mile walk today and I suddenly thought, "perhaps I'm being too negative". "Perhaps I AM a racist." So right now - with this post - I'm going to attempt to be more positive - and helpful in the process. As the old adage goes, "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all". So...nice.

Since our government and Corporate America have turned a blind eye to the illegal immigration issue (and thus, ignoring our laws in the process), I say we should all turn a blind eye as well. Open our borders so anyone can come and live in the United States freely, without ever becoming legal citizens of this country. It will be the birth of a new nation...a New America!

While we're breaking that law, how about not having ANY laws. Laws = Old America. All the products we buy should be free. Food, homes, cars, clothes, household goods, computers, books, health care. No rent. No taxes. No surcharges. No fees. There are no laws to set prices remember? If you wanna work you can and if you don't want to, that's fine because everything's free. And if you choose not to work, everyone gets welfare, no matter who you are. And finally, finally we can stop bitching and moaning and sounding like racists about illegal aliens who are getting tuition to attend college in the U.S. because in New America, tuition is free. Gas? Free. That'll make lining up at the pumps real fun these days as they'll be taken over by the gangs that are now running the gas stations and the black market. After all, gang activity would be legal in our New America and there wouldn't be a need for a police force or military to protect us as - well, as no activity is illegal in this country. Guns are free. Drugs are free. Prostitution is legal. Murder is rampant because people can take by force the things they don't have if they so choose. Speed limits and other motor vehicle laws? None. Our New America is a veritable Autobahn. There is no judicial process - no legal system - as there are no rules or laws in place to be broken. My family and I can now hunt and fish for free and rape the land of every living creature with no consequence for the laws of nature. No rules. No regulations. No laws. Absolute freedom. Freedom anyone can enjoy if they live in the New America.

If other countries want to set up corporations here to do business, be our guest. It's free. Soon New America will be another colony for foreign countries to pillage as they see fit. If we're lucky, it won't be too long before our country resembles the landscape seen in the movies Escape from New York or The Road Warrior - or that of Iraq, and no country will want to pillage us any more.

With all these illegal people coming into New America (I guess they're really not "illegal" anymore) what if we run out of food? I mean, the millions of extra mouths to feed would surely become taxing on our food supply. And since everything's free in New America, do we really need money? Granted, it might be tough to import food and other goods into New America unless another country is willing to barter with us. Hmmmm. We could do as Jonathan Swift suggested in his treatise, "A Modest Proposal" - eat all the anchor babies that the newcomers (the former illegal aliens) produce. After all, it's an endless supply - they're used to coming here and having baby after baby after baby, right? They won't really miss their own babies because they can just steal someone else's if they want. And the babies could be used as a commodity - trading babies to countries whose baby production is down could be all the rage. Two babies for a barrel of oil? Three? How many babies for a 2010 Mercedes? With a continual influx of illegal aliens (now legal citizens in the New America) into New America, we'll have baby illegal aliens coming out of our assholes. Eat'm or trade'm! Hey - it's the New America! And everyone benefits.

Did I miss anything? Probably. Life in New America is a wonderful thing, isn't it? See, and you thought I was a racist. Gotta run. I thought I'd try out an illegal alien baby on the barbecue for dinner tonite - a taste of New America.

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I wonder what salad dressing I should use?

Mmmm - salad and an entree all in one convenient bag.

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TGIF! presents The Zombies' "Time Of The Season"

My favorite of all The Zombies's tunes. Couldn't find any retro videos of the group performing this particular song. Forgot to post this yesterday. I must still be on vacation - in my head.

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Vacation: Part 20 - Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin and Hillside School

Taliesin. In Welsh, it means "shining brow". Frank Lloyd Wright began construction in 1911 and it has been a work-in-progress ever since - not only for Wright himself, but for the Taliesin Preservation, the trust that looks after the estate. It has been and continues to be in a state of evolution - just as Wright planned it. In 1991, the American Institute of Architects chose Wright as the "the greatest American architect of all time". Taliesin is on the National Historic Registry. And Wright's influence on architecture is unquestioned.

