Monday, April 19, 2021

Still Here

In Michigan the virus is bad enough now that two-year olds are supposed to wear masks. I think that this is going to put them in a therapist chair twenty five years from now, but what can we do? If only their fathers would get their shots or wear their masks. Only 40% of men are getting shots compared to 60% of women. Now part of this is because the early shots went to school teachers and health care workers who are mostly women. But still. Then I read an article in SLATE that basically said wearing a mask outside (unless the street is very crowded) in  pretty unnecessary. Who knows and it seems like the medical profession has no idea either. 

Watching THE ACCIDENT on Hulu, which is pretty scary. Also scary is the Swedish doc series on HBO, PRAY, OBEY, KILL. Until COVID I never knew how many cults there were in the world. Why are so many documentarians attracted to cults?

And the scariest of all was QUO VADIS, AIDA on Hulu, a nominee for best foreign film. It's about the slaughter by the Bosnian Serbs of the people of Srebreneca in 1995. Mankind is just hard to like most of the time. 

Still really enjoying the Mike Nichols biography. I have two books to pick up at the library because the six hundred unread books on my shelves never seem to get read. It's sort of like when I was a teenager and always liked the boy I wasn't dating. What does get read is my bookclub books though. We discuss BUDDHA IN THE ATTIC, Tuesday night. Next comes THE OVERSTORY.

Got to see Megan interview Willie Vlautin this week. Most of these interviews end up on you tube a few days later so if you are interesting in any author on a virtual book tour you can catch him/her that way. I think these interviews work very well, better than seeing the author just talk about their book at a bookstore. Megan, a big Vlautin fan, knew the book so well, it was like a college class. A lot of writers are not particularly good at just giving a book talk but by having another author interview them and discuss the book, it really becomes vivid. 

Now play readings I have been watching are less successful in many cases. Most plays need movement and some costume changes and scenery to succeed. Also some actors are much better than others at not seeming to read the script. 

Enough about me, what about you?


Steve A Oerkfitz said...

In my apartment building we had about 200 (out of about 240) people vaccinated. A few may have been vaccinated elsewhere, a few were out of town, a few are Trump supporters and are anti vaccination.
I will have to check those programs out on Hulu. I have recorded Pray, Obey, Kill from HBO.
Watched the first episode of Mare of Easttown on HBO tonight and thought it pretty good. Been watching a lot of baseball. Tigers sweep Houston who had just swept Oakland. Then Detroit got swept by Oakland. It will be a long season.
Read Willy Vlautin's The Free which I liked a lot. He writes about working class people very well. I will check out the interview on Youtube. Finishing up The With a Clock for a Heart by peter Swanson. This will be the fourth book of his I have read. Just got his newest one from the library.
Four inches of snow coming Tuesday night. But the daytime temps will be too high for it to stay around very long.
Have a good week everyone.

Jerry House said...

All the news about gun violence sickens me. Congress seems afraid to do anything about it, kowtowing to the gun lobby and much of the GOP base. Mitch McConnell is a two-faced !@#$% and he and his ilk seem hellbent on destroying the country. Biden dreams and reaches big and has the support of the majority of the country, Republicans included, but the politicians are listening to their campaign chests and their diminishing base rather than to the people. Ptah!
Don't get me going. On to more pleasant things.

Amy turned 23 yesterday. After days of hard, pelting rain, the sun finally came out and we went to the beach. For the first time weeks we saw dolphins aplenty -- a large pod swam back and forth in front of us. I believe they were there to celebrate Amy's birthday. We officially celebrated her birthday last week with a family trip to the zoo and with sushi and fried cheesecake.

Today -- April 19 -- is Patriots Day, a holiday observed in five states, including my home state if Massachusetts. It commemorates then first battles of the Revolutionary War, including Lexington and Concord. It is also when the Boston Marathon is officially held. In recent years, it has been celebrated on the third Monday of April, but to my mind, April 19th is and will always be Patriot's Day. (Unless you live in Charlestown where it is called Bunker Hill Day, or live in the small town of Acton where they celebrate Crown Resistance Day.)

Watched the second season of NOS4R2. It's a bit soap opera-ish and they had to make up a few things to keep the plot going, but was a fairly effective show. Also watched NIGHT WATCH, a comedy about four night watchmen and a bosomy girl versus a plague of vampires -- surprisingly good.

