Diary 5/16 to 5/17/22: The King’s Speech; Ghostbusters Afterlife; psyllium again; religion books; more shelves? getting rid of Pathfinder; Russell Brand; a nightmare; typographical erorrs in history; Oliver La Farge.
Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved
Watched The King’s Speech (2010) and was pleasantly surprised: not only did it hold my interest very firmly (despite an occasional eye roll at the future king’s ill temper), it also moved me both to laughter and tears. Can’t ask for much more than that. 94% from critics, 92% from audiences at Rotten Tomatoes.
Up later (9:00 pm, a bit late for me) is Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021) with a favorite of mine, Mckenna Grace. I could have caught an earlier showing on Starz, but I was wrapped up in Family Guy and didn’t look any further in the cable guide.
Psyllium is proving challenging, that is, I took a glass of water and a rounded teaspoon, well mixed in, and drank most of it but couldn’t take the last quarter. I guess I’ll try maybe a teaspoon in my morning smoothie and another teaspoon at lunch…or something? Or maybe go back to Metamucil, which I don’t remember being quite so tough to get down.
Went to the library, despite the whining, and came back with four Tori Amos CDs, two checked out, and two bought (fifty cents each). We’ll see. Got quite a lot of stuff there, actually, including four [five] books and many more DVDs. One of the books, from the Harvard Classics, has The Imitation of Christ and Augustine’s Confessions, which I’ve read once before. I wanted the former. Also got the Harvard Classics volume of Luther, More, and Machiavelli. This is rather a lot of religion for an atheist, but I’ve been curious about Imitation and wanted to give it a try. I’m not expecting to like it, but then, I liked Pascal’s Pensées very much and read it twice. I had four books on veganism on hold, but ended up not taking any of them because I had so much to carry several blocks to the bus stop. Small loss, I have bought three books already.
I also got the two volumes of “Imaginative Literature” from the second edition of the Great Bores of the Western World (excuse me, Great Books). The only thing of the dozen and a half works included that I’m immediately interested in is Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author, but the other included works are worth having on the off chance that I’ll actually RUN OUT OF THINGS TO READ SOME DAY. (joke)
Everything that comes in more or less means one more thing going out…I’m trying to hold the line on buying more shelves, but I may give that up before much longer. I often mention the “800 books” that nag me for attention, but I fear it’s closer to twice that. I guess it doesn’t really matter until I want to move; if I’m lucky, I’ll die first (kidding not kidding). It would amount to maybe fifty boxes.
One other good thing is that Mikey is taking the Pathfinder books and materials that I wanted to get rid of (since Pathfinder is totally impractical in my life as it is now). He gave me a donation of $20 for it—it cost me about $200, but a 10% return is pretty average for used books, if you can get it. Since he doesn’t actually plan to play PF, but only to use the books for guidance in the game he’s creating, in a sense he’s getting a poor deal.
I have acquired a taste for wild man Russell Brand on YouTube (follow the link for today’s rant). I’ve come across Brand several times before and he always impresses me with his intelligence and awareness. Details about today’s segment: “May 16, 2022 • A bombshell new report suggests multiple issues around quality control were kept hidden from the FDA at the plant of a longtime government contractor hired to produce hundreds of millions of coronavirus vaccine doses #Johnson&Johnson #Vaccines #Covid #Pandemic.” What makes him watchable is that he’s funny (sometimes) and talks fast so it usually doesn’t get too boring, despite staying on the same subject for half an hour. 5.63 million subscribers.
From Truthout: “Manchin and Sinema ‘Sabotaged’ Their Own Party’s Agenda, [Bernie] Sanders Says.” To which I say, “There needs no ghost, my lord, come from the grave / To tell us this.” (Hamlet)
Afterlife has many disappointments early, mostly in the dialogue and script. I shut it off after fifty minutes, not because it was that bad (though actually it was, but I like some of the stars).
A troubling scene from a nightmare this morning (feel free to skip to the next paragraph): I believe that I’m watching a music video, but there is no sound. The scene is of a junkyard, and half a dozen children are around a young girl in ragged clothing that looks rather like a costume (shredded black tights). They pick up the girl and are carrying her, struggling, up a pile of trash. The camera shifts to a shining metal claw descending on a car, which is picked up and put into a machine that looks vaguely like a paper shredder, and the car is crushed. Then a second car is shown, a red convertible with a woman driving and a girl, perhaps eight, who is in rags and half-naked. The claw comes down on the car and the girl begins screaming full-out. The claw carries the car to the mouth of the machine, and I see the girl screaming all the way, still with no sound, and at this point I’m wondering what the music sounds like. What’s going to happen? How will she be saved? Why doesn’t she try to get out of the car? The car disappears into the crusher, the girl screaming all the way. At this point I woke up; I had not realized until then that I was dreaming, it felt like a scene from a movie throughout, with the sound off.
Footnotes to yesterday’s book acquisition from the library: I also got a copy of a play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee: “The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail.” I knew of this play (I have about fifteen books on Thoreau) but was curious and wanted to read it.
Also, I put three books back when I saw how much I would be carrying to the bus stop. One was let go reluctantly, I think the title was The Handy Book of Literary Curiosities. It was like a dictionary (and weighed in at a heavy 1000 pages); I had read most of one entry on “Typographical errors,” which told stories of authors, famous and obscure, who were crushed (erk) when looking into their newly-printed books and finding errors. Another book of less than a hundred pages was printed with fifteen pages of errata! Another book I returned to the shelf was a novel about Navajo indians (native Americans, if you prefer) by Oliver La Farge, Laughing Boy. It was a Franklin Mint edition and thus rather heavy. The third was the Harvard Library volume of Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. I’ve been wanting to try (again) to get through a book of Hume’s, perhaps since I’ve finally been pretty successful with the often-abandoned Philosophical Investigations of Ludwig Wittgenstein. And I got a three-CD set to teach me German, a language I had in high school and college and still don’t know.
I also got an eight-inch tall stack of CDs: the Tori Amos I mentioned yesterday and a lot of classical, including one of arias sung by Nikolai Ghiaurov, a bass I like very well, and several by Hector Berlioz (composer). One of the DVDs I got is of a concert with two major works, the one I wanted being Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, of which I have a CD recording that seems to me a poor effort from the usually reliable Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra. The last item I want to mention is a DVD of the Metropolitan Opera, with Eva Marton and Placido Domingo, performing Puccini’s Turandot. I already have this on CD, but having it on DVD will allow me to read the libretto (subtitles) as it goes. In addition, if you want to see an opera as well as listen to it, Turandot is usually staged and costumed spectacularly; I seem to recall it was Puccini’s answer to Verdi’s Aïda, as well as being his last opera.
Usually when I’m lugging home two heavy bags of acquired books and such, about the time I can see my front door I’m kicking myself for spending money on stuff I don’t need with money I can’t afford or don’t have. In this case it was the latter: I owe the library $20. The bags this time, thankfully, weren’t all that heavy.
Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved