Now that I have it (greetings, Dunbar people!), it occurs to me to offer a few regular items to justify your attention. So here’s what I’m…
Reading: Last month I finished reading Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry; I’d been thinking about the miniseries from the 1980s with Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones and Diane Lane, and just decided after all these years to read the book. It took me about a month to get through the nearly 1,000 pages.
Over this past weekend I finished Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel. I had not heard of Mandel until I started watching Station Eleven on HBO earlier this year. I learned of this new release from Ezra Klein’s podcast, but waited to finish the book before I listened to the interview. The novel is a clever take on a familiar topic – time travel – that speaks to something I’ve been working on (see ‘Working On’) below.
I am also reading (OK, mostly listening to) Delia Ephron’s Left on Tenth. This memoir about love and death gets pretty intense, I’m in the middle of the worst of it right now. I heard her on Fresh Air last month so I know how it turns out, but it’s still pretty grim for a while.
Watching: After reading ‘Lonesome Dove’ I rewatched the miniseries from 1989. Fortunately it has been re-formatted for HD, and although the audio remains mono, the adaptation is pretty faithful to the novel. Speaking of westerns, 1883 on Paramount+ is outstanding. I was surprised how much I enjoyed real-life couple Tim McGraw and Faith Hill in central roles. Also, anything with Sam Elliott.
These days I watch about an hour of TeeVee each evening, so I like to keep a few hour-long episodic series going. Last month I went through most of the Silicon Valley / Startup Scandal shows. The Dropout on Hulu was probably the better of the two in terms of adhering to the actual storyline (suckers for a blonde with red lipstick, a Steve Jobs turtleneck and an affected husky voice), but I might have liked WeCrashed on AppleTV+ a bit more just because #AnneHathaway. 😍
My current line up includes Gaslit: STARZ network’s retelling of the Watergate saga. Julia Roberts is malevolently radiant (read: incorrigible 😉) as Martha Mitchell and Sean Penn is a prosthetic marvel as her even more malevolent husband, Nixon crony John Mitchell. Also Betty Gilpin as Maureen Dean, another 😍. No account of the Watergate shenanigans will ever top the Hoffman/Redford turn in “All The President’s Men,” but this is pretty damn entertaining.
Incidentally: I am quite looking forward the House hearings on the January 6 insurrection. I expect that’s will be the most riveting public affairs television since Sam Ervin’s Senate Watergate Hearings in 1973. #OKBoomer?
Listening to: Molly Tuttle’s Crooked Tree, Kara Swisher & Scott Galloway’s Pivot podcast (Galloway is far and away my favorite business/tech commentator) and A History of Rock Music In 500 Songs. The depth and breadth that Andrew Hickey puts into every episode of this podcast is astounding.
Working on: Don’t tell anybody, but I’ve been revisiting the book project that I abandoned back in 2009. I have looked over my shoulder at it several times since then, but this time the effort seems to be making headway. Since I’ve had so much more time on my hands since the Fruit Stand Termimation, I’ve pretty consistently spent several hours every day working on a rewrite, getting through a chapter a day. I have a whole new perspective on the material (thank you, Emily St. John Mandel) and I’m actually excited about how the material is opening up and falling back together.
So, mornings I’m writing (OK, re-writing) and several evenings every other week (when the Sounds are in town) I’m working at the ballpark as a ‘Fan Host’. It pays peanuts. No Cracker Jack but the brats are half-priced and it’s just fun to go to the ballpark.
Thinking about: What’s the old saying, “99% of what you’re thinking is stuff you’ve already thought before”?
In lieu of the other 1%…
I had originally gathered some thoughts here about ‘cable cutting’ and all of the ‘infotainment’ services I subscribe to, but then I went kinda numb at the news about the leaked SCOTUS decision. Now I’m trying to fathom how five people appointed by two presidents elected by a minority of the electorate have brought a ‘free’ country to this point. I have used the phrase “fascist patriarchy” several times along with references to ‘Gilead’ – the fictional dystopia in A Handmaid’s Tale (one season of that was plenty). Despite my social media embargo I found myself scrolling Twitter and saw one meme that pretty well sums of the whole dilemma: “My country is not your church.” Amen.
Well, there’s not a whole lot I can do about that so, here, have a baseball: