Monday, April 29, 2024

Monday, Monday

 All the excitement this week was downtown where many thousands filled the street outside Ford Field to participate on some level in the NFL Draft. It was great to see so many enjoying the city.

Watching SPOOKS (Prime), REINDEER BABY ( (I think), JINX (HBO), THE SYMPATHIZER. I finished RIPLEY and thought it was a very good production. I especially liked the use of Italian actors rather than English or American actors with Italian accents. It really seemed important in this production. I never felt any sympathy for Ripley however. Can't remember if I did in the Matt Damon version. I can't remember any other series that seemed so authentic to its setting and era.

Enjoyed THE CHALLENGERS a lot. Sweatiest movie ever. 

I belong to a writing group. We meet every other week for two hours. It's about 12 people and most of them come and bring something to read. So it is very hard to try to read a story, not that I have been writing many. So I have started writing haikus. I am trying to write good ones, which is very hard. You probably know the requirements from fourth grade. 17 syllables, three lines 5, 7, 5, a reference to nature, and a something called a kireji--a cutting word. In other words, there has to be some sort of insight or twist in it. That's the hard part. We'll see. These rules can be broken but probably best to work within them for a while. My friend, Bob writes tankas, which have 31 syllables. I am working toward that. 

Still reading THERE, THERE and stuff on haikus. 

What about you?


Steven A Oerkfitz said...

Glad to see so many people downtown in Detroit although I have no interest in watching the draft myself.
Also loved Ripley. For many of the reasons you mentioned. I also loved the black and white photography. Having read all five Ripley novels I don't think you are supposed to feel sympatheic to Ripley. Also watching Shogunand The Sympathizer. Watched The Night Agent. Entertaining but a bit far fetched. Didn't see anything at the theaters this week, but watched the new 4k disc of The Departed. Not Scorcese's best but still a very good film.
Finished City in Ruins by Don Winslow and some short fiction from John Varley.
Temps to be in the 70's all week. Lot of rain though.
My youngest daughter took me out to dinner for my birthday. I've lived longer than I expected for being a type 1 diabetic, which is 65 to 72. Otherwise I'm in pretty good health. My dose of lisinopril was upped from 10mg to30 mg. I had to cut back since the higher dose was making me light headed.
Go Tigers.

pattinase (abbott) said...

It was great seeing the Draft come off so well for Detroit. I should have mentioned the photography. It was exquisite. Did you see the Paul Schrader piece praising it. You might like CHALLENGERS. Very well done movie.

Jerry House said...

My haikus are not the polished gems I would prefer, and I agree with Steve about the NFL draft:

Some excitement in Detroit:
The NFL Draft.
I'd rather drink beer.

About Ripley. I think if anyone is sympathetic toward the character, they should be watched. Very carefully.

It's been a good week for animals and birthdays and books. Mondays are Mark's day off at the zoo, but he went last Monday because they were moving the alligators and he did not want to miss that. We have pho9otos of hum lugging gators around by hand, as well as a short video of him lassoing a gator and trying to get it out of the water. He's a happy-go-lucky guy but I've never seen him happier. Thursday was his 24th birthday and we all went out to a sushi restaurant to celebrate. Mark, who has brought home a baby owl, a baby tamarind, and the two baby kookaburras, mentioned he will probably be trained in feeding a baby kangaroo. Christina's eyes lit up and she ordered Mark to bring him home. He showed us a photo of the young joey and damn if he isn't cute.

At the dinner, Mark, Amy, and Erin were showing pictures of animals they had taken at work (Mark at the zoo, Amy at the animal shelter, and Erin at the vet's clinic -- Kaylee works at the country jail and we don't need photos of whatever animals may be there). Amy, knowing Christina was fascinated by the breed, mentioned that the shelter had brought in two year-old Maine coon cats that may be available for adoption soon; she said she could put Christina's name on the list. Walt (who was always more of a dog person than a cat person) got very excited about this, perhaps even more excited than Christina. the upshot is that they are now at the top of the list and if the adoption goes through, we will now have a Maine coon cat joining us in the household. Walt and Christina and Jack will name her Saffron.

Jack's television in the living room died, so this weekend Walt moved the enclosure for Mango, the south American tegu, to that area, which frees up the room where you enter the house, which is also Walt and Christina's office. Far more visually appealing (not that Mango isn't visually appealing).

This weekend we headed off to South Carolina to celebrate Amy's birthday; she turned 26 last week. Amy wanted a family trip to this massive book store she he read about that sells remaindered and overstock books for 70% off. It was a mere 8-hour drive to Greenville; Walt and Jack stayed home. Greenville is a beautiful, vibrant city, full of activities, culture, colleges, sports fans, and great food. It happened to be prom season and we saw many young girls dressed to the nines in their prom dresses walking through the downtown; all were happy, all were lively, and all made us smile. One of the places we ate at was a small hole-in-the- wall family restaurant specializing in Southern comfort food and twelve different types of chicken wings. The sandwiches (I had a grilled flounder sandwich) were so big that you needed a detachable lower jaw to do justice to them. Mine was served with home-made pineapple tea and baked beans. I was sadly too full to order the peach cobbler for dessert.

