Monday, January 17, 2022

Monday, Monday


If you've never seen his yearly tribute (David Erlich: I hadn'T) here is 2021.

I enjoyed the Signature Theater's tribute to Stephen Sondheim's music this weekend. It was on you tube for two days and they did quite a number of his most famous songs. Especially from MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG, which was a flop when first produced. In Merrily the characters age from old to young and as we speak Richard Linklater is making a movie where just that happens. Unfortunately the movie won't be out until 2040 when the young cast (Beanie Feldstein, Ben Platt) is old enough to play the older cast--must as he did with BOYHOOD. I saw one production at the Signature Theater (Arlington VA) in 2019 of ASSASSINS and enjoyed it but I knew very little about Sondheim then. The last two years have caught me up a bit.

Listened to GOODBYE COLUMBUS again. I have probably read this novella half a dozen times. It is a sort of touchstone to my youth. Also still reading HAMNET (excellent) and APPLES NEVER FALL by Liane Moriarty.

On TV I am watching the Jerry House recommended BEFOREIGNERS, which is very clever and YELLOW JACKETS, which I don't like as much as the reviews promised me I would. In my rewatch of CHEERS I am on the last season and after two great seasons, the last two have fallen off in quality. 

It has been very cold here but sunny and no snow in two weeks. Today it might be warm enough for a walk. I try to walk around my house to get some exercise but it is difficult. What do you do for exercise in the winter and what else are you doing? It must be great to be in FL or CA and be able to walk every day.


Steve A Oerkfitz said...

Got 100 pages into Anthem the new novel by Noah Hawley who's previous novel Before The Fall I liked a lot, but this new one just isn't keeping my interest so I'm moving on. Now I just started Torqued Man by Peter Mann.
On tv I binged American Rust which I liked but a bit of a downer. Also binged the third season of Yellowstone and Yellow Jackets. Watched Ray Donovan The Movie. Not as good as the series. It's amazing how much physical abuse Ray can take and still function.
As you mentioned-no snow. And none forcast this week.
For exercise I ride a stationary bike in our exercise room and occasionally use a treadmill. You won't catch me walking outdoors until the temps reach 50.
Also enjoying the new 3 cd set Toy from David Bowie and the new Elvis Costello.

Todd Mason said...

For indoor exercise, we have a treadmill and a "Jacob's Ladder" (essentially a moving ladder-climbing machine), though mostly I do chores and move books and magazines around (still trying to get back to even the greater order of the pre-roof collapse and the rescue of some storage boxes from the shallowly flooded basement the year before that). And, some weeks, most of my walking tends to be food shopping.

As I noted a while back, YELLOW JACKETS promos looked awful to me, and what I've sampled of the series since hasn't impressed me. I didn't hate the RAY DONOVAN wrap-up, but it was a bit rushed and didn't carry the weight of most of the series. CHEERS did get more rote as it went along...way too many series do.

Just mentioned on George's blog that we here (Philadelphia burbs in NJ) didn't get much snow, and the heavy rain which followed wiped that away PDQ. Even the winds weren't too fierce. The weather forecast even a day or two ago suggested correctly that both the shorelines and further inland than we are were going to get it much worse than we would.

Margot Kinberg said...

Glad you enjoyed the tribute to Sondheim, Patti. His work was fabulous and he is much missed.

Todd Mason said...

Ah, yes...I've been at least a casual fan of Sondheim since childhood encounters with WEST SIDE STORY and A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM...not his key work, but certainly his earliest big splashes.

Jerry House said...

I have found that the best exercise during the winter months is hibernation. I'm getting really good at that.

Saturday Mark ran his second ultramarathon. (His first was a year ago.) This time he did not train for it for various reasons having to do with school and social life, so we were a little bit concerned. The sign-in time was at 0-MyGod-100 early in the morning and it was cold. We were not able to go because Kitty was still suffering the effects of her chemo the day before. The race was run someplace a gazillion miles from civilization which meant no cell service so we could not be updated on how he was doing. The first 16 miles went well; the last sixteen were painful; the last four were in the rain. Mark completed the race in about eight hours, coming in 16th (out of 39 runners). He was very happy he made it to the finish line...also he was very sore. He's one of those who is determined to meet his goals.