My interest in FLW is multi-fold. We're both Wisconsinites and I love his prairie-style architecture. I'm also researching two plays I plan to write on FLW.and I've been wanting to tour Taliesin for a couple years now. I was headed back to WI from IA and decided to take the north route through Dubuque instead of the eastern route. It was a gorgeous day and I thought "today is the day I tour Taliesin"! This is a long post, so if you're not a FLW fan or a fan of architecture I might lose you quickly.

The visitor center. Wright designed this but never saw it completed. His original plan was to build a restaurant, and the center does include a cafe, along with a bookstore and gift shop. You hop on a bus here and you're taken to Taliesin, the Hillside School or wherever else depending on what tour package you purchase. My 2-hour Highlights Tour, which included portions of both Taliesin and the Hillside School, cost $57, a mere pittance for a Wright fan.

Midway Barns (1938).

The Romeo and Juliet Windmall Tower- used to pump water into Taliesin. It's the oldest structure on the property (1896). The tower was torn down and rebuilt in 1990 using the original foundation and roof.

Hillside School - Wright built this school (basically from the right side of the large building LEFT) for his two sisters who started the first co-educational school in Wisconsin. The building to the right of those double doors in the Taliesin Fellowship - architectural school (1932).

The backside of Hillside.

The bridge connecting Hillside to the Taliesin Fellowship architectural school.

Hillside School. Toward the bottom of the picture is an old horse trough with a ring to tie horses to. It now serves as a flower planter.

Hillside Theater. I hope to have a staged reading of my play, CHROMOSOME 21, there someday. Wright's apprentices designed the stage curtain - representing the property and buildings of Taliesin done in that "Wright-esque" graphic style. Wright even designed the chairs, which weren't as uncomfortable as the tour guide let on. Actually, they weren't uncomfortable at all. This shot is take from outside looking in a window - no interior pictures are allowed.

Looking across into the architectural school at Hillside.

Outside the Hillside Theater.

The front entrance to Taliesin.

Front entrance up-close. The space to the right is Wright's office. Upon entering I promptly sat my ass on his desk chair. Inspiring!

Above and below pictures. Obviously a 97-year-old building has the occasional crack or buckle. Actually, this sort of thing happened quite frequently while Wright was building and rebuilding Taliesin. His apprentices learned by doing, so if they made a mistake in construction or rebuilding, Wright let it be. Taliesin is spoken of in three phases - each following fires that destroyed portions of the home. Taliesin I (1911), Taliesin II (1914) and Taliesin III (1925).

The red-colored trim used throughout Taliesin and Hillside was representative of the mixture of natural elements from the ground and river that the indians used for painting. Wright called it a, "Cherokee red". Obviously, this goes hand-in-hand with Wright's philosophy of incorporating his architectural designs with Nature. "Organic" architecture is another philosophy of Wright's - use of natural materials from the building site and the again, the parallel to building and Nature.

Cow stanchions used in the garden near Wright's bedroom. (I accidently deleted this picture and will have to add it when I get home.)

Wright's bedroom. It was being refurbished so we didn't get a look-see. The floor is sagging so they're raising it 1/8 inches per week until they return it to "level". This approach is done to minimalize any possible damage to the upper floor or basement during the leveling process.

Looking out over the valley from the crown at Taliesin. This might have been one of Wright's views if he left his bedroom to come outside for coffee.

Unity Temple, commissioned in 1886 by Wright's uncle and built by the architect Silsbee, who Wright later worked for. It was built solely for the Lloyd-Jones family and is still owned and maintained by the family.

Frank left his first wife in Chicago for Mamah Borthwick Cheney. They never married; she was the inspiration for Taliesen. Mamah Cheney died in 1914 at Taliesin when a Bahamanian servant went ballistic and took a hatchet to her head and to two of her children (from a previous marriage) and 4 Taliesen fellows (students). Then he set the place ablaze - one of three fires that partially destroyed Taliesen. But Wright rebuilt, "Through the ashes, she is reborn", or something like that is what he said.