The bookstore was half a mile from our hotel and was surrounded on all sides by fields which doubled as parking lots. The store was open only one weekend a month (Saturday and Sunday); the rest of the month was spent in restocking the place. It opened at 8:00 on Saturday and we arrived there at 8:25; there were already two or three hundred cars in the parking lot. There was another parking area in the back of the building as large and as crowded, where Jessie parked her car. The building was an old factory and could easily fit a decent-sized middle school inside and still have plenty of room left over.

And, joy of all joys, there were books. And customers. Contrary to what some people may believe, people in South Carolina can actually read, and they actually enjoy reading...

More to come.

Margot Kinberg said...

I'm glad you have a writing group, Patti. I get a lot of great ideas from other writers, and it's nice to have a way to link up with them.

Jerry House said...

Moving on...

The books went on forever. On shelves and in large boxes on wooden pallets. The shelves roughly separated the books by category -- mystery, romance, science fiction, children's, history, nature, coffee table books, graphic novels, manga, etc. But they were placed in each category willy-nilly and there were a lot of books and authors you did not know in each category. That was part of the fun; at that price you could afford to try an unfamiliar book that looked interesting. The space between each aisle of shelving had enough room for one person to get by; you turned to your side to let someone else walk by, but most people were facing the shelves looking at books so it was hard to get bay and it created a log jam. Nothing the matter with that -- any time you couldn't move, you had hundreds of books in front of you to look at. There could be twenty people of more crowded into an aisle but no one complained. My particular problem was that I could not bend to see what was on the lower three shelves because of my back; I'm sure I missed out on a lot of books but I still ended up with so many good books I could not complain. Deeper into the store the crown thinned out.

When you saw people walking about with a certain book it made you want to check it out. The same when you hear someone chortle with glee as they found THE book or THE author they've been looking for. Amy and Erin both picked up a number of books because of the enthusiasm of other customers. and, as I said, at that price, you really could not go wrong.
One woman found a bunch of books by a favorite author and was handing them out to people who walked by, "Try this! You'll love it!" Most people brought their own books, filled them, paid their way out, dropped their purchases back at their cars, and went happily back into the fray. We heard only one complaint: a woman who was upset that the hundreds of thousands of books there were not organized alphabetically by author. We ignored her.

I spent over $180 there, buying books I could not normally afford, including a complete boxed set of graphic novels published by Hill House, a line curated by Stephen King's con, Joe Hill, the 1111-page doorstop Otto Penzler collection THE BIG BOOK OF FEMALE DETECTIVES, a large compendium consisting of half the issues of THE SANDMAN MYSTERY THEATER, and (in anticipation of the new Netflix series) a DEAD BOY DETECTIVES collection. Because we don't now when to say no, we then stopped of at a great used book store in Greenville and bough more books.

For her birthday, I had given Amy $100 to spend at the bookstore and Christina had bought some more books Amy wanted. She ended up buying 47 books, plus two journals and a DVD of her favorite movie, so she bought 50 items total. Happy birthday Amy!

On the ride home, Jessie and the girls stopped for a few hours at a Renaissance Faire in Atlanta, making a very special weekend for Amy's birthday celebration.

On TV. I watched the new BEYOND PARADISE and finished steaming SISTER BONIFACE, before moving on to start the eleven seasons of FATHER BROWN. I'll be interrupting FATHER BROWN to catch DEAD BOY DETECTIVES, starting today.
Not many books read this week: Just F.Paul Wilson's ERB pastiche about Pellucidar, THE DEAD WORLD (my FFB) and Lawrence Block's collection of WRITERs DIGEST articles, SPIDER, SPIDER, SPIN ME A WEB. Of course I had to read DEAD BOY DETECTIVE as soon as I got home yesterday. For the ride toto and from South Carolina, Christina picked up the audio version of S. A. Parks's THE PRISONER, a supposed thriller. It wasn't a very good book and relied on a turnip-brained fathead girl as the main character, plus the narrator was not the greatest, especially when she tried various accents and voices. The ide seemed a bit longer than it really was.

Have a great week, Patti. BTW, I haven't heard; were you drafted into the NFL?

pattinase (abbott) said...

