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

IMG_1690

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

Standard
Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The Log: April 30 — A ‘Wine’ pairing, vivid dreams, dreams that came true, and dream on

IMG_1501FRESHLY ANNOTATED WITH LOTS OF HOT LINKS!

#1 DREAMS COME TRUE:  Buonforno’s coffee & pastry shop is one of our favorite places in San Miguel de Allende. Easily the best coffee and croissants you’ll find anywhere in town. And the breads! Exceptional. But the owners and staff are what put this shop over the top. It was understandable but sad when they closed.

This morning when I woke up, there on the stool beside my bed was a plate with a Buonforno almond croissant, a pistachio cinnamon bun, and a cup of their coffee.

How could this be? Continue reading

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

The Log asks me one thing: ‘Say, what have you been up to in social isolation?’

UntitledAfter living five years on an island off the coast of Belize and two years in the magical Mexican city San Miguel de Allende, isolation is just another change that we hadn’t planned on.

Recently while commiserating with a friend who had squirted a tube of oil point on a wall while trying to open it, it occurred to me that accidents are art waiting for vision to give them purpose.

The corollary to that is: There are no accidents in art.

So, let’s substitute the word “life” for “art.” Continue reading

Standard
Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The Log: April 19 — Fight the dark side: Dance, sing, read, write poetry

IMG_1393ANNOTATED LOG:

#1 CONNECTED: Rose Alcantara’s daughter, Caira Button, celebrates her birthday today, far from her Chicago home but in very good company in Western New York. Rose sang Happy Birthday to her from our home in Mexico. Technology rocks.

#1A FACETIME WITH FAMILY: Spent almost an hour in a video chat with Ryan and Larisa and grandson Augie, who is saying his first words! They remain in place in San Francisco where it can’t be easy. One of the world’s most beautiful cities outside your door … and you can only look out your window.

#2 BIG OOPS: The worst thing you can do upon waking is open up Facebook.  Trust me, bad news accumulates while you sleep. All this rage with no outlet …

A.Illinois governor forced to secretly buy badly needed medical supplies from China for fear Trump’s government will impound them.

B. Boston hospital team makes secret rendezvous in mid-Atlantic region to score protective medical supplies, as feds threaten to take them away.

C. Stimulus funds will reward more than 43,000 MILLIONAIRES with an average $1.6 million each.

#3 WELCOME RELIEF: Found in Garrison Keillor’s Letter from Manhattan.  Crafting good limericks and simplifying life — that’s the life. “It’s been a quiet week in apartment 12B.” That’s the stuff.

#4 TELEVISION: “CBS Sunday Morning” is like nestling in with an old friend. I can hear my blood pressure settling down for the day.

#5 DISCOVERY: Nobody has a lock on the truth about coronavirus — yet — but everyone has an opinion. I found a reasonable voice in Richard Lehman, professor of Shared Understanding of Medicine at the University of Birmingham.  His post in the British Journal of Medicine opinion page is calm, reasoned, informative, fact-based. I look for more from him.

#6 PAIRINGS:  Pink Floyd’s “Ummagumma” goes especially well with Gore Vidal’s 1977 essay “On Re-reading The Oz Books” from the New York Review of Books archives.

L. Frank Baum wrote 14 “Oz” books, the unevenness of which Vidal excuses because the man was writing 48 other books at the same time.

I’ll admit it, “Ummagumma” and me on psychedelics did not go well in late-1969. It goes better with the Wizard of Oz. Wish I knew that then …

#7 VIDEO: I’m not sure where I found it but there is an amazing video of liquid-limbed hipsters holding a dance-off to the Devil’s Music, jazz, baby. On further research, I found an 8-minute version that says this is a Sunday night party during the Jazz Roots Festival in Paris in 2015. Swing, baby, swing.

#8 I WROTE A POEM: Titled “Remembering to Dance Like Nothing Else Matters.” The first half was inspired by this video and the rest is based on something that happened to me in the early-1980’s in Rosarito Beach, Baja, Mexico.  I’m not a poet. These things just happen.

#9 PODCAST: While walking Moppit tonight, I tuned into the New York Times show “The Daily.” On Sundays, the program presents a spoken piece of long-form journalism borrowed from partner app AUDM. Today’s is “The Woman Who Might Find Us Another Earth.”  Sara Seger is a brilliant astrophysicist, a certified genius, but befuddled by the most common challenges of living on Earth.

#10 SHORT STORY: Edna Ferber’s “The Gay Old Dog”(1917). Chicago man becomes a Loop-hound. That is not a compliment, or, wasn’t back in the day.

#11  I leave you with this, the BEST PLAGUE PARODY SONG YET:

Standard
Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The Log: April 17 — Laundry, Chekov, and a new podcast to check out: ‘Rabbit Hole’

IMG_1390# 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.

But one Chekov tale is never enough!

#3 I found a PDF of a book with 30 Chekov short stories, spanning his whole career. It comes with an insightful introduction and hot-linked annotations. So far, I’ve read “The Huntsman,” “The Death of a Clerk,” and “Small Fry.”

#4 Podcast: While folding laundry, listened to “The Daily”  interview with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Yes, she will vote for Joe Biden but it will taste like Castor Oil.

#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.

Standard
Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Uncategorized, Writings

April 16: The ‘Luminous’ Log … now with 100 percent more annotation!

64575BA4-AB0C-433B-855A-18D7E4E1A9A5On March 27 I began logging my day’s activities into my now-useless appointment calendar. For the time being, there would be no luncheon dates, no concerts, no coffee meetups, no flights to visit grandchildren, no weddings, no visit to Mexico City with friends.

But how was I filling my days? They seemed to be drifting — without recollection of where I’d been, what I’d accomplished, where I was headed — from one gray fog-bound sea to the next.

“Naps,” seemed to be the only achievement that I recalled with any clarity. That, and pointlessly angry and condescending posts on Facebook. I had to be doing more than clicking “Like,” “Angry, “and “Love” buttons, right? Oh, and “HaHa.” Continue reading

Standard