Wright's grave at Unity Temple. Or is it? He was buried here when he died in 1959. Then his 3rd wife (Miriam Noel was his 2nd), Olgivanna, had his body dug up - moving him from his roots and his home in WI - and moved to Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Wright's winter home. Olgivanna was to be buried in AZ and she wanted Frank near her, contrary to Wright's will. Personally, I think she overstepped her bounds - no, wait...I think she's a fucking bitch. You see what that woman does to me??

I'm having difficulty finding interior shots of Taliesin on the Web. You can see two here. There are plenty of books for purchase that show the interior in detail and the Web has tons of resources on Wright's life and work. To say he's "interesting" is an understatement.

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Vacation: Part 19 - Wanna See a Picture of My Cock?

Actually this cock belongs to Frank and Mike, who live on Brolen Farms in East Troy, Wisconsin. More on Brolen Farms later. Just wanted to wet your whistle.

What? You didn't think that I - oh, please. Dirty, dirty person, you are. For shame. If you know me then it shoulda been obvious to you that it isn't in my nature to put a picture of my cock on the internet. Now - if an acting role calls for me to shed my clothes on stage, that's another issue. This is a clean blog, friend. Besides, the wide-angle feature on my digital isn't working properly anyway.

Yes, I'm very funny. Hardy, har, har.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Harvey Korman.

Just heard on NPR comedian Harvey Korman, straightman to Tim Conway, has passed away. I loved their humor together. Some of the funniest moments were when they cracked each other up and totally screwed up their schtick. He was a riot in Blazing Saddles (see above). There's a YouTube clip of Korman and Tim Conway from The Carol Burnett Show below. Please check it out - and laugh.

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Korman/Conway - Dentist Sketch

Here's that sketch I was telling you about.

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Vacation: Part 18 - Nick & Ang's Retro 1965 Pad.

My buddy Nick and his wife Angela bought their first home (they were married last year) in Cedar Rapids - a 1965 retro ranch that I swear would make you feel like you were visiting Sinatra (or Deano) at his home in Palm Springs. Nick's a musician who's "slaying the beast" (his band is called Aerosol Halo), as I am slaying said beast in LA. He's written a few original pieces I'm using in my plays - sings, plays, writes - the whole enchilada.

That's not Nick - that's Tiki. Or Koshi. Kim. Something Japanese. I know - Kiko! That's it. Their newest pug. 8 months old. You'll meet the other one in a bit.

There's Nick. On the patio. Actually go put some Dean or Frankie on - it'll help bring these pictures to life. DO IT, BABY!

The media room. Hey if this is boring you, sorry. But I told Nick I'd give his home equal time since it wasn't chosen in the Cedar Rapids Parade of Homes Tour this year. But there's more, so click on Read More! for the rest of the tour.

The dining room set and overhead retro lights are new.

Everything in the house is vintage - pretty much. Ooooo, vintage panelled wood stereo center. Looks like Hillary is winning in Kentucky - and Nick is not happy.

This intercom system is vintage baby! There's one in all the main rooms and bedrooms. This is the master control panel.

Here's the older pug - Yoshi.

Me in the basement, complete with another media center, pool table and only vinyl is allowed for music - no CDs. I'm partaking. By the way, I sucked at pool. Haven't played in a while and it showed.

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Vacation: Part 17 - Brucemore Estate.

(Courtesy of Wikipedia, except my comments in blue)
The Brucemore mansion in Cedar Rapids, currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a special place in CR; I have many happy memories of it while I lived in Iowa. My theater friend Jim Kern now runs the estate/trust.

The Queen Anne-style mansion, originally called, "Fairhome", was completed in 1886 and was occupied by the Sinclair family, who owned the largest business in Cedar Rapids - a meatpacking plant. Cost = $55,000. The home has three stories, and contains twenty-one rooms. Notable features of the home are its steeply gabled roof, five chimneys, and several turrets. The above photo is a south view of Brucemore.