Wow. What a weekend, Jerry. A love of books and animals in your crew! Lucky you're all together in FL.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Well, even for me it's extreme, but I'm reading 5 books at once. Three are short story collections - by William Maxwell, Charles Ardai, and (from Rick Robinson's collection) a collection of new (in 1988) stories about RAYMOND CHANDLER'S PHILIP MARLOWE, by a who's who of writers of the time - Max Allan Collins, Sara Paretsky, Ed Gorman, Edward D. Hoch, Stuart Kaminsky (sadly, the last three have died since), Loren Estleman, Robert Crais, etc. So far, I'm enjoying it. Just read a couple of the Ardais, but so far I'm enjoying the Maxwells.

What are the other two books? BIRD BY BIRD: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott, which many people consider her best book, and THE RISE OF THEODORE ROOSEVELT by Edmund Morris. What happened was, I found Morris's second volume, beginning when Roosevelt assumed the Presidency in 1901 when McKinley died, in the basement laundry room library, and remembered I'd always wanted to read the biography. Well, so far Roosevelt is every bit as fascinating as I thought he was, if not more so. He read widely and incessantly, and seemesd to retain everything he'd read. When I read that even while President he read 500 books IN ONE YEAR, I was sold. Woe.

I'm probably going to add a mystery as book #6.

We're recording THE SYMPATHIZER (and A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW) and will wait until we have the whole series to watch it. Watching FALLOUT. Added PROS AND CONS (MHz/Topic), another Danish show (with actors we've seen in several other things). Erik and Nina were very successful con artists, working with Jacqueline, but they quit 17 years earlier when Nina got pregnant, to lead the straight life in suburbia. Now things are not going that well, their marriage is shaky, and Jacqueline turns up out of the blue to pressure them into one more con. This ran from 2018-2021 in Denmark. SPOOKS (MI-5) is getting darker and darker. Finished the third series of SCOTT & BAILEY, the one where Nicola Walker gets to play crazy. We're looking forward to the third series of HACKS (MAX) on Thursday.

The weather is finally warming up, though we still get 20 degree swings from day to day.

Jackie read an article about how Detroit is "up and coming" downtown. Things like the NFL Draft can't hurt.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Great trip story, Jerry! I bet George is jealous. We went to a similar-type bookstore in Ontario with Patti & Phil Abbott in August 2011. I drove from the B&B and had a heck of a time finding it. We had dinner with the Kelleys at both ends of the trip, the second time with Patti & Phil. We went to an Italian restaurant in Lewiston and then across the road to George's favorite custard place.

Diane Kelley said...

Yes, George is jealous of Jerry's magical book extravaganza! Wow! What a book bonanza!

I watched a lot of the NFL Draft. Detroit looked great from the Goodyear Blimp shots! I'm sure Detroit's economy got a boost from all those fans showing up for the Draft in the Motor City! Looks like everyone was having fun.

When ESPN approached NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle 45 years ago about the possibility of broadcasting the NFL Draft, Rozelle looked puzzled and said, "Why would you want to do that?" The NFL Draft ranks with the shows with the highest ratings on ESPN year after year.

Western NY will have some 80 degree temps this week. What's going to happen in July and August if we're hot in April??? Stay safe!

Gerard Saylor said...

That Greenville book store does sound like a solid tourist destination. Building all the parking lots and having them filled is certainly a clue.

A music weekend for us as Boy #2 played at the state competition with his strings group. They scored OK and I was able to hear some vocal performances. The judges are sometimes talkative and there group got a lady who spoke to them a lot about ways to improve and praising what they did correctly.
Yesterday we went to Madison for the University's student orchestra. Neat to see a local kid - graduated last year - on stage and playing violin. I stayed interested the entire concert. The show had a space theme. First half of concert had modern piece by Mason Bates, THE B-SIDES. Second half was Gustav Holts's THE PLANETS. I am quite certain I never heard PLANETS all the way through before.
Hearing the live performance was so much better than the earphones or speakers I have access to at home.

Listened to Maria Bamford's SURE, I'LL JOIN YOUR CULT and enjoyed it quite a lot. Todd will be glad to know Bamford mentioned Jackie Kashian several times. Started second novel in the SLOW HORSES series, DEAD LIONS.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Jerry, as a retired teacher, Jackie wants you to know how impressed she is that your kids are all readers.

Jerry House said...

Jeff, I am totally convinced that the only way to stop the world from going to Hell in a handbasket is for people to become avid readers. It makes each of understand that there is a basic core of decency in the human race and allows us to overlook the minor flaws in others. Readers may disagree with each other but they almost always get along.

pattinase (abbott) said...

All of the women at the Senior Center were puzzled about what the heck all those people were actually watching downtown. I really didn't know either. I guess big screens.
Phil loved that Morris book on TR. Amazing he could read that much although I guess Obama is quite the reader too.
The changes in Detroit in the last decade are incredible. All of the sports venues are downtown now and close to each other. That probably brought a lot of younger people into the city.
I remember that weekend, Jeff. Nice that you keep notes.
Madison is a great place, Gerard. I was only there once but was impressed.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Best things about Madison:

The ice cream
Flew into the airport and we were THE ONLY plane there - at a State Capitol
The giant plaster cows all over downtown
The University bookstore
Lots of nice, reasonably priced places to eat
The hotel and the concierge lounge
Did I mention the ice cream?
The nice, friendly liberal college atmosphere

pattinase (abbott) said...

