Moments of Truth

Crap hole vs. crap house. Level of today’s political prevarications debate.
One incompetent guy can push a button and cause panic. Or worse. See TTSD.
Twenty years after. Lewinsky is a verb. Bill Clinton is revered.
mAdBen is back from Ischgl after hitting 57 mph. That’s downhill.
Super Bowl prediction. Pats beat Eagles.
Super Bowl predilection. Vikings beat Pats in Minnesota.

Names Interchange

Media talking heads seem to have a problem knowing the preferred pronunciation of prominent peoples’ names. From veterans like Andrea Mitchell and Chuck Todd to more likely culprits at FoxNews. They all say “Steen” and “Stine” interchangeably. Often in the same paragraph. It’s Rod Rosenstein (STINE). Harvey Weinstein (STEEN). Carl BernSTEEN. How can these people cover the news so incompetently? It’s their only job to know these things.

There is no excuse for anyone to mispronounce the esteemed Senator from California’s surname. The most seasoned brilliant fair-minded person in government. As they’ve been doing all day. For the love of God. It’s Dianne Feinstein (STINE)!!!

Go back to 1983. William Safire agrees with me. How I miss his On Language column.

Serpentine Shifts

The Golden GlobesHats off to the few women who represented true individualism by not conforming to walking the red carpet in black. What’s the point when you pose and strut and remain objectified as a pretty thing anyway? Nicole should have thanked her co-star. Male directors need not have been dissed. Misandry is not the answer to bad behavior by a few jerks. Happy about James Franco. Of course. And Seth Meyers was solid.

The Essex Serpent, a novel by Sarah Perry. An amorphous Ness. Meant to be a Victorian Gothic homage, it didn’t quite manage either. Science, medicine, modernity dispelled the gossamer blue fog along a rural estuary where the mythic serpent was reportedly glimpsed. The so-called monster never conjured a terror commensurate with the village’s reaction. Perry draws her characters well. They just didn’t seem to belong in the same story together. A good read, but don’t agree with all the literary accolades.

3 Days In

Happy New Year?!  Predictions unfortunately already trending:

~ Trump will tweet a lot. Check. Pakistan. Iran. Huma.
~ NYT and CableNews will freak out about it daily. Check. Check.
~ So will certain friends and relatives. No comment.
~ Garbage trucks. Of course. This morning.
Retail stores shuttering in 2018.
~ Golden Globes Sunday. Movies. Yawn.
~ North Korea. Big buttons. Closer to check.

Faux Claire

House of Cards creator Beau Willimon’s Broadway debut The Parisian Woman falls flat. As edgy as Robin Wright is as Claire Underwood in the Netflix series, Uma Thurman as Chloe in this modern-day play is not. Thurman seems tentative in her portrayal of a supposedly scheming liberal in Trump’s Washington political landscape. Related jokes are few and dated. Characters are generally mis-cast even as the weak writing would test any actor. Blair Brown displays her professional chops and is the only standout.

On the plus side. The Hudson Theater has been brilliantly brought back to its 1903 glory. Hotel conference room sheetrock was torn down to reveal crown moldings and historic detail from Ethel Barrymore’s stage heyday. It reopened last year and is worth the visit.

Holiday Letter 2017

Dear Friends of the Bidrights,

This holiday season brings unsettling tidings. We regret to inform you of a shocking story in last week’s Daily Hampshire Gay-Zette:

” The Bidrights of Pronounced H, Massachusetts suddenly and spontaneously combusted last Sunday night. So too their newly erected blue-gray photovoltaic home, two pure-bred pigs, and an elderly cat, known as Mephistopheles. Poof!  Nothing found except a toppled clothesline with sadly tattered granny underpants, an electric blue Prius covered in taupe dust, crocs and garden tools strewn around a former frontyard poop-pen, plastic rain barrels rolled into the street. “

Theories abound. Many believe that they were abducted by aliens. But. Neighbors are convinced that there is another culprit. The Bidrights were overwhelmed by their half-acre of endless chips. Yup. All that mulch swallowed them up. Into the brown Upside Down!

Only the Bidrights’ thirty-something son Moonbeam seems to have escaped. He reportedly emerged from under a pile of old Bernie signs in the basement some time ago, lately spotted at his alma mater Middlebury College, protesting free speech.

It goes without saying that we will miss the Bidrights’ annual updates. Ah well. Godspeed to the disappeared dorks. Wherever they landed. As long as they don’t pop up in Central Park.

 

Alas. The last of the Happy Valley Holiday Letters.  Maybe…

Book Treks 2017

My top favorites this year. Richard Russo’s Nobody’s Fool. Then Everybody’s Fool. Sully & Rub. Rich writing and characters.

These were also great reads in 2017:

A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles
The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, Dominic Smith
The Woman on the Stairs, Bernhard Schlink
The Honeymoon, Dinitia Smith
The Girl Before, JP Delaney
The Long Drop, Denise Mina
The Night Ocean, Paul La Farge

And liked:

Little Deaths, Emma Flint
The Swans of Fifth Avenue, Melanie Benjamin  
News of the World, Paulette Jiles

Reviews on Book Treks page.