Kitty's chemo appears to have reached a standstill -- her numbers are good but not great and have been steady over the past few months. Concerning but not serious. She's beginning a course of medicine in lieu of the chemo; with luck, that may push her system back on course. One problem with her anemia is that she is tired. Beautiful, but tired. Can't wait until this whole thing is behind us.

Yes, I do like BEFOREIGNERS. The whole interplay of cultures is done well with humorous effect. We also watched Marvel's THE ETERNALS. Too long, too diffuse, too many characters, too much everything. As a time waster it's not that bad, but without Marvel's heavy hand with CGI, the entire film would be only six minutes long. Also watched the second season of SECRETS AND LIES -- ** SPOILER ALERT** -- it's a downer for just about every character. We kept watching just to see how screwed each of the characters would be.

Finished Thorne Smith's SKIN AND BONES, a typical Smith with lots of drinking, lots of implied sex, and lots of (sometimes strained) laughs. I can see how it became a best-seller in the Thirties and also how it could be viewed as dated and non-PC for today's sophisticated audience. Since I have very little taste and even less woke-ness, I enjoyed it. 'MURDER WILL OUT' (my FFB last Friday) is an entertaining and necessarily brief and cursory study of the detective in mystery stories. Recommended for its scope more than its depth. Still reading a lot of short stories; finally finished Penzler's THE BIG BOOK OF CHRISTMAS MYSTERIES -- a great collection, as usual.

It's cold but sunny. Tornadoes hit Southwest Florida and not the Panhandle. We are safe and snug and hibernating.

Have a safe and snug week, Patti. Hibernating is a personal choice, although I recommend it.

Jerry House said...

P.S. Happy MLK Day!

George said...

We woke up to 18 inches of snow. Most of Western NY is shut down as the snowplows struggle to keep up with the still falling snow. North Tonawanda is under a Travel Ban...but who in their Right Mind would venture out in these conditions?

When the Pandemic shut down the Tonawanda Aquatic Center where I would go exercise in the Pool each day, Diane decided we needed a Recumbent Bike to keep us fit. We picked a model with a very comfortable seat and Diane and I ride it every day.

The Buffalo Bills defeated the New England Patriots and will play the Kansas City Chiefs next Sunday. Go Bills!

Stay safe!

pattinase (abbott) said...

I am about that stage with APPLES NEVER FALL, Steve. Does it become less time-wasting if you finish it? Some people have suggested that but it seems you are just wasting more time. I heard him on Elvis Mitchell's podcast yesterday and the book seemed to have a million characters.
Can you hibernate in FL, Jerry? I think you need another term. Hibernate seems to suggest cold.
Sorry Kitty is having such a hard time. So far my estrogen-blocking drugs has gone down pretty smoothly. But my friend taking one for lung cancer has some bad days.
Todd, how long have you been working on that house. What a nightmare. I thought seasons 6-8 of Cheers were very strong but then Rebecca becomes a cartoon figure as does Woody.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Congrats, George. The Bills did what the Lions can't do.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Yes, we do walk every day. No walking around the (Gardens) mall this year because too many Floridians are idiots and listen to Ron "I'd Rather Die than Protect Someone Else's Life" DeSantis and hss "Freedom!" anti-mask mandate. Still, depending on where you go, there are places where half or more so seem to be wearing masks. No movie theaters for us (at least not yet) and no Starbucks - our local branch is closed (for now?).

This week went from 81 and humid to the 60s with rain and cool breezes. We're fine with that (at least, as long as it's dry), and I've gotten several free car washes. We had brunch with my cousin from New York who now lives in Atlanta with a winter apartment in Boynton Beach. She was widowed last year after 9 years of a second marriage that was much happier than her first one. (Another cousin, much closer to us, and his wife will be down for the winter this week.) We ate outside that day and one other time, but we've mostly been eating indoors at wide open or mostly empty restaurants. There is a definite problem with staffing and customer hesitation. For instance, we ate at Carrabba's where there were only two other occupied tables. I know Broadway theaters are really suffering too.

