Monday, January 25, 2021

Still Here


There is a scene in Ma Rainey that looks so much like this one of my grandfather's jazz band from 100 years ago. Except the faces here are all white instead of black. This was Al Deisseroth's band out of Syracuse. My grandfather was the drummer. In both, the pianist is standing. I guess that was common then.

Hope that by noon today, I have been inoculated with the first dose of one of the vaccines. I hear some sites are running out of vaccines so fingers crossed. 

The Criterion Channel has some of the films of Bertrand Tavernier this month, which I have always loved. So far I have rewatched A Week's Vacation and A Sunday in the Country. Both were outstanding although certainly not happy films. But thoughtful ones where an old man (Sunday) and a young woman (Week's) examine choices they have made.


Also watched Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, which was terrific. Especially Chadwick Boseman. One monologue by him just brings his plight as both a character and a dying man home. It still had the feel of a play rather than a movie, but I love plays so it didn't bother me.

Also finally got my nerve up and started A Handmaid's Tale. It seemed too prescient up until now.

Also watching Flack with Anna Pacquin. Too soon to judge, but I have always thought her an interesting actor.

Reading The Wife Upstairs which is a reimagining of Jane Eyre. I have to assume the author had something specific in mind when two of her main characters are named Bertha and Bea. Very hard to remember which is which. Also reading The Creak in the Stairs, set in Iceland, and I am too lazy to look up the author. 

What are you up to?


Steven A Oerkfitz said...

Good luck on your vaccine. Got my first shot Thursday. No side effects.
I think the only Tavernier film I have seen is In the Electric Mist which was vased on a James Lee Burke novel. Tavernier is apparently a big Burke fan. The movie was so-so but Tommy Lee Jones was well cast.
Finished Made Me about the making of Goodfellas so I had to watch that again for about the 20th time. Also watched a Irish movie on Netflix called Calm With Horses which was good. Also watched the first episode of Lupin on Netflix. A French series. Will probably watch more.
Started Grave's End by William Shaw. A British writer who's books I like. And a few short stories by James Tiptree, Jr which are rereads.
Getting yet another shot in the left eye today and another in the right in two weeks. They are helping, but slowly.

Roger Allen said...

Round Midnight is a fine Tavernier film about jazz, based on the lives of Lester Young and Bud Powell. Well worth seeing.

Margot Kinberg said...

I didn't know you had a music connection in your family, Patti! That's fantastic. And I love jazz. I hope you'll get your shot soon. I'm still waiting to find out when it'll be available here.

Jerry House said...

I hope you are able to get the vaccination today. We need about 200,000,000 vaccinated to begin to climb out of this pandemic. First, we will have to undo and re-do all th damge the previous administraion has done.

My beautiful, smart niece (they all are, but this time it's Sarah) is expecting her first baby in March, so yesterday their was a zoom baby shower. We saw a lot of people we hadn't seen in years and a great time has had by all. Every one laughed a lot. Sarah looks and feels great. She's planning a home birth for her handsome, smart, talented son.

We spent two hours in the rain Saturday waiting for Jack to be tested for Covid. This was required because he has a sedated MRI scheduled for today, a test he has undergone before. He has a possible chiari malformation (where part of the skull presses down on the brain, forcing part into the spinal column), something we have been keeping an eye on for years, watching how his skull grows. If the malformation does develop (and it's been a tossup so far), an operation can solve the problem. It doesn't seem to affect him -- nothing does -- and he remains an active, happy, curious young boy.

I'm still trying to control my inner rage about the Capitol Hill riot adn the many events that ran up to it. The GOP enablers are trying to shift their positions, pretending all is normal, while still supporting Trump's Republican party. I hope all Americans remember the things they did either for political expedience or for their own vile beliefs. It seems a 50-50 chance the Senate will vote to convict Trump. **sigh**

Finshed watching the four season of LINE OF DUTY, a British show about a police anti-corruption unit. Well-played and well-acted with a lot of twists and turns. The fifth season is not avaiable yet. Then we watched an unrelated Aaron Eckhart movie of the same title. this one was a by-the-books thriller of a lone cop trying to rescue a little girl before she is killed by a drugged-up villain. So-so watchable buit nothing to write home about. Currently watching the Danish EQUINOX about a reporter trying to find out what happened when her sister and over twenty others vanished. It's kind of a mashup of THE WICKER MAN and STRANGER THINGS, with nudity.

