Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The Log for May 19: Breath of Fresh Air, Trump’s purge, Moppit’s spa day, Tom Swifties, and Escher-cise

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Sorry about the bleeding ink. Won’t happen again!

GOOD READ:

Lesson learned: The first half of a New York Times headline sounded just great, “Air travel surges by 123 percent!” But read on: “(Beware of misleading data like that)”

Marking the rise and fall of events by using percentages is an old dodge in the misinformation game. Economist Neil Irwin explains why you have to look behind the headlines, at the raw numbers — especially in these unusual times. Continue reading

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Time to step up and raise at-home fitness training to new levels with M.C. Escher-cise

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Well, this is the inspiration for M.C. Escher-cise — and it kind of looks like our house. Kind of. But you can see the concept and how it might work, right? Except for the optical illusions. Escher’s houses have lots of optical illusions — like infinite staircases — and mine sort of doesn’t.

You know, stuck here inside as we are, during these days of self-isolation, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to exercise.

A lot of thought.

You might say, thinking about exercise is inescapable. Seriously, I can’t get away from it.

Everywhere I look, there is Rose … exercising. She takes long walks or runs just before sunrise. She comes home and rolls out her yoga mat for one, two, even three different sessions with cream-and-sugar-voiced online instructors. Continue reading

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The Log for May 18: Magic mushrooms, John Malkovich, a Pulitzer Prize podcast, a crossword blitz, and fresh-baked cookies

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Pulitzer Podcast:  Last week, the radio program/podcast “This American Life” won a Pulitzer Prize. It is the first-ever awarded to a radio program. The honored program, called “The Out Crowd” is steeped on original reporting, boots on the ground, at the U.S. Mexican border. It first aired in November 2019 and is rebroadcast now with critical updates.

Most dispiriting update of all — the atrocities first reported here are largely going on unchanged and unchecked. Continue reading

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The Log for May 17 –Hitchcock’s ‘The Lady Vanishes’ and supernatural TV show ‘One Step Beyond’

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Moppit has an opinion on a new statue erected in front of the new El Golpe de Vista, about a block off of the southwestern corner of Parque Juarez

Rose is off on her Sunday morning run (4.2 miles) so it is left for Moppit and me to walk the cobblestones streets of San Miguel. At 7 a.m. we feel like the only two creatures in the city.

Good time to catch up on podcasts.

The NYT Daily “A Bit of Relief: Reruns and Rituals”— NYT TV critic and California Food Writer talks about how they are filling their time during the self-isolation. Spoiler alert: Watching a lot of TV. Continue reading

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The Log for May 16, 2020 — U2’s R&R Hall of Fame concert, the funniest TV sketch ever, and Barack Obama speaks to 2020 grads

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IT’S ONLY ROCK ‘N’ ROLL: Back when I wrote about rock ‘n’ roll for a living, I was sometimes able to take one or two of my sons “to work.”

As young high schoolers, Brendan and Ryan got to see Pink Floyd from the nosebleed seats at Jack Murphy/Qualcomm/San Diego stadium — but even up there, the band’s impact was powerful.

When U-2 played the same stadium, the experience was a bit different. A traffic jam made us miss the start of the show. Still, walking my sons down to 20th-row seats on the floor, next to the band’s runway proscenium — it was like landing in Oz. Continue reading

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The Log for May 15: Deep dive into Muscle Shoals music and down the Rabbit Hole with Internet king ‘KewDiePie’

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Special birthday edition in honor of my first son, Brendan! All hot-linked for his special day!

#1   DEEP DIVE INTO MUSCLE SHOALS MUSIC:
A. Documentary: “Muscle Shoals” (Magnolia Pictures) 2013
Tucked into the northwest corner of Alabama, hard up against the Tennessee River, Colbert County is home to legendary musicians and recording studios known collectively under the name “Muscle Shoals.” Starting with Aretha Franklin, Percy Sledge, Arthur Alexander, Etta James, Clarance Carter, and Wilson Pickett in the 1960s, a stunning list of musicians have trekked to the area to tap into the funky soul sound that has birthed scores of hit records. Continue reading

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The Log for May 13: Hey, brother, can you loan me a dime for a ride into the mystic?

IMG_1672Oh, this day has begun all right — an All-Music Morning for Wednesday.

#1  “The Girl In Byakkoya,” Susumu Hirasawa,  from the animated film “Paprika.” This is the music that gets you up and moving. Check out the movie, too — anime magical surrealism at its finest. A mad enormously ballooning parade that absorbs everybody, everything — all energy  — as it progresses. Who can stop it? And how?

#2  Delbert McClinton channels his inner-Tony Bennett and sings about “San Miguel”! (Even mentions San Francisco in the first line … (Thanks for the tip, Robert Cooksey.) Continue reading

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San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The Log for May 12, 2020: Good reads, good movies and something I can’t explain

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Look below for the annotated version with links dipped in fresh hot chocolate for the good homebody feeling:

Really good reads:

#1  “Fuck the Bread. The Bread is over.”  By Sabrina Orah Mark,  Paris Review,  May 7, 2020.   “In February, as a plague enters America, I am a finalist for a job I am not offered.

“I am brought to campus for a three-day interview. I am shown the library I’ll never have access to, and introduced to students I’ll never teach. I shake hands with faculty I’ll never see again. I describe in great detail the course on fairy tales I’ll never offer.” Continue reading

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

In the absence of art and pageantry by agile minds and clever hands, Nature fills the void

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Looking down Calle Correro from the intersection with Barranca toward the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel on a very quiet Sunday morning.

We don’t do fireworks in San Miguel de Allende any more.

The hot-air balloons drifting slowly over the city at dawn are gone.

Parades and processions are put on hold.

Concerts under the trees have been muted. Continue reading

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Sequestration meditation: Walk among the trees, with the thoughts of Hermann Hesse

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Text by Hermann Hesse: “Trees,” from “Wandering: Notes and Sketches”
Photographs by Robert J. Hawkins

“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves.

IMG_1628 And even more, I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs, the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. Continue reading

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