George Bruce Douglas was a partner in his father's business, the Quaker Oats Company and lived at "Brucemore" - he renamed it - from 1906-1937. He increased the size of the property by 33 acres, and added several new buildings, including a guesthouse, greenhouse, carriage house, squash court, and servants' quarters. He also had the entrance moved to the south side. In 1925, Grant Wood ("American Gothic") designed a sleeping porch which was added to the house. in 1927, a swimming pool was added. After George and his wife passed away, they willed the home to their oldest daughter Margaret.

North view of Brucemore. Margaret Douglas married Howard Hall and they resided at Brucemore from 1937-1981, reducing the size of the estate to its current 26 acres. In two of their more unusual enhancements to the house, the Halls added two basement recreation rooms, "The Tahitian Room", and a "Grizzly Bar". The Tahitian room is designed to resemble a tropical island, including a faux hut roof, and a switch that can create artificial rain. The Grizzly room is decorated like a Wild West or Alaskan saloon.

By the way, I've toured Brucemore and seen both these rooms - the Tahitian room is near the top of the list of most preserved rooms in all of America as it was left EXACTLY the way it looked upon Howard Hall's death. The artificial rain effect is awesome.

The Halls had several pets kept on property including two German Shepherds and several birds. But their most famous pets were the three lions, all named Leo. Jackie, the lion that roars at the beginning of MGM movies, is related to one of the Leos. One of the lions, along with 20 dogs, are buried in the pet cemetery near the gardens. Margaret died in 1981. She willed Brucemore to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Above: The Grand Staircase, connecting the 2nd and 3rd floors - the architectural centerpiece of Brucemore.

Today, Brucemore serves as a museum and a cultural center for Cedar Rapids. Each year on Father's Day, an Art Festival takes place on the grounds, and Brucemore also hosts a yearly Jazz festival, "Bluesmore". Also every year, outdoor theatre is performed during "Classics at Brucemore", often a play by Shakespeare or a classic Greek tragedy. I miss this event as you could take coolers of wine and beer, cheese, crackers, and fruit and enjoy great theater outdoors.

For a visual tour of Brucemore, go to the offical site. I highly recommend it.

Brucemore has many connections to famous people and events. George Douglas' brother died on the Titanic, and Howard Hall had contacts with many famous celebrities. He took behind the scene home movies of Gone with the Wind, which are the only known candid footage of that film. The home has also played host to at least two Presidents, when Herbert Hoover and Harry Truman visited during the dedication of the Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch.

Tahitian Room, Grizzly Room and Grand Staircase pictures courtesy of

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Vacation: Part 16 - This Old House in Cedar Rapids.

I lived in this house for two years while in Cedar Rapids - just after I started doing theater. The pre-fab apartment complex I had originally moved into when I first moved to Iowa was not cutting it - I needed a place with character so I could entertain theater-folk (even the ones whose character has been called into question from time to time). I lived in the upper left corner unit (as you're facing the front door). The house was a mansion converted into a 3-unit living space, with the owners living on the bottom two floor units. The front door entry opened into a beautifully carpeted foyer with plush chairs and magazines and books, then you took the stairs up to my place. I had a small but quaint foyer with a medium-sized bedroom, HUGE kitchen, HUGE bathroom with the highest ceilings I've ever seen in a bathroom (ask Jim Keller about that) and a large living room and dining room with a bay window view. Great living space - for $430 a month (no garage). Plus it was on the far east side of town away from downtown and closer to the ritzy part of Cedar Rapids.

While visiting CR on my trip home I heard the owners have converted the house back into a one-family unit and are selling it for around $240-$270,000. A bit over-priced for that part of town, I'm told. I hope they don't sell it. They turned out to be assholes. Never had a problem with them (and vice versa) until I moved out. They called the cops and said I "stole" some of the their belongings that were stored in a locked room in the basement. After being questioned by the police down at headquarters, the dumbshit owners called the cops and informed them they found the "stolen merchandise" - they had moved it from the locked storeroom to their other home and had forgotten about it.

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Passion = Truth Goes GLOBAL!!

Just a quick update on who's been surfing Passion = Truth. While I was away fishing, we had hits from Belarus, Latvia, Hong Kong and Vietnam. You see...even when I play, the people - they still come.