Not much reading this week, a few short stories and finishing Thorne Smith's DID SHE FALL? (my FFB). I've been working my way through Talbot Mundy's QUEEN CLEOPATRA, a longish historical adventure novel about political machinations in ancient Egypt with Julius Caesar playing a major role. This one includes Mundy's famous character Tros of Samothrace and serves as a bridge between his books TROS OF SAMATHRACE (a massive 949-page doorstop) and THE PURPLE PIRATE, in which Tros woos Cleopatra's sister. QUEEN CLEOPATRA is a very interesting read, but dense, very dense.

Weather here has remained cool (we did not beach this weekend, bah!). I seem to have come out of Covid with a steady cough and will have that checked ouot this week. I also broke a blood vessel in my left eye somehow, so I'm now able to scare small children by looking at them with my bloody eye. Fun.

I hope your week will also be full of fun and good things, Patti. Stay safe, stay well, get vaccinated.

Jeff Meyerson said...

That is a great picture. We loved Ma Rainey. Boesman deserves an Oscar.

Congratulations on the vaccine! New York is basically out of it, most places that had some have had to cancel their appointments because they ran out, and the city and state governments (it seems to me) are way more worried about political correctness than about just GETTING MORE VACCINES. What good is worrying about making sure enough "black and brown people" get a shot that you don't have to give? And, apparently, a lot of black people don't want it. Fine, give it to me.

Weather has turned cold after three weeks of warmer than normal temperatures, but it's January, right? As long as we don't get big snowstorms I can deal with that. Mostly just the same old, same old here - grocery store, hair and nail salon (no, not me), restaurants to pick up food, reading and watching television.

We rented (on Amazon, for $2.99) a 2014 Israeli movie, Zero Motivation, which reminded me (funnily enough) of movies like OFFICE SPACE. It's the bureaucracy, stupid. It is about a group of young women draftees in the Israeli Army for two years, doing paperwork and other administrative chores out in the middle of nowhere. The two main characters are Zohar, the depressed virgin who spends her time going for a new record on Minesweeper, and Daffi, in charge of shredding papers and determined to get a transfer to Tel Aviv at any cost. I enjoyed it, as we've enjoyed most Israeli things we watched. We also finished MEKIMI, which left you to find out what happened to the couple afterwards, which we now know was a divorce after 20 years and seven children together. While we're waiting for the new series of SHTISEL (which I believe is finished), Jackie said we should rewatch the final episode of SRUGIM, which we did.

Still watching 30 COINS and THE BREAK (Belgian) and THE GOOD PLACE (at the end of series two) and SCHITT'S CREEK and RITA, along with a few network shows.

FLACK is on our list, though we haven't started it yet. Watched the second (and last, for me) episode of MISS SCARLET AND THE DUKE (on PBS). Jackie likes it. I don't, emphatically, but I will spare you my objections other than to say there is nothing I do like about it. The new ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL is comfort viewing. Still watching MORSE. I think I prefer LEWIS, to be honest. Mainly enjoyable to see how many guest stars we recognize. Last week it was a younger, thinner (this series was from early 1992) Michael Kitchen. This week it was a young, thin, blonde Sean Bean (with an earring) as well as Richard (ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE) Wilson, Diana (BRIDESHEAD REVISITED) Quick, Jim Broadbent, a younger, blonde (rather than white) Phil Davis, and Jonathan Firth, who calls himself Colin Firth's "more handsome and witty younger brother."

Speaking of Richard Wilson, we've started watching (we saw it once, at our friend's house in England, more than 30 years ago) TUTTI FRUTTI, with a hugely fat Robbie Coltrane, a young (27) Emma Thompson (in one of the roles that made her a star), and Wilson as sleazy agent Eddie Clockerty. If you can get the Scottish accents, it's fun. Just when The Majestics is readying their 25th Anniversary Tour, lead singer Big Jazza dies in a car accident while going out for kebabs. His newly arrived (from New York) younger brother Danny (both played by Coltrane) is picked to replace him on the tour.

George said...

Buffalo Bills fans had their hearts broken again when they lost the AFC Championship Game to the Kansas City Chiefs 38-24. So close to the Super Bowl...yet so far.

Several of our friends are expressing "vaccine envy" because Diane and I got our Moderna shots last week. Both Erie County and Niagara County ran out of vaccine and had to cancel scheduled appointments. The people turned away were very angry!

Winter cold moved into Western NY for a week. Snow is in the forecast for tomorrow. But, all in all, this hasn't be a bad winter so far.

