Monday, October 26, 2020

Still Here

Enjoying QUEEN'S GAMBIT. Although with streaming, a show like this comes and goes so quickly that it becomes a distant memory fairly quickly. Scott Frank, who is directing this, directed GODLESS, which I quite enjoyed last year but now has little resonance for me. I guess this has always been true of books and movies, but tv used to give one a longer experience. Mary Richards from Mary Tyler Moore was with us for years for 25 episodes a year. You can binge Queen's Gambit (6 episodes) in a day. Not that I like to watch that quickly.  I am glad HBO still shows one episode a week. What's the hurry. If this goes on for a long time, won't the content be used up. 

I am trying the ONE-DAY UNIVERSITY idea but it isn't really working for me. Either I know more about the subject than the audience they are lecturing to (Alfred Hitchcock) or far less and I need more of an introduction. Well, it is only $8.00 a month so if I cancel it before the month is out, I didn't lose much.

My book club (Z00M) met to discuss LAB GIRL.  We all loved it and I highly recommend it.

Nearing the end of BORGEN, which was so good. I hope the fourth season comes soon. 

Listening to REBECCA, reading a great Cary Grant bio, and DEEP WATER by Patricia Highsmith. 

Watched THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO SEVEN. Frank Langella stole the show. What a horrible judge Julius Hoffman was. The last hour was quite riveting as the defense tried to outflank him.

By next Monday, we will all be nervous wrecks. Has any election ever been more important? Truly the survival of our democracy hangs in the balance. I wonder what Phil would have said. If you believe 538, it's a wrap but they said that in 2016 too.

So what about you?


Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Patti, I live in India and yet I feel nervous about the outcome of the US elections. I hope for the sake of all Americans and the rest of the world, Trump is not just voted out but voted out with a landslide margin for Biden.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yes, Prashant, I hope that too. I am always embarrassed how much more people in other countries know about the US than what I know about them. As a child, I was a great admirer of Ghandi and Nehru and read biographies about them. But since then, I have lost track of Indian politics.

Margot Kinberg said...

I'm happy for you that you've found a good book club, Patti. I'm in one, too, and even though the meetings are virtual, it's still so nice to connect. And it allows people to be a part of it wherever they live.

Jeff Meyerson said...

We're not watching QUEEN'S GAMBIT. Maybe later. We did watch McDONALD & DODDS (Prime), two 90 minute episodes. It's another British cop show, this set in Bath, with a high flying youngish black woman Chief Inspector in charge, but the nerdy, almost autistic-seeming, older male Sergeant providing the insights that lead to the solutions. Her behavior towards him is offensive and unacceptable at times, but we found them enjoyable enough.

FLESH AND BLOOD (PBS) left a cliffhanger at the end of its four episodes, with Francesca Annis and her three rather awful grown children not knowing if Mom's new husband (Stephen Rea) will survive his "fall" from the balcony. Of course, the audience knows what really happened, and what nutty next door neighbor Imelda Staunton (who is a hoot, if pretty crazy).

Finished the second series of THE SPLIT (Sundance, through Prime I think) about a "family law" firm and the personal issues of the lawyers (the mother and two daughters' firm was merged into another one after the first series), what with affairs rampant among the clients and lawyers. As Jackie pointed out, pretty soapy, but not too much to keep watching. Nicola Walker stars, with Stephen Mangan (who we saw on Broadway as the lead in THE NORMAN CONQUESTS) as her husband, Deborah Findlay as her mother.

We finished series of RITA and a few other things. Watching series two of REBECCA MARTINSSON (Swedish; on Prime). Four episodes to go in the last series of SRUGIM. (I don't think we are going to see any closure for Nati, Reut, or Hodaya.)

We also watched Heidi Schreck's moving WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME (Prime), which George recommended after seeing it on stage. At 15, she earned money for college by going on stage at American Legion posts and competing over knowledge of the Constitution. Worth watching.

After AMERICAN UTOPIA, this week we watched STOP MAKING SENSE (Prime), which Jackie had never seen. I know we all age in 36 years, but the difference in David Byrne's look is striking.

