Monday, November 30, 2020

Still Here

The circle grows smaller as more people I know,  know people with Covid 19. Sometimes it feels like this is the end, that we are too incompetent a nation to get the vaccine distributed in a timely manner. We have certainly learned that state's rights was a bad idea. If we had acted with one rational voice last Spring, things would be very different. We've screwed up everything so far so why not the vaccine? Biden is world's better than Trump in every way, but he doesn't strike me as a creative thinker. We will have to rely on his advisers. The weight of the world has now descended on him and I wonder if he regrets it all at age 77.

Anyway, I saw a great production of AN AMERICAN IN PARIS on you tube. It was filmed during the original Broadway run and it was far better than the road show I saw in Detroit. Hard to understand why it closed after a year when so many inferior musicals run forever. It had a weak book but everything else was terrific. 

I also signed up to see three plays streaming from London at the Old Vic for 15 pounds each. One this Wednesday at 2:30. Watched THE NEST, with Jude Law and Carrie Coon via Prime for $5. Dark and well done although depressing. Coon especially was terrific. Trying to stretch out THE CROWN. Finishing THE UNDOING this week on HBO. A very strange production. 

Reading THE SOCIAL LIFE OF CHURCH LADIES, short stories which are wonderful. Also finishing  up THE FREE by Willie Vlautin and MY DARK VANESSA by Kate Elizabeth Russell. Willie Vlautin writes about the nicest, saddest people on earth. 

I celebrated Thanksgiving with my friend Kate. We are together enough that we didn't worry. I enjoyed a zoom call with Megan, Josh, Kevin and Julie. It wasn't the same but it was very much better than nothing. Kevin turns 14 today. He is just abut as tall as  his Dad. 

Here is the link to the Old Vic if anyone wants to see the plays.

What about you?  Are you sick of turkey for a while?


Steve Oerkfitz said...

No turkey here. Had leftover pizza for thanksgiving. My social life pretty much consists of Dr visits. Going back to eye Dr tomorrow to start injections on my right eye now.
Watched a lot of tv. Got Acorn for one week free and am catching up on a few series. Watched season 2b of Mystery Road-I like the show but the song selections are awful. Just finished Wisting band will catch up ,on Jack Irish and Line of Duty's last few seasons. Finished The Undoing which ended with no big surprises. Tried watching Hillbilly Elegy on Netflix but found it disappointing. Looking forward to Mank.
Finishing up The Kingdom by Jo Nesbo. Also reading The Walking Drum by Louis L'Amour. A friend has been bugging me to read it for decades. Not the best written book but L'Amour tells a story quite well.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Nope. Never sick of turkey, especially if the world's best side dish (stuffing, of course) accompanies it. We finished it yesterday except for a few ounces of turkey, which we will have with Chinese food today.

Yeah, if that @sshole showed the teeniest bit of Presidential leadership, tens of thousands of people would be alive today. Of course, the people who choose to follow him over the science have to take their share of the blame. Best birthday gift I got was a refrigerator magnet from my brother, showing Dr. Fauci holding a sign saying, "Trust Science (Not Morons)."

Jackie (who is way more tolerant than I am) is watching a number of shows I won't watch: THE UNDOING, NEXT, HIS DARK MATERIALS, BIG SKY. We're watching the second series of MYSTERY ROAD (Australian) but not enjoying it (drug dealing story) nearly as much as the first. It could have really used Judy Davis. THE CROWN is good, but gee, wonder why Charles and Camilla are getting the hate. And the Queen is horribly cold and unfeeling, even when Diana desperately hugs her and begs for affection. The only one in that awful family who shows any sign of caring (at a distance) is Princess Margaret, of all people, and that because she understands the cost of marrying the wrong person. The second series of THE BOYS is pretty dark, and the final series of the German DARK is so confusing with its jumps not only between time periods as in the earlier series, but between worlds. Some of the people play the same characters, but they are married to different people. It is impossible to keep up so we are just letting it unroll. We are enjoying the Israeli MOSSAD 101 (Netflix) quite a bit, but then we've liked all the Israeli shows we've watched. Still watching INSPECTOR MANARA (Italy) and the lightweight MALLORCA FILES on Amazon Prime (as well as MORSE). We finished the first series of THE GOOD PLACE and SCHITT'S CREEK (Netflix), and we started the third series of RITA (Denmark). THE WEST WING is leaving Netflix in December, in case anyone is watching it. We are noticing a huge dropoff in season five after Aaron Sorkin's departure, so won't miss it as much. Michael Sheen got very tiresome towards the end of season three of THE GOOD FIGHT, so I'm glad he left.