Started on another John Creasey kick and have read five of his Patrick Dawlish thrillers of the past week. I have no desire to slow down at this point -- I have about thirty unread Creasey novels on hand and will probably read another five or ten of them before I am distracted by some other bright, shiny books. I'm still filling in my reading with short stories, this week mainly golden Age detective stories.

Mark's birthday is this week. He'll be 21. Where does the time go?

I have to schedule for major dental surgery this week and am not happy about it. Happy though that some long-lasting problems will finally be resolved.

One thing that is not a long-lasting problem is wishing you a fantastic week ahead, something that I am gladly doing now, Patti. Stay safe. Stay well.

Margot Kinberg said...

I really wish people would get vaccinated, too, Patti. I hope this all eases soon... In the meantime, Megan's interview sounds great. I'm glad you got the chance to see it.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Hi, all. And Happy Birthday where appropriate. Around here, at least, I compare it to seat belt compliance, in that the longer time goes on, the more people seem to be wearing masks even in the streets. Earlier on, people out walking their dogs or just jogging rarely wore one, but even that has changed for the better. Steve says snow on Tuesday. Here Tuesday is the nicest, warmest day of the week - 74 and sunny is the latest forecast - and Jackie is planning luncheon outdoors, possibly Polish or Greek food.

That HBO documentary is exactly the kind of thing we avoid. Reading the newspapers and watching the local news is bad enough. We did watch part 3 of HEMINGWAY. I guess it is too obvious to say the man had his demons, but the drinking probably had a lot to do with it. Mary Welsh should never have married him.

WHat are we watching instead of killer cults? ERNEST & CELESTINE, an absolutely delightful animated movie from France (dubbed by Forrest Whitaker and others) about a bear and a mouse who become best friends against all the odds. It was nominated for an Oscar as Best Animated Feature in 2013 but lost to FROZEN, though I'd take this one over that any day. How often do you get to describe something as charming?

The first two episodes of ATLANTIC CROSSING were tight and tense, but now that Princess Martha and her children have made it to America and the story is more about her flirtation with Franklin Roosevelt, it felt draggy to me. Lots of good actors in MARE OF EASTTOWN, but I felt they went out of their way to make it as dark and downbeat as possible. Still, I'll keep watching. Watched the third MURDER BY THE LAKE (German-Austrian). I like the cop duo. We finally started watching the first series of HANNA and liked it a lot more than I expected to, after seeing the movie.

Mostly doing a lot of reading. The latest Antonya Nelson collection (IN THE LAND OF MEN) is the least of the four I've read this year. THE COOK OF THE HALCYON was the penultimate book in Andrea Camilleri's Insp. Salvo Montalbano series, and these last two are just not close to the earlier ones. But then, you have to take into consideration that he was over 90 when he wrote them. I mostly liked RANDOM ROAD, the first in Thomas Kies's series about Connecticut reporter (and alcoholic) Geneva Chase. Lastly I read Richard Marsten (Evan Hunter)'s DANGER: DINOSAURS! from 1953, one of his earliest books, written for the Winston Science Fiction series. It's basically a time travel book (they don't explain how it works) back 100 million years to the Jurassic. Of course, these were written for the teenage boy market and fairly simplistic, but Hunter keeps the story moving and I read it very quickly.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Steve-I have LEAN ON ME, MOTEL LIFE and his new one THE NIGHT WILL COME if you want to borrow them. All three were great.
Is the Night Watch on HULU. Jerry.
Will try Ernestine although I usually have trouble with animated shows. Don't know why.
I watched THE GRADUATE yesterday. The movie-making held up well but I can't imagine what Elaine sees in Benjamin.

Jeff Meyerson said...

I think Ernest & Celestine is on Netflix.

George said...

Snow is in the forecast for Wednesday. But the Big News is the announcement our BROADWAY SERIES at Shea's Theater will open in the Fall. Here's what they're offering:

Disney’s "Frozen,” Sept. 10-24. Musical version of the popular Disney animated film.

“Tootsie,” Oct. 10-16. Musical loosely based on Dustin Hoffman’s 1982 comedy.

“Pretty Woman – The Musical,” Nov. 30 to Dec. 5. Director Garry Marshall and screenwriter J.F. Lawton wrote this musical based off their 1990 Cinderella-like rom-com that turned Julia Roberts into a star.

“Hamilton,” Dec. 14, 2021 to Jan. 2, 2022. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical about American founding father Alexander Hamilton returns after its successful 2018 run here.

“Oklahoma!,” Feb. 15-20, 2022. Tony Award-winning revival of 1943 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical is reimagined with a darker tone.