Aside from hits across the United States (incl. Hawaii), we've received hits from: Argentina, Azerbaijan, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil,Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guam, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malaysia, Malta, Martinique, Mauritius, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, the Phillipines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Vietnam, Virgin Islands, Wales and Armed Forces Europe - Middle East/Canada. Salute the Troops!

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Vacation: Part 15 - The Ircink Family Tree.

While we were fishing (and having a few), my Uncle Fran was relating family stories - things that happened before I was born or when I was too young to remember, people I haven't seen in ages, etcetera.

First, let me catch you up on the Ircink family tree.

"Ircink" is Czech, or Bohemian. We're also German. A few years ago we found out (long story) that the Ircink's (may have been "Ircingova") fled France during the French Revolution and settled in Buchov and Stankov, Czechoslovakia. Apparently, we were known through the land (France) as great hunters and fisherman (which we still are). Great - now we're French, too. Anyway, the Ircink's left Czechoslovakia around 1834 and settled in Wisconsin and became brewmeisters (Stankov was known as a brewmeister city).

The Datka's - my Mother's side - are Polish and German, and I found out through a relative who did some digging that we're also Scottish, French Canadian, Swiss and Swedish.

So Uncle Fran is telling me about the Canning brothers, who were first cousins to my Grandpa Ircink. I looked up "Canning" on the internet and every reference I could find was Irish. Oddly, one of the Canning brothers was a cop and one was a gangster who was gunned down in a hallway in Chicago.

My Grandma Ircink's (nee Prosser) cousin Dick Pagan was actually from Italian descent. "Pagan" was shortened from "Paganini" (something like that).

So now I'm Irish and Italian. I KNEW I had Irish in me. I was thrilled to find out about the itty-bitty Scottish link on my mother's side - but the Irish??? Slan!

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Vacation: Part 14 - My brother.

As I love my mother and father, I too love and admire my brother, Jason, very much.

We had a middle-class childhood and were never wanton for things. We had a strict upbringing and though we don't always agree with our parents, we always speak fondly of them. I have always said I wouldn't trade the experiences of my childhood for a million dollars. That is true. He is well-versed in many aspects of the outdoors - bowhunting, guns, fishing. He hunts deer, turkey, grouse, pheasant and other game birds. He is proficient with a boat on a lake and will fish or hunt long into the night - long before everyone else has called it quits. He's an electrician and works for himself. We're quite similar - and quite different. Perhaps that's why we get along so well.

Jason and Molly, on our Saturday "drive" up to Portage to look at some property.

Jas jetting across the Rainbow Flowage to go fishing - alone.

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Vacation: Part 13 - Myanmar

While vacationing, I was a bit baffled over the decision by Myanmar's military regime to NOT allow aid into the country following the cyclone that killed thousands of people there in early May.

Now, an admiral from the U.S. Navy stated that most likely our aid ships may depart - with supplies still on board.

Good. I'm sorry for the people of Myanmar. I guess this is what happens when your country is ruled by a band of military dictators rather than - let's say a democracy. Idiots. That bad, ole U.S. of A. How cruel to sail all that way just to have to turn around because Myanmar's rulers have their heads up each other's asses.

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Father Ted - Holy Swearing

I met a woman from Ireland who had business at Porchlight yesterday and we got to talking about Ireland, movies, acting and accents. Lucia told me that directors often direct actors to watch clips from the series, "Father Ted" (1995-1998), if they want to become proficient in the correct execution of an Irish dialect. I believe most of the actors in the series were Irish.

Watch this clip. I laughed my fecking arse off.

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Sydney Pollack.

I really, really loved this director/actor. Sydney Pollack passed away from cancer in Pacific Palisades the other day. (sigh). And if you enjoyed his directing work, then you really need to rent the movie, Jeremiah Johnson, starring Robert Redford - especially if you like the outdoors. And if you like war movies, rent Castle Keep with Peter Falk and Burt Lancaster.

I met Martin Ransohoff (producer on Castle Keep) and he told me Lancaster was a real bear to work with and the best thing that happened on that picture was when the "castle" burned to the ground (not in the script). Great soundtrack.

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