What else have we watched? BLACK NARCISSUS (FX) was watchable but you knew exactly where it was going from beginning to end. BELUSHI (Showtime) was pretty well done, though I could have done with more scenes of his performing. We saw him off-Broadway in National Lampoon's LEMMINGS two years before SNL started, doing his Joe Cocker. Ron Howard's Academy Award-touted HILLBILLY ELEGY (Netflix) was pretty terrible, I thought, with Glenn Close's Granny Clampett act and Amy Adams shrieking every scene. The guy who played Vance was a snore. I haven't read the book and have no intention of doing so. The next day we watched UNCLE FRANK (Amazon Prime), which was better (especially thanks to Paul Bettany's performance), but still less than subtle. If you want to watch one of the two "redneck" movies, skip ELEGY.

Margot Kinberg said...

I'm glad you've got access to plays and good film, Patti. Until we have this Covid thing managed, we need to reach out to each other in other ways, and that includes things like live-streamed music, plays, and so on.

pattinase (abbott) said...

(SPOILER) Yeah, THE UNDOING was a disappointment except for the idea she played him by allowing him to think her testimony would save rather than hang him. I started ETHOS on Netflix, set in Turkey and it shows promise. I didn't much like the book HILLBILLY ELEGY, thought the author wanted it both ways. Looking forward to MANK.

George said...

Diane bought a 13-pound turkey and Patrick and Katie cooked it using the Spatchcock Technique (removing the spine) so the cook time is reduced from 4 hours to 90 minutes. They also marinated the turkey overnight in buttermilk which made it very moist and delicious.

Katie drove back to Boston yesterday (best weather day of the week). Diane gave her plenty of turkey leftovers. Patrick made turkey soup with the leftovers we gave him. Patrick plans to head South in a couple of weeks (he doesn't like cold weather). As long as Patrick has an Internet connection, he can do his GOOGLE work anywhere.

Diane is watcher her HALLMARK movies. I'm watching The Mandalorian on DISNEY+. Both of us is doing a lot of reading now that Thanksgiving is over. It takes a lot to get us to leave the house with Covid-19 rates spiking. Stay safe!

Mathew Paust said...

Glad you're here! ;) No TV for me, so I can't comment on the shows you're watching. Thanksgiving was uneventful. Don't remember what I ate--maybe because it was something I made, which is always uneventful but nourishing. Friends who usually have me for Thanksgiving quarantined themselves this year, but brought me a homemade cheesecake wedge Saturday that was sinfully good.

Other than morning walks and an occasional grocery run, and an occasional breakfast with a friend, with windows open in my truck--she's nearly my age, so we're both on the endangered list--I've been working on a new novel, the fifth in my Blow Stone crime series. Haven't been reading fiction, altho some might sneer at Shakespeare's Dark Lady by John Hudson as such. I reviewed it disguised as fiction, but to my nonacademic sensibility it's solidly researched and sourced (link below), and am now reading The Grand Biocentric Design: how life creates reality, by Lanza and Pavsic, which is blowing my mind--which it probly needs.

The wait for "certification" is almost as agonizing as the election itself, but with more clownish farce. Rudy and Jenna will end up in a zoo when this is over.

Jerry House said...

Kevin is fourteen? How did that happen? We haven't aged, so how did he? Anyway, best wishes to him on his birthday.

Thanksgiving was cancelled here, although we get some some ham, stuffing, potatoes, and turnip delivered late in the afternoon, courtesy of Christina's family. Once the pandemic is far behind us, we are planning mega-celebration combining birthdays, anniversaries, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Fourth of July, Valentine's Day, Arbor Day, St. Swithin's Day, and anything else we can think of to celebrate. This blowout will be massive.

Even if we did not celebrate, we have a lot to be thankful for. Mark tested negative and is out of quarantine, Christina has finished her quarantine and is going back to work, Ceili has a new job and is loving it, everyone is healthy and happy, the world is a beautiful place, and the old bastard will be leaving the White House (although I'm sure he will try to do his worst in the few weeks ahead). Hope is in the air.

My computer has been acting erratically lately and has become recalcitrant to the extreme. This, too, shall pass as Those Who Please the Technology Gods will be by this week to work their magic. Again, hope is in the air.

We got a free week of Peacock television and watched the first two seasons of MR. MERCEDES -- understated but effective. Also watched the first seasons of DEPARTURE nd another show I have completely forgotten the name of, both interesting but with predictable plot twists. Will cancel this later this week since there seems to be little else of interest on this network. We're just about out of POIROTs to re-watch, but there are some nifty compilations of Hastings (Hugh Fraser) saying "I say" on YouTube that we enjoy greatly. Have started watching the final season of SUPERNATURAL again. I'm not really looking forward to the new WALKER, TEXAS RANGER whenever it finally airs. I really enjoyed Jared Padalecki in SUPERNATURAL but cannot picture him in a Chuck Norris role -- besides which, I never did like WALKER, TEXAS RANGER anyway.