“My Fair Lady,” March 1-6. The Lincoln Center revival of Lerner & Loewe’s musical about a linguistics professor who bets he can transform a young Cockney flower seller into a lady.

“Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird,” March 27 to April 2. Richard Thomas ("The Waltons") stars in Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.

“Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations,” May 10-15, 2022. The story of the legendary Motown group and its rise from the streets of Detroit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Rescheduled plays:

“The Band’s Visit,” Nov. 2-7. After a mixup at the border, an Egyptian police band is sent to a remote village in the middle of the Israeli desert.

“Escape to Margaritaville,” Nov. 16-21. Musical comedy based off the songs of Jimmy Buffett.

“Anastasia," April 19-24, 2022. A young woman sets out to solve the mystery of her past.

I watch plays on my TV and computer, but I'd rather see them live. Stay safe!

pattinase (abbott) said...

A great lineup, George. Maybe I will fly to Buffalo because I haven't seen a list here.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Nice lineup, George. Let me warn you of one thing, though. Escape to Margaritaville was pretty weak. Jackie was the one who wanted to see it, but she wanted to leave at intermission. The second half was actually a little more entertaining. The Band's Visit was terrific. The latest revival of My Fair Lady was excellent too. I'd like to see Ain't Too Proud.

We have our Saturday Night Britbox night. Now that we've finished all of Midsomer Murders (the new series is dropping the first two episodes tonight, so we will watch one on Saturday) and Morse and Lewis, our current Saturday lineup is: Death in Paradise (series 10), Kavanagh Q.C. (which John Thaw was doing concurrently with the last series of Morse), and the original Upstairs, Downstairs (we're on series two). We had really enjoyed seeing Tutti Frutti at our friends' home when it first ran (Robbie Coltrane, Emma Thompson), but we finally gave up watching it halfway through this time.

Rick Robinson said...

After such pleasant Spring days we suddenly went into the 80s on Friday and it was hot through the weekend, too hot for me! Back in the mid-high 70s this week, thank goodness. I have trouble sleeping when it's hot.

We watched Ken Burns' HEMINGWAY and enjoyed it. I'm reading one or two of his short stories each week. I finished SEVENTY-SEVEN CLOCKS by Christopher Fowler, the third Bryant & May novel. I thought the basic premise was a stretch, but enjoyed the characters and setting, as usual. I have the next in the series ready to go after I read some other things.

I reread Sterling North's RASCAL last week and found the ending deeply moving. I first read it soon after it was published (I was in high school) and liked it a lot, but had not reread it until now. It's the story of a boy and his pet raccoon, Rascal, and the book has a cover and a handful of marvelous illustrations by John Schoenherr.

Now reading ISLAND IN THE SKY by Manly Wade Wellman, an SF novel from 1960, which is okay if a bit predictable. Then I'll dig into some short stories. I came across an episode of VERA and enjoyed it. That's it. Hope you stay safe and content.

George said...

Patti and Jeff: We are subscribers to the entire BROADWAY series. Once in a while, we'll give tickets away to friends if there's something we're not eager to see.

Patti, we would be delighted to have you come to Buffalo for a visit! We have a guest bedroom and we all could go to a play together!

pattinase (abbott) said...

SO nice of you to ask, George. Probably a lot of those plays will be coming here too. I will have to take a look.
We sure haven't gotten close to 80, Rick. Not even 70. And it is supposed to snow tomorrow night. FOur inches.

Steve A Oerkfitz said...

Patti-I will probably read more of Vlautin but plan to space them out.
I forgot to mention a great documentary running on CNN-The People V the Klan.
George-A musical of Pretty Woman? Sounds god awful. Hated that movie.

Jeff Meyerson said...

My favorite comment on the Buffett musical was from one of the NYTimes reviewers, who suggested the show should have been named Escape FROM Margaritaville.

Todd Mason said...

Been treating myself to 2020 annuals, as I noted in my SSW review...BEST BRITISH SHORT STORIES and BEST AMERICAN, the last Penzler/Slung BEST AM MYSTERY (finally back to two annuals in crime fiction again this year), the four horror annuals I'm aware of, the three sf and sf/fantasy annuals I've picked up (the one that's only on audiobook I've not chosen to pursue, and Rich Horton's sf/fantasy has been delayed by its publisher--wonder if, like Stephen Jones's horror volume, it will be on a consistent two-year delay going forward), and the PUSHCART. Since there was no O.HENRY, I finally picked up the 100th anniversary final Linda Furman volume. Might yet pick up the ESSAYS and SCIENCE AND NATURE, maybe also the POETRY. Wonder if the pandemic will boost or suppress sales of TRAVEL WRITING. Pity HM Harcourt has killed several I liked, including NON-REQURED READING and COMICS.