The cows! Are they still there?

Todd Mason said...

To be youngish and a president might not hurt the desire to read widely, as both TR and BO were...JFK did some writers a favor, even if Fleming might not've needed the bump he got.

Gerard, Jackie and Maria (as a friendly acquaintance of one and a slight acquaintance of the other, I will do that) are the closest of friends...mention of each other all but inevitable. Glad you liked her book--I'm looking forward to it (part of her not Entirely humorous thesis is that even cults can be supportive when one is facing utter despair, though she will point us toward the more benign ones, such as AA, first).

Re: Patti's drafting (as per Jerry): well, Patti, your field goal kicking is unsurpassed, and a low center of gravity is always good in the defensive line, so you'd be an ornament to any team...and the contract for PAPER LIONESS is already on its way.

Meanwhile, congratulations on exploring haiku--my first publication for money after campus press writing was a haiku in Janet Fox's SCAVENGER'S NEWSLETTER, and my only writing in F&SF so far has been a haiku (don't remember if Gordon Van Gelder was still editing or if CC Finlay was already in the chair--perhaps the latter).

I suspect I'm reading the same Ardai book as Jeff...I can see why the first story won its Edgar.

Nearly 90 in the Philly burbs today, George...just curious, why do you keep popping up here as Diane?

May everyone's spring and summer be as full of fun if perhaps with less effort necessary as Jerry's family, and perhaps with a better final-leg soundtrack of any such adventures...

Todd Mason said...

Undergrad Jackie Kashian at UW Madison ca. 1984; Bachelor, Political Science, 1987 or '88, I believe:

George said...

Todd, Diane and I share a computer and sometimes I fail to check who is logged on as a GOOGLE account. Sorry for the confusion.

Todd Mason said...

BABY REINDEER on Netfix, I gather. I'm still watching, for last night's example, 60 MINUTES (but missed most of it last night), THE SIMPSONS, CBS SUNDAY MORNING (repeated locally in primetime by CBS's secondary affiliate and former UPN/CW station, WPSG-57), THE SYMPATHIZER (HBO), PARISH (AMC), and CSI: VEGAS (CBS) as its last episodes spin out (John Oliver on vacation). CBS cancelling more viable series this season than any time since the 1970s "rural purge" that helped them fall behind ABC's ratings for the first time...

Todd Mason said...

No confusion, George, and figured that might be the reason...I've had the same thing happen at times when I jump on one of Alice's computers.

TracyK said...

We had a morning appointment and went to the harbor for breakfast, and then we had shopping to do for cat necessities, so I am late again.

The latest show that we have added to our watching is ELSBETH. Three episodes so far, and we like it. We have watched half of MAGPIE MURDERS. I like Lesley Manville. NORTHERN EXPOSURE is still my favorite. Barry Corbin, who played Maurice in NORTHERN EXPOSURE, was on the last MURDER SHE WROTE episode we watched.

I am reading two books. One is THE LINCOLH HIGHWAY by Amor Towles. It is a good book but I am having to push myself to read it. And it is about 575 pages. I want to finish it, but just not in a rush to do so. I read his other two books and liked both of them.

Also reading WHAT WAS LOST by Catherine O'Flynn. I am liking that better and it is shorter.

Glen is reading HOW THE COUNTRY HOUSE BECAME ENGLISH by Stephanie Barczewski. It is scholarly and not a compelling read. So he will be reading it for a while, off and on. He started reading an additional book this morning: MOSQUITO: THE ORIGINAL MULTI-ROLE COMBAT AIRCRAFT by Graham M. Simons. He is liking that one.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I tried THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY after enjoying a GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW but I also had trouble getting into it. I know he has a new book out (short stories maybe) I will try that.
Glen reads interesting books. Like Phil and me (and Jeff and Jackie) you rarely read the same books.

TracyK said...

Patti, regarding THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY, I am interested to see how things turn out but I wish it did not have to go off in so many directions. Maybe I just can't get involved with characters. They are very young. I am also eager to try the book of short stories.

Steven A Oerkfitz said...

I was in Madison once years ago. It was January and about ten below zero. Hardly left the hotel room.

Gerard Saylor said...

Some of the decorated cows are still around Madison. I believe all the cow statues were sponsored, so most - or all - statues were claimed by the sponsors and put on display at their own buildings.

I remember reading about the Mosquito planes as a kid and surprised they were still made with wooden parts.