Hope you get your Covid-19 shot!

Jeff Meyerson said...

Steve, the publishers drive me crazy with William Shaw. Most of his titles are changed over here. GRAVE'S END = LOW PLACES. But I have one earlier one yet to read (DEADLAND). I like his writing a lot.

Steve Oerkfitz said...

Jeff-I had to get Grave's End through Amazon but it was a bit pricey since it doesn't yet have an American edition.
Patti-I have seen Round Midnight. Forgot it was him.

Jeff Meyerson said...

I got DEADLAND from ABE for $5.50.

Jeff Meyerson said...

COUP DE TORCHON (aka CLEAN SLATE) - which I haven't seen - was Tavernier's adaptation of Jim Thompson's POP. 1280. It was changed from the American South to French West Africa. Philippe Noiret starred, with Isabelle Huppert and Stephane Audran.

Rick Robinson said...

I’ll make it simple by saying I’ve watched none of the many things mentioned by you or others here. Don’t know where I’d even find them, though I’ve a hundred channels of worthless junk. We thought of signing up for Discovery Plus, but turns out we can only stream it if we have certain brands of TV, and Sony isn’t one. That’s crazy! I’m not going to pay $6 month to watch some shows on the tablet!

Covid vaccine: not much chance here. Oregon is either the lowest or second-lowest (to TN) in getting shots to people. The governor decided to do all health care and “front line” people first (that’s fine), then, because parents are clamoring to get kids back in school, every educator, staff member, janitor, service person, etc. in the state, including substitutes, BEFORE any seniors. Then, they’ll start with 80 and above, then 75 (me) and above, and on down in 5 year increments. The timeline looks like mid late February, more likely mid-March for me, April for Barbara. Provided there is even vaccine, and I’m not wanting the J&J if I have a say as it’s only about 65% effective. So, good luck to those who got or may get it, but it sure won’t be us.

Reading: after 2/3 of E.B. WHITE ON DOGS, a book of his letters and essays, library books came in, so I’ve now started THE THURSDAY MURDER CLUB, which is okay but hasn’t grabbed me. Also waiting is THE RAT BEGAN TO GNAW THE ROPE, by C.W. Grafton (Sue Grafton’s father). But who knows? I never seem to know what I want to read anymore.

Stay safe and warm (cold, wet, possible snow here), Patti. Hope you get your shots.

TracyK said...

I amazed that you even have an appointment for a shot... and I hope it happens. And that others here have gotten their first short.

Here, it doesn't seem to be that organized. A hospital nearby is scheduling shots for those over 75, but we are not that old, so haven't called. The process seems to be disorganized and haphazard in LA also.

I am reading MASTER AND COMMANDER now. I have been checking out some short stories but not having much luck today. My eyes are bothering me, don't know why.

Rick Robinson said...

As for my health, I’m very slowly improving, the meds changes have caused my blood pressure to fall, but they have yet to take me off b.p. Meds. After my hospital visit, I have several new doctors, none of whom seem able to communicate with the others, though you can bet they’ll know how to bill me! There is so much medical crap going on now, with labs, meds, Dr. Video visits, and so on! I’m sick of it.

Good thing is I have little appetite, and have lost a few pounds. My sweet tooth is raging, but I must deny. Instead of a muffin, I have green beans.

I have yet to get down the stairs, but hope to today or tomorrow.

Jeff Meyerson said...

My brother got his (in Portland) a few weeks ago because he is considered an "essential" worker for keeping a health related company going to keep others on the front line. I know a few people in New York (like the Kelleys) who have gotten shots, but the state is supposedly OUT of all vaccines - last I heard we were getting 250,000 per week and giving out 80,000 a day, so you do the math. We are definitely eligible, but no one has any and appointments have been canceled.

The shows we watch are on Netflix and Amazon Prime/Acorn/Britbox mostly, plus some on HBO or Showtime or on PBS. Also, I've recorded a bunch of movies (all of which we've seen before) off Turner Classic Movies.

TracyK said...

Rick, thanks for the update on your health. Doctors can be very frustrating. I am glad to hear you are improving even if it is taking a while.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I did get the shot and the process was very smooth and organized. The line was long but moved very fast with stations for paperwork, stations for giving the shot and stations for making the second date. I was more than impressed and outside in under an hour. This was through a hospital and they had literally hundreds of helpers, people just assuring you it would not take long.
Wish you all the same experience.
Just watched first episode of FALSE FLAG on Hulu which seemed good.
Sorry for all the troubles some of you are facing. Here it is anyone over 65. A friend in CA (48) was able to get her shot by going to a place at the end of the day when it is easy to get a shot they are going to have to toss.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I saw ROUND MIDNIGHT years ago had forgotten it was a BT film.
I would never have made it through this last year without TV. I can only read a few hours a day. What else is there to do? You are very grounded, Rick.