Also scattered other books. Will have to subscribe to some of my more recondite magazines, given B&N's lack of support. And depend on the DeJoyless USPS to not delay them forever or tear them apart.

CONDOR and CITY ON A HILL remain impressive; the cast in MARE OF EASTTOWN is also, as noted above, but the pilot seems a bit more condescending toward its down-and-out town-dwellers than, say, HIGHTOWN's portrayal of similar coastal folk, albeit in a more urban setting. I kind of suspect HIGHTOWN got this one greenlit, along with who they managed to cast. I'll stick with it.

Cult documentary series strung out at length are the "more intellectual" "reality" shows. And the HBO items sure seem self-indulgent when not also trying to excuse the behavior of key enablers, at least. I'm not sure the current influx of other sorts of true-crime doc series on the pay channels is notably more healthy nor less dull. Certainly I'LL BE GONE IN THE DARK was way the hell drawn out, for example, and some of the participants as taped got on my nerves.

Off to go get some reasonably important things done, such as an audiologist appt. for my improving but still bad left ear, and the second (grr) appt. to get my Toyota's passenger airbag all the way fixed. And paying the bills. And.

Better weeks, weatherwise at very least, for everyone ahead (we're getting a cold snap here, but no spring snow forecast), and I might be joining Jerry in enjoying dental ministrations soonly. Ah, joy. (And happy belated birthday to the relatively young one, Jerry...)

And, as Harlan Ellison hasn't been the only one to note, who wants a library made up only of books one has already read?

Todd Mason said...

And, damn, George, aren't a Whole Lot of those musicals, at very least, way too keyed to what has been a commercially successful film? (Even some of the stage classic revivals had clangorous films to help keep them in memory. But theater people gotta eat, too.)

The report that an Evan Hunter story, even one he probably didn't have too much invested in (or the opposite), has gaping holes in it is never surprising to me...

pattinase (abbott) said...

Keep meaning to look for CONDOR. City on a Hill, I think is Showtime, which I don't get or maybe Sundance.

Todd Mason said...

Patti, did you ever listen to the Caedmon and other recordings of full-text plays (some reissued desultorily by Harper Audio when they bought the Caedmon catalog), or listen to the radio adaptations? You might remember I'm a fan of them, generally...but I don't remember if you ever dug into them (for a while, I recall that listening at the computer to podcasts was not engaging for you).

Todd Mason said...

CITY ON A HILL is Showtime. If you end up adding Paramount Plus, you'll have 'em. SHAMELESS (US) ended well, if utterly unsurprisingly a bit sadly. CONDOR and the mostly clever and engaging PENNYWORTH are on Epix, and I'm not sure who might be streaming them if you don't have it on your cable array. (Verizon gouges us to the tune of $220/mo for internet, phone and cable...will probably do something in that direction soon.)

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yeah, I tried to listen to a play that way on Saturday and just couldn't hack it anymore. I know I can probably stream things onto my TV but have yet to figure it out. Perhaps another year of Covid and I will. I listen to podcasts on my iphone as I walk or clean. Today I am cleaning the very dirty grout on my very large floor so I have gone through a bunch.

TracyK said...

Two things I am very excited about: My husband will retire in 46 days, and my son got his first vaccine short on Friday.

I am still reading all the unfinished books I mentioned last week: SOHO OVER SUNSET (a read along, so it will take me another two weeks); POST CAPTAIN by Patrick O'Brian; EX LIBRIS by Anne Fadiman. I am close to finishing the Fadiman book, trying to read it slowly. I will have to find another book by her soon. I did just finish reading HALLOWE'EN PARTY by Christie, my next to last Poirot to read. Not as good as most of them, one of the last few she wrote. But still fun.

Coming up I am planning to read: THE MIRROR AND THE LIGHT (Hilary Mantel); THE PURSUIT OF LOVE by Nancy Mitford; and get back to finishing some fiction and nonfiction I took a break from.

Not watching anything new and exciting on streaming or DVD.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Congrats to Mr K. And you Mr. K junior. It is a real relief to feel that needle go into your arm. My library got me THE DARK HOUSE. Anxious to read it. (Hope that is the title. I am too lazy to go to the living room and check).

Gerard Saylor said...