And yes, we had our 50th Anniversary on Saturday. We weren't as young as Patti when we got married, but pretty young. It's so weird when we think of our parents, and even grandparents, celebrating their 50th, and how much older they seemed to us. Yes, we are old by some standards, but sometimes I still feel like I did in my 20s and 30s. Obviously, thanks to Donald Trump all celebratory plans had to be postponed to at least next year - the idea of getting on a plane or staying at a hotel is a no no - but we had our own private celebration, which is the way we do most things anyway.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Patti, a lot of Indians are following the US elections as if it were our own. I think it all started with CNN beaming the first Gulf War into our living rooms and satellite/cable TV bringing us feeds about Bill Clinton's victory in 1993. Later, President Obama used Gandhi's famous call for change - "Be the change you wish to see" - quite effectively in his first election campaign. And then, of course, like the rest of the world we are rather in awe of America because of its world status, particularly its democracy and freedoms, education, innovation, free press, economic and military power, and popular culture.

pattinase (abbott) said...

And, of course, Americans are so obsessed with themselves, we follow very little outside the shores.
Jeff-I appreciate your rundown. I pick up a lot of shows thanks to you.
Margot, the book group has been together for 19 years. A few people have gone and a few have come in that time.

Jerry House said...

The elections scare me. Even though Trump is clearly devolving and Biden appears to be ahead in the minds of most people, anything can happen. So many other important races at stake -- McConnell, Graham, McSally, Ernst, Cotton, Tillis, Inhofe, Collins. I hope they go down in crushing defeat and a few probably will.

The kids and grandkids went camping this week and had a blast. They saw a good-sized alligator swimming near where they camped and Nugget (now eight months old) discovered squirrels. Heavy rain flooded their campsite early Saturday morning but the water soon went away and they able to enjoy the rest of the weekend.

We had Jack (the mega-active 8-year-old) and Anvil (the 14-year-old placid pug who is now blind, deaf, and senile)for the weekend. Between Jack, who is up before the sunrise, and Anvil, who suddenly barks in the night for no reason, sleep was not a good option. Oh well, it was only for a weekend.

Our niece Lizzie in Phoenix held a zoom doodle class. The idea is to stretch your mind and relax while doing some unconscious doodling. Our gang and my brother in Massachusetts joined in on Thursday when Lizzie squeezed us in before she held a zoom yoga class. It was surprisingly fun, letting your mind relax and setting your hand free. There was a lot of laughter, as usual.

Another storm appears to be heading our way. Zeta is expected to make landfall on Wednesday and we are in its current path. All the debris from the last storm has not been cleared from the side of the road, so we expect a lot of it to be flying. There are far less trees for this storm to knock down. Our cupboard is getting bare, so we will have to face the crowds later today to stock up -- if there is anything left on the store shelves. Our apartment is pretty well sheltered so there's not much worry there. The kids are also in pretty safe places. For six days out of seven this past week the weather has been beautiful, so I can't really complain.

In his infinite stupidity, our governor has opened up the state. Although many people are still wearing mask and trying to maintain distance, a lot are not, so the Covid cases are on a steep rise. Governor DeSantis is a Trump toadie and opened up the state to kowtow to him. Trump held another rally here on Friday so more people will be getting infected and more people will die. Isn't there a special category in the Darwin Awards for this?

Watched the new REBECCA and enjoyed it, but it was no Hitchcock. Still watching POIROT with the automatically generated captions on (which can be a hoot).

Thus we muddle through another week -- happy, healthy, and somewhat concerned. Have a great week, Patti!

P.S. -- Happy anniversary to Jeff and Jackie!

Jeff Meyerson said...

One more: we watched the first episode of the new David Kelley show on HBO, THE UNDOING. (There might be some SPOILERS, so be careful.) I don't know how far we will get with it. My problem (which, granted, is probably just me) started with day one. Nicole Kidman is a therapist, which you might have to keep reminding yourself of, because that first day she looks more like a model strutting down the runway. To say that her hair and makeup are way over the top for a therapist is an understatement. It bothered me, a lot. Another, more serious, flaw: it appears that she and her husband (Hugh Grant), a successful oncologist, have a good, close relationship. Yet, at the end of the episode, he (supposedly) flies off to an oncology convention in Cleveland. (This is where the SPOILER comes in.) She finds he has left his cellphone behind, and she has no idea of how to get in touch with him. She doesn't know where he is staying, where the conference is, the airline he flew on, his itinerary, anything. She doesn't call his office or the hospital to find out where he is, or even a friend or colleague he might have gone with. She just calls every hotel in Cleveland more or less at random and asks for his room! This is a brilliant therapist? Come on, man (as Joey would say)!