My reading still consists of various short stories and old pulp hero novels. I'm really getting into THE SPIDER, but getting bored with THE SHADOW. Fickle me. Your Wednesday Short Story meme has got me reading a number of authors who are usually far down on Mount TBR, and I thank you for that.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and enjoy the week, Patti.

Jeff Meyerson said...

George, Jackie is recording six or eight Hallmark Christmas movies too. Obviously, I won't be watching them.

George said...

Jeff, Diane has at least a dozen HALLMARK movies on our DVR and she records any new ones HALLMARK releases. Diane says the HALLMARK movies "calm her down." Like you, I rarely watch them. Too predictable for my tastes.

Rick Robinson said...

I've got nothing. Watched football on Thanksgiving, but that dinner was a disaster, less said the better. Watched more football over the next days. Can't find anything which pleases me to read, I've tried a half dozen books, nothing satisfies. So things are pretty blah here. As usual, Barbara watches tons of news.

pattinase (abbott) said...

This has been a very difficult holiday, Rick. You are not alone in feeling like this.
I wish a Hallmark movie would work for me but they don't.

TracyK said...

We had ham, not turkey. My son makes a special mashed potatoes dish that is really the star of the dinner and Glen makes corn bread.

I only tried to cook turkey once close to 40 years ago, and then we started visiting our friends in San Jose every year at Thanksgiving for many many years. And when we started doing our own small Thanksgiving we experimented with other things like roasts and ham. At Christmas my husband makes spaghetti and on New Year's day we have Hoppin' John with black-eyed peas for good luck, a Southern tradition.

We started watching THE GOOD PLACE this week. Also watched a lot of movies in the last week.

I agree with Jerry that Short Story Wednesday has encouraged me to get into a lot of the short story books in our house and discover new or forgotten authors.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Speaking of short stories, I finally finished the COMPLETE SHORT STORIES of F. Scott Fitzgerald, near 150 stories from 1909 (when he was 13) to his death in 1940, with several posthumously published stories. It was one of those things I felt compelled to push on to the end. Not sure what I will tackle next, though I may go back to the Henry James stories, which I started in the Library of America collection some years ago. I now have his complete collection - novels, stories, criticism, travel books - on the Kindle.

Mathew Paust said...

Jeff, I expect Fitzgerald would roll in his grave if he knew stuff he wrote at 13 was published. Do you suppose editors played with those early stories a tad?

David Cranmer said...

I do believe the president-elect is worlds better and by June, with vaccines available, we shall be in a better place as a country. Of course, we need to stay healthy and make it to that goal line. And we didn't have turkey this year. Needed a break.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Love The Good Place.
Did they hold up , Jeff?
Hope it is earlier than June or our death toll will top a million.
Amazing they had stories from thirteen although I have Megan’s.

Jeff Meyerson said...

The Pat Hobby stories he wrote at the end were actually pretty good, so I'd say yes.

I don't remember the early ones, however.

pattinase (abbott) said...

The only ones I have read at all recently are THE DIAMOND AS BIG AS THE RITZ and BERNADETTE BOBS HER HAIR.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Those are definitely two of the most memorable. There was also "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."

pattinase (abbott) said...


Kevin R. Tipple said...

Still here as well....cooked my first Turkey this years I tried to bring back a little normalcy. It did pretty well.

Hiding at home and awaiting the return of a number of restrictions come back late week as the case counts are soaring here. Hoping they can keep curbside pickup going as we roll back.

Gerard Saylor said...

Thanksgiving for my family had the same limitations with just the four of us. I did enjoy not having to cram extra friends and family into our dining room. Our old house has small rooms.

My father passed away November 7th - hoky smokes, that is almost a month ago. I am very thankful I was able to be there with my mother and I was then able to stay for a full week. No funeral or memorial. We'll plan something post-pandemic.

Of course, my mother is now alone in the house. Many people call and email her but it's not the same as having people visit. I now have a better understanding of your situation, Patti.

I'm still not reading but am listening to audiobooks. I listen to them as walking back and forth from work and with the dog. I also lie in bed and play a mindless video game as I listen to a book. A issue with audiobooks is that I only listen to one book at a time. When I am reading I will have a couple books going.

The current choice is one of Ken Bruen's JACK TAYLOR novels. I enjoyed the TV film versions quite a bit and now think of Taylor entirely as actor Iain Glen. But, Bruen's written Taylor is so much more alcoholic and violent than the TV version.