After a wonderful dinner in a friend’s backyard last night, I felt the gentlemanly thing to do is walk Moppit this morning. It was a reunion of Casa de las Poetas former residents. John & Linda and Jimmy & Gina moved elsewhere in town.
Then the pandemic hit. It was good to sit around a table again, outside, and safely distanced.
I had my first fake-meat burger — whatever they are called. It was quite satisfactory and if I ever go vegetarian, I will order a case.
So, Rose usually walks Moppit in the morning and I take the early evening shift. Today, I hoped she would sleep in for once. Naturally, she was preparing her yoga mat before we even hit the street. Dedicated. Continue reading →
#1: FEVERED DREAMS: Still in a stupor, with the sun barely over the horizon, I started thinking about exercise — creating walking and running routes — both inside our compound and outside. Came up with some excellent ideas, both included steps — lots and lots of steps.
I concentrated really really hard to fix the routes in my mind, to gauge the aerobic benefits, and to estimate the caloric burn.
#2: AND THEN … Completely satisfied, I dropped my head back on the pillow and went back to sleep. My work here is done.
#3: KEEP IT CLEAN: Gave Moppit a bath. Then I took a shower. We both needed it. For different reasons.
#4: WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA: Today is a day for grand schemes I fantasized about building an online roots music festival. All the great roots cities — Chicago, St. Louis, Memphis, Nashville, Austin, New Orleans — must have radio stations dedicated to the kinds of music that defined them as the sources of blues, jazz, rock, Americana, swing, country.
When I was a rock music writer and starting to pull some juice, I proposed spending a summer traveling the country from music festival to festival filing reports from the road. The idea got about 30 seconds worth of consideration in newspaper time. Thirty seconds equals the amount of time it takes to say No!” in the real world.
I still think it was a good idea.
Instead, I got to spend two weeks that Spring, driving my kids to every theme park in Southern California to test out their newest attractions just ahead of the season debuts. To them, at least, I was a hero for about half the summer. You should have seen the expense check. There are A LOT of theme parks.
#5: SO, INSTEAD: I made lunch.
#6: BIG READ: And read some more of “The Invention of More.” While the book was published in 1940, the author pretty much nails our modern-day concept of holograms.
#7: GIFTING GONE WRONG: Neil Gaiman was offering free downloads of his classic “American Gods” until April 26 but, um, the download site @NetGallery and his publisher “weren’t ready.” Neil deleted his generous offer with a promise to iron out the “snags” and try again soon. If I were you, I’d “friend” Neil real soon. On Twitter: @neilhimself.
When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art, and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts my self almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
#9: WATCH:“Live with Carnegie Hall” Pianist Emmanuel Ax hosted an hour-plus broadcast with Yefin Bronfman and Marc André Hamelin from their homes. The informality of great musicians in their homes — Ax has grown a shaggy beard and his piano is out of tune slightly — is as endearing as their music is stunning.
Shows next week: Angélique Kidjo (4/2) and Joshua Bell (4/30). (Note to self: Learn how to spell “Carnegie.”)
#10: PODCAST:“Rabbit Hole” Episode 2. The series is exploring how the Internet is shaping minds (and ensnaring many of them). It is as disturbing as a slasher flick. Social media algorithms analyze your viewing habits then feed you more of the same, and more, and more and more. Imagine your kid watching an Alex Jones video and then seeing 10 more backed up on his recommended list. And it gets worse. Watch and know your enemy.
#11: MOVIE NIGHT: Another oldie, “Topper Returns” (1941) In a case of mistaken identity, Joad Blondel gets bumped off and comes back as a ghost to solve her own murder. Who else but America’s milquetoast Topper (Roland Young) is recruited to help. Just a lot of goofy B&W fun, except for the cringe-inducing role of Eddie “Rochester” Anderson as the easily-frightened chauffeur.
He does get off the best lines in the movie, including:
Eddie, the Chauffeur: “Doors closing by themselves. People talkin’ to nuthin’ and gettin’ answers. I’m going back.”
Clara Topper (a ditzy Billie Burke): “Back where?”
Eddie, the Chauffeur: “To Mr. Benny. Ain’t nuthin’ like this ever happened there.”
# 1 Friday is laundry day and the day to strip beds and do sheets. I actually like folding laundry, something I have been doing since I was a very little kid. We are a family of eight sons and a daughter. The division of labor was a means of survival. My father was an engineer and a big fan of early efficiency-expert Frank Gilbreth, whose son Frank Jr. wrote a memoir in 1948, titled “Cheaper by the Dozen.” I read the book several times before I was 12 years old.
#2 Chekov: Think your times are hard? Read some of his short stories. First, the one above is NOT “The Postman.”That was a 1997 dystopian movie starring Kevin Kostner. The correct title is “At the Post Office.” It is silly … until the very last line, the implications of which, turn this light and slight tale into a potential novel.
#5 Subscribed to a new podcast:“Rabbit Hole” from NYT. Series will explore how the Internet changes people. The first episode is absolutely fascinating as a programmer explains how Facebook and YouTube are programmed to capture your brain (basically). By the way, my search for “Rabbit Hole podcast” came up with 21 possibilities. Think about that.
#6 Garrison Keillor laments the loss of baseball season and ponders the outcome if the Vikings had decided to settle on Manhattan island, rather than the European crowd. “We’d have universal health care and a highly developed system of state socialism. Vikings are a calm and reasonable people, they don’t go around yelling “Make Norway Great Again” …
#7 Heather Cox Richardson “Letters from an American”: Governors are organizing into bi-partisan scrums to tackle the decision-making responsibilities abdicated by Trump. “We will make decisions based on facts, science, and recommendations from experts in health care, business, labor, and education.” (All of which must have totally confused the president.)
#8 Virtual Camino walk enters Day 8, from Torres del Rio to Logrono. The 39-day walk is now a closed group but more than 2200 people signed up to take the “walk” with a San Miguel de Allende woman who plans other “walks” in the future. A nice meditative break in the day.
#9 Rolling Stones video interview with Roger Waters, estranged bassist, composer and singer for Pink Floyd. Who am I kidding, he was Pink Floyd. (Sorry, David Gilmour, you’ve always been shite without him.) Roger seems to have become a very cranky old man and I almost expected him to start singing “Hey, you kids, get offa my lawn …” He would have toured this summer and the concept sounded intriguing. In 2021, perhaps.
#10 MOVIE: “Life With Father” (1947) comedy starring William Powell, Irene Dunne, and little Elizabeth Taylor. Proof once again that sons can always exact revenge on their fathers by writing a memoir. (See “Cheaper by the Dozen,” above.) This one ran over 400 nights as a Broadway play and the movie is much beloved, although the bombastic Powell gave me a headache.