Also, there is (another SPOILER alert) a scene of such gratuitous nudity that it is really jarring.

As I said, I don't know if we will continue, depending on episode two. It reminded me of Welsh show (that we didn't like), KEEPING FAITH, where the husband disappears and the wife discovers his secret life. Also of a couple of other shows.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Thanks, Jerry.

George said...

After a nearly rainless Summer, this last week in Western NY experienced daily rain (and it's raining right now!). Our new bath tub only needs the new drain to be installed to be complete. Our contractor will finish the tile work and paint the bathroom then. We're almost done with Home Improvements!

Coronavirus cases are starting to increase here. But, people turned out to stand in long lines for Early Voting. I'm hopeful that next week's Election will change things, but the Russians and Iranians are meddling so who knows what will happen other than Trump declaring victory.

Diane used to read The Witches by Roald Dahl to her students. Now there's a new version on HBO with Ann Hathaway. We plan to watch it this week. Stay safe!

Todd Mason said...

Jeff--further congratulations on your anniversary! Next September will mark 25 years since I moved in with Alice in her new Philadelphia apartment as she began medical school at Temple. Not exactly half my life ago, but not so far from it. She has been a practicing child and family psychiatrist for about two decades now, which does tend to give me a yardstick to measure fictional psychiatrists by.

Also: there is no such thing as a non-idiotic David Kelley script. This so far is an even more self-indulgent version of his last ridiculous, condescending to well-off women cable series.

Every presidential election and every Federal election is the most important ever, because they are setting the courses for how badly our government will behave in regard to everything and everyone. The Reagan Administration was vicious and irresponsible, the Clinton Administration was vicious and irresponsible, the Cheney Administration was vicious and irresponsible, the Obama Administration was intermittently vastly more irresponsible than it's given credit for--they did initiate more than their share of some of the most vicious policies the Dumpsters have followed up on and aggravated, in terms of irresponsible treatment of immigrants and "low-rent" military engagement. But, I suppose, the theft/malfeasance and callousness of the previous administrations was mostly notable for not trying to burn down the government while stealing with both hands, except for some of the more enthusiastic members and salvos of the Raygun Admin particularly. And Ronnie could make a nice speech. It's way the hell too telling that we can look back at the Johnson and Nixon Administrations and see aspects of them which seem better than any we've had to treat with since, when they were also both way too willing to put too many of us, in this country and elsewhere, in jail or in the ground.

George, of course, the voter suppression the GOP particularly engages in, and the gerrymandering that the two big parties have collaborated in over the decades, seems to me more notable in its effect than any foreign disinformation or even foreign slush funds...though for some reason those less intelligent on the left in the US have salivated over the opportunity to pretend that disgust with the fascism of the current regimes in Russia and China is all some sort of Red-Scare paranoia our own fascist-fanboys and neoliberals have jiggered up...when outbreaks of fascism and similar authoritarianism is very much in place in most of the most influential nations of the world, such as India, where the corrupt and bellicose current admin keeps trying to have another war with China, or pretend to want to...because doesn't that Always distract from petty mismanagement issues such as disease and poverty?...

I look forward to another terrible, irresponsible US Admin with Biden that might improve some, as it would be difficult not to, improve on the current one.

pattinase (abbott) said...

It really bothers me how coiffed and made-up all US actors are. The few deviations (The Office) won my allegiance. Cannot stand it when a person playing a regular joe never wears the same clothes twice. I think this came from the DALLAS/DYNASTY era and has never changed.
We are also getting a lot of rain. And our cases are up. Whittmer threatening to drop back a phase or two. If Trump stopped coming here for rallies it might help.
Like the new show on Hulu with Michael Sheen and David Tennant: STAGED. It is a covid-production but they've managed to make it seem wider. I am steering clear of the new Rebecca.

Todd Mason said...

And FFB will be out this afternoon. The death of Richard Lupoff, and something in or on her contacts scratching Alice's left cornea on Friday have capped a strange, distracting week around here...but it was a minor scratch...the eyedrops still sting a bit, I've been informed.