Mostly we've been watching television - Netflix, Prime (and Britbox, MHz Choice, etc.) plus now Peacock, where we've started WOLF LIKE ME> I've always liked Isla Fisher.

Watched THE POWER OF THE DOG on Netflix. I liked it way more than Jackie did. Beautifully shot, and I suppose it would have benefited from the big screen. Man, that kid was skinny.

We started (it's been on our list for a while) the Swedish BORDERLINER, but so far it's putting me to sleep. I really liked ANXIOUS PEOPLE, the 6 part (30 minutes each) series about the goofy Swedish cops and a bank robbery turned hostage taking that evolved into something different and, sometimes, touching. We watched series 11, #4 of VERA last night. The last two episodes in this series own't be on until later in the year. This was good but with a very sad end. On Britbox, series 2 of THE BAY is much better than the first series. Guest stars include Sharon Small (from THE LYNLEY MYSTERIES), James Cosmo (GAME OF THRONES), Steven Robertson (SHETLAND), Joe Aosolom (DOC MARTIN), and - very briefly (to the point where we wondered if it was a favor to a friend) - Stephen Tompkinson. Watched the first episode of QUEENS OF MYSTERY (series 2, with a new actress as the lead) and, again, it put me to sleep. Still watching UPSTAIRS, DOWNSTAIRS and THE DARLING BUDS OF MAY and ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE on Saturdays.

Stay safe out there, and good luck with the weather.

Jeff Meyerson said...

We don't have Showtime (or HBO or Hulu) down here, so will have to watch the final three episodes of YELLOWJACKETS when we get home. I'm guessing there will be another series.

Mostly we are listening to Scott Shannon's True Oldies Channel on the radio, which you can definitely get online. It is almost all '60s and '70s, with occasional earlier and later songs. For instance, after Fred Parris died last week, he played "In the Still of the Night" several times.

Still reading mostly short stories. I did read the new Joe Gunther book by Archer Mayor and I have the new Lee Goldberg book about Eve Ronin, GATED PREY. Downloaded short story collections by Mick Herron (Slough House) and Laura Lippman from the Brooklyn Public Library.

pattinase (abbott) said...

If you like a movie where people behave well, POWER OF THE DOG is difficult to watch. Although I think by the end, I had some sympathy for the Cumberbatch character. The novel ANXIOUS PEOPLE was also lots of fun although much like the TV show.

Rick Robinson said...

Watched S2 Ep 2 of All Creatures Great and Small last night, very good as usual. Reading Dust and Shadow by Lindsay Faye, about Holmes involvement with trying to solve the Ripper murders. Have had rain, mid-40s, then the weekend was dry.

Steve A Oerkfitz said...

Patti-Anthem does have a lot of characters, mostly teenagers. My biggest problem was that I felt I was being lectured by the author way too much.

TracyK said...

Sorry, I started looking into Goodbye, Columbus and forgot to come back and comment. I did not know that was a novella.

I am currently reading OLIVE KITTERIDGE by Elizabeth Strout, THE MYSTERIOUS MR. QUIN by Christie, and NEMESIS by Jo Nesbo. Last week I finished LAST SEEN WEARING by Hillary Waugh.

We have been watching some Charlie Chan movies again. We run through all we have every two years or so.

This week is going to be busy (and tense) with preparations for Glen's eye surgery and the actual surgery on Friday.

Todd Mason said...

Steve--ANTHEM is a title that clearly lends itself to lectures in a dusting of fiction.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I will be thinking of Glen. I had eye surgery at age three and I remember it vividly.
Love all Elizabeth Strout's work.
Yeah, it seemed like he was like that on NPR, Steve. I think his young children have made him feel like he needs to do something about climate change.
Faye has certainly written many books about SH.
Because the movie of GC is of a regular length, the story does not read like a novella although it does end abruptly.