I don’t know why, but it seemed this year’s Thanksgiving break was just about perfect, kicking off with my birthday on Wednesday and winding up with family not-thanksgiving today; my sister-in-law came up and we had lasagna, which is traditional, right? Anyway, I’ve been away from the grindstone just long enough, and it’s back to work today.
A few things we did:
** Had a Friendsgiving this year. There were some scheduling changes this year, and so we were freed to have the big banquet in the evening, not at 1 p.m., our usual time. You ask me, I think the candles sparkle brighter on the table after the sun goes down, but I bend to the will of the crowd — I’m just there to cook. But because of the later hour, we had more friends at our table, and it was lovely. The wine was spectacular, I made a stuffed boneless turkey breast and I just ate the last of it in a sandwich. Makes a nice bookend on the weekend.
** Saw “Spotlight,” the film about the Boston Globe’s priest pedophilia investigation. To paraphrase David Simon, for a journalist, it’s like watching porn. Just a really well-done film, admirably underplayed, that doesn’t traffic in shadowy parking-garage meetings or other low-rent cloak-and-dagger stuff. Journalism in stories like this mostly takes place in ugly offices and fluorescent-lit courthouses and other unglamorous places, where everybody dresses badly, in shades of beige, black, navy and oxford-shirt blue. Underdoing it like this gives the brief scenes where someone speaks a raw truth — “And then one day he asks you to jerk him off or give him a blowjob, and now you have another secret” — a great deal of power. The cranks, like the founder of the victims group SNAP, are not de-cranked for narrative purposes, and the strange, twitchy victims, you can immediately see, were chosen by their abusers because they were strange, twitchy kids.
I can’t think of any part of the story that was goosed for dramatic purposes, with the possible exception of one montage scene, where a children’s choir sings and a character comes to terms with the inexorable evil he and his colleagues are confronting. And that was hardly unforgivable, given some of the nonsense I’ve seen in journalism movies over the years.
** Went to the Eastern Market on Saturday. Beheld this:
** Started a new book, “Slade House,” which Kate gave me for my birthday. I put aside Margaret Atwood for now, which I now see is worth the very low price I paid for it in Toronto.
** Finally, we cut the cord. The cable cord, that is. Those of you who have dealt with Comcast know what it’s like to deal with Comcast, so I won’t bore you with the details. But we got rid of the digital-cable box, picked up HBO Now and Showtime-via-stream, and Alan picked up a weird-looking antenna, with which we can receive all the local channels, in widescreen HD, and I think that’s going to do us just fine. Net savings: $110 a month. I’ll take it.
And now the holidays start in earnest. I have a jump on my shopping and for once am facing the next month un-frazzled and almost, dare I admit? A little festive. Let’s get into it. And let’s start this week.