Somehow, the footage on LAST WEEK TONIGHT last night of improvised Trump Admin children jails in chain hotels, perhaps mostly of the often mostly unseen girl detainees in most kids in cages footage from earlier exposés, is going o haunt me for a while at least in re: this Epstein/Maxwell-friendly Admin. Does Stephen Miller go into hiding when Trump loses? Probably won't need to; more's the pity.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Yes, Todd, the way he treats these women is ridiculous. Glad it wasn't just my prejudice seeing it. I was trying to think of the last David Kelley show that wasn't as idiotic, but we haven't watched one in years.

Patti, whatever you think of Roseanne/The Conners, they are certainly more realistic in how the people look. I noticed on the first episode of the new season, Dan's hair is wildly long and out of control, the way so many were early in the pandemic when barber shops were closed, and Jackie's hair has clearly grown in grey.

I suppose there would be some argument for Nicole's dressing up for the fundraiser late in the episode, though none of her friends is close to being so over the top, but showing up at a therapy sessions like she did was ludicrous.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Maybe they won't be able to put DJT in jail but nab some of his toadies. Oh though really, he is their toadie.

Todd Mason said...

Patti--Sitcoms, ranging from the likes of HAZEL to THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW, and most dramatic hours with budgets, such as most if not all Quinn Martin productions, seem to me to have almost always tried to make a point of glamming up particularly those women regulars and guests who were meant to be attractive...but glam fetishism was certainly a factor in the '80s evil-wealthy soaps.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yes, I try to watch THE CONNORS because they do get some things right but the acting and some of the writing is weak, I find. And they are still going for the easy laugh too often. Even Laurie Metcalf seems off in it to me.

Todd Mason said...

Jeff: L. A. LAW had Bochco to indulge Kelley but presumably also to put a slight brake on him. I can't think of any series since featuring him as primary or a primary hand that hasn't been basically stupid and plastic, and frequently wildly overpraised. The casts often helped, but never enough.

Todd Mason said...

Patti--agree on my experience of THE CONNORS so far. And Trump is certainly as much a tool of the seedy (to be kind) sorts he gathers around him as Reagan was, while adding his own malignant narcissism and concomitant greed and irresponsibility to the current stew.

Todd Mason said...

Just another little nugget for consideration, in re: Kelley narcissism, as per IMDb:

In a recent "Emmy TV Legends" interview, David E. Kelly said that he killed off Rosalind Shays (Diana Muldaur) because he was leaving the show [L.A. LAW] and he loved the character so much that he didn't want to see her mishandled in the hands of another writer.

(Muldaur presumably not asked for input.)

Rick Robinson said...

Wow, so MUCH show watching! Everyone seems to spend many dozens of hours in front of the TV every week. I don't know how you do it.

@Jeff: happy 50th anniversary! That's a real milestone. Good going.

Today is my birthday, 75 years, another milestone. Frankly I'm amazed I made it this long. Barbara made my favorite coffeecake this morning, after which presents were opened. Too much! I have enough to read the rest of the year and into the Summer. LOTS of short story anthologies.

Weather here is clear but cool, getting into the mid 30s at night and our first freeze. That puts the end to Summer/Fall, and there will be more gardening to do, which is good. We winter over some Fuchsias, so they go into the garage today.

I'm finishing up a Maigret novel (FFB this week) and then tackle short stories. Sounds like you're doing fine, Patti. Hang in there.

pattinase (abbott) said...

As I get ready to talk to my therapist, I'll admire your ability to avoid the idiot box, Rick.

TracyK said...

I just read an article in the LA Times about QUEEN'S GAMBIT, and now I want to watch it but I want to read the book first. I had not thought about watching THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO SEVEN, but I love Frank Langella.

Which Cary Grant bio are you reading.

My birthday is two days after the election, and I hope I am not too depressed at that time. I always hate that my birthday is close to the Presidential elections.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Cary Grant by Scott Eyman. Just out and very good.

TracyK said...

Thanks, Patti.

Cullen Gallagher said...

Scott Eyman is a terrific writer, haven't read his Grant bio but I really enjoyed The Speed of Sound and his John Ford and John Wayne biographies. Had the pleasure of meeting him once, very nice fellow.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Now I will look for those!