I'm glad to everyone has been able to get their vaccinations.

Boy #1 has yet to announce a college choice but leans heavily to MN. Boys #1 and #2 walked around the UW- Madison campus on Sunday so he could see evertyhing. The campus is still limited to virtual guided tours.

My wife and and I corralled the boy into discussing school and tuition and financial aid. I suppose it is just as well so many out of state school turned him down. IL tuition would be $50k a year paid in loans. They only offered $1,000 a semester in aid. I presume they give much more to IL residents. At the end of a meeting last night, when things were wrapping up, someone asked if there was anything else to cover I said, "I can talk about the college search." A different Board member gave a very firm, "No."

I've been watching DOOM PATROL on HBO. A DC Comics series with a comedic touch. ZERO ZERO ZERO in Prime has been decent with a family owned shipping company moving drugs from Colombia to Mexico to Italy.

Todd Mason said...

Even when I was most interested in universities (ca. 1982), in-state tuition was still zero for UC Berkeley and already a few thousand a year for out-of-staters such as myself...I opted for $317/yr instate at the University of Hawaii. The most expensive I ended up paying was $3k per year at George mason University in Fairfax, VA (I paid about a third+ of my college tuition, texts and fees, my parents the other almost 2/3rds).

DOOM PATROL when it was first introduced by DC in the '60s was a fairly amusing team of weird heroes; revived in the '80s with sophisticated and intentionally surreal scripting by Grant Morrison and then Rachel Pollack as part of DC's Vertigo line (alongside Gaiman's SANDMAN and all the rest) was always good to read. Wasn't aware that (HBO Max?) has a series...will look out for it.

Gerard Saylor said...

The DOOM PATROL series is relatively new. IMDB listed 2019 as the first year.

Tuition costs are a perennial discussion. In Wisconsin state support has dropped for universities and tuition cost was frozen.

Todd Mason said...

That definitely happens when the governor for any time at all was a man who both looked and acted regularly as if he had just been struck on the head by a forcefully deployed 2x4.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Late to the party as always.....morning everyone.

The very cool weather has helped us in my part of Texas as we avoided severe weather. Looks like that is back on the table for Friday as the risk levels are back on the map and confusing as always.

Looks like fifty percent of the population here of both genders is not vaccinating. Which is scary enough, but early news reports of the new BV1 or Brazos Valley 1 variant which combines four mutant variants together--one is a piece of the UK deal and three are totally unknown to researchers-- found in a student at Texas A&M is very worrisome.

I may have mentioned this before, but I live across the street from a Trump supporter and his wife. On all other aspects of life, he is normal, but totally deranged on all political things. Used to watch FOX NEWS and has now switched to NEWSMAX because godless liberals have ruined FOX. (How is not explained--- this is just issued as a statement of fact) He was going to get vaccinated. No longer as he believes that the vaccine is designed to kill fifty percent of the population in the next year to get folks off the Social Security rolls as a fix to that broken system. He told me this on the night I came back with Scott after being vaccinated with the J&J shot. Laughing out loud as I leaned on my cane in the middle of the street was not appreciated by him or his wife.

Dallas Public Library is now longer quarantining books as of yesterday and intends to reopen to patrons on May 4rth. Up to 25 patrons will be allowed in at a time. Some computer usage will be allowed so the old men that get on the computers to look at Russian brides are in luck again.

Whether or not to wear a mask in public seems to be somewhat in contention these days. While we are now--allegedly--fully vaccinated, the plan here is to continue wearing the masks and doing all the safety stuff we have been doing all along. Better safe than sorry. Life is hard enough these days without that damn virus thing too.

Gerard Saylor said...

Todd, if you're thinking of a certain Wisconsin Governor you are on target. As was the 2X4.

Kevin, at one point our library was quarantining for four days. We are only at a 24 hour wait because our workflow has changed so much by shuffling around our service desk location. I still get suprised when I hear of someone who is kind, caring, active in the community, so on, so forth, is on the opposite political side. But, following vaccine paranoia is beyond the pale. To me it is a reminder that anyone can be conned.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Sometimes I forget to come back here after Monday.
Even in Michigan I think we are under 60% Kevin, If we vaccinate most of the under 16s, we might get it up to 75% I guess.
I think Gerard's son should go to the most affordable school. All of the ones he's considering are top-notch. Megan didn't pick U of Michigan till the last minute and ended up loving it. My son picked it at birth and loved it.
My parents didn't talk money with me until it was clear they could no longer afford the school I enrolled in.