R.T. said...

Hope you do well with shots. Had my first two weeks ago. No side effects.

Steve Oerkfitz said...

Rick-I can get the Discovery streaming on my tv and it's a Sony. Maybe yours is an older model? I didn't get it because there is little on it I watch.

Gerard Saylor said...

First off, the bad news: Trump won't be convicted. He'll skate again. Hopefully history will remember what he really is.

Good news: Boy #1 turned 18 today. On Saturday we dropped off his Eagle Scout application and that was big relief. Right now he is in his room with a power drill. Something about fixing a chair armrest.

I watched seasons 1 and 2 of MIRACLE WORKERS on HBO Max with Daniel Radclife and Steve Buscemi. A fun show made for TBS and both seasons are completely different except for the cast.

I have a few books I need to read but have still been listening to audiobooks.
I started listening to A KISS BEFORE DYING. I'd not realized how prolific, influential, and long-lasting a writer Ira Levin was. I recognized his name but did not attach all his varied works to him.
I have a library copy of a John Farrow novel from his Emile Cinq-Mars series. His first Cinq-Mars novel, CITY OF ICE, was revelatory for me back in '99 or '00.

I'm glad to hear everyone here seems to be doing well and pulling through.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Ira Levin was one of my favorite writers growing up. And the Robert Wagner version of this novel is good. Matt Dylan not bad either.
I started the Miracle Worker and forgot all about it. So much today.
My arm is sore today but that is small potatoes.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Also, Ira Levin was only 24 when A KISS BEFORE DYING was published. It has one of the best mid-book surprise twists ever. It deservedly won him an Edgar Award for Best First Novel.

Gerard Saylor said...

I often avoid reading more famous novels because some don't age well. KISS is still very good.

I was about halfway through the book when I recalled the Matt Dillon movie. I'm pretty sure I watched that version after one of my many, many reads through one of Roger Ebert's film annuals. I wasn't that impressed with the film when I saw it, but the murder scene atop the roof stuck with me. Also the ending where the rich man's train cars runs along the killer's boyhood backyard.

Rick Robinson said...

So glad you got your vaccine shot and scheduled for the next. Good for you. I’m hoping to get one in a couple of months. I have labs tomorrow morning, several tests, the results of which I fear. There will probably be more food restrictions as my sugars are up, mostly from fruit. My blood pressure is also running low. I wish I could get all this balanced.

I guess I’ve never been a big TV watcher, except sports on weekends and some old movies. There’s nothing to watch during the day, and Barbara watches news 5:00 - 9:00 weekdays, and I hit the hay by 10:00, so...I read.

Todd Mason said...

Lil Hardin/Armstrong would sit at her piano in the Armstrong bands...I suspect standing pianists wanted to look and be kinetic, much in the manner of r&b and rock keyboardists in later decades.

If everybody doesn't tend to get the vaccine, very much including members of ethnic groups whose experience bad medical practice isn't so completely a thing of the past, then we don't get much in the way of coverage. My sister is very glum about (well, everything, and not altogether incomprehensibly) the mutant strains and how much they will extend this pandemic. As usual, good question as to what accurate figures we're seeing, and no very good sense of what might've made the Merck vaccine that much worse than all the others, and how the various available ones (and Johnson & Johnson's--with extra talc!) might be various in their effectiveness. We shall see. It's all that we don't reliably hear nor read, after all, that helps the spread of counterfactual insistences.

Glad your shots so far seem free of side effects, aside from Patti's sore arm. I'll see when New Jersey has a shot for me, and hope for the best.

Todd Mason said...

Ira Levin was probably the single greatest factor in horror becoming a consistently bestselling field of literature by the '70s, though there were plenty of others and not solely Stephen King nor even just King and Anne Rice. One can note how King's career pattern has kinda sorta spread around into paranoid sf stories and crime fiction from fairly early on much as Levin's did.

Gerard Saylor said...

I'm not much of a horror guy, and know little of the genre's history, but ROSEMARY'S BABY certainly was a huge deal.

Todd Mason said...

As were most of his novels.