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Published November 23 2011

Morast: The following is a list of the things I hate …

There’s something about the Thanksgiving week that really grinds my gears.

While everyone is sharing with the world all that they’re thankful for, I’m sitting under a cloud of bitterness and scrawling a list of chapters in my impending Hate Journal.

What’s odd about the reaction is that I really do enjoy Thanksgiving. But my prevailing mood over the holiday strikes a stark contrast to the smiling faces I see all around me.

Must be the contrarian holed up inside my psyche.

With that in mind, a therapist once told me the best way to relieve inner turmoil is to write about it. So here’s a list of some of the things that compel me to yell like Howard Beale.

Same songs and dances: Fargo-Moorhead has a smart, sophisticated stage culture that, really, shouldn’t exist in a community this size. That’s why it’s bewildering to me that so many of our theater troupes/companies have recently been staging the same shows. For example, Concordia College produced “Grease” this fall. So did Fargo South’s theater group.

At West Fargo High School, the drama kids worked up their take on “Cinderella.” So did the Fargo-Moorhead Opera.

For a small community with such a smart theater culture, it sure feels dumb to double up on productions. We’re always going to have a finite number of stage shows in Fargo-Moorhead; multiple companies using the same storylines feels like cheating the community out of artistic diversity.

Granted, I’m not tapped into the theater scene. But you’d think there would be some kind of communication between these entities to ensure they’re not working on the same shows.

Yes, I realize each stage production of a given play/musical/opera is “different.” But the basic plot is the same. And it’s not like anybody didn’t know what “Cinderella” or “Grease” was about before these groups announced their intentions to reproduce those stories.

I’d say we deserve better, but we’re actually getting more on stage than Fargo-Moorhead deserves. Go to similar-sized towns like Sioux Falls, S.D., and they praise Shakespeare in the Park like it’s a revelation.

Still, F-M theater groups, let’s try not to copy each other. You can do better.

Phone books: Hey, I’m all for unexpected gifts being left on my doorsteps. But would the people who keep dropping phone books at my door please stop?

In the last three months I’ve received three phone books. Never mind that I haven’t used a tactile phone book in years. Or that I can’t imagine these three Fargo-Moorhead phone books are so varied that I can justify actually wanting three different versions. What mostly annoys me is that I haven’t been able to tell these companies to stop dropping them on my property. Sure, I leave voice mail messages prompted by female-voiced automatons. But there’s no call back. There’s no acknowledgement of my complaints. And the phone books keep coming.

It’s beginning to feel like the phone book companies trying to convince us we need an antiquated medium. We don’t. At all.

Ads on Hulu Plus: I don’t quite understand this. When I watched TV and film content on Hulu’s free version I had to sit through advertisements. That’s understandable. The online service needs to subsidize a free product. But since upgrading to Hulu’s pay-scale Hulu Plus I’m still forced to sit through multiple ads during episodes of “House” or “Degrassi Junior High.” It’s annoying and feels counterintuitive to the “getting more with a subscription” mindset we’re used to.

But I do have to respect Hulu’s ability to double-dip without even trying to pretend they’re not doing it. That takes some moxie, or blatant ignorance.

Readers can reach Forum Features Editor Robert Morast at (701) 241-5518

or rmorast@forumcomm.com