Stop the damn presses.

The January Uncluttering is complicated this year. We’re ripping up carpet, preparing to redo hardwood floors, and of course, still waiting on the Ukrainians to come redo two bathrooms. But it’ll get done. Pandemic time passes slowly, but it still runs one minute at a time. We’ve offloaded one large piece of furniture, with a second going later this week, fingers crossed. And last week I schlepped three boxes and one bag of books to the used bookstore in downtown Detroit, and left with $60 in store credit that I will probably give away because I have a teensy little problem with accumulating books.

The goal for 2022: Reduce. Become more nimble. Accomplish 10 percent of my Death Cleaning, but don’t actually die in the process.

For Christmas, I asked for very little, but I did receive two new books. Ha ha.

It was a newsy weekend hereabouts. Nothing like sitting down to eat on Saturday and learning the University of Michigan has fired — fired! — its president. It’s the usual reason: Improper relationship with an underling. From the looks of the emails released by the Board of Regents to justify the decision, looks like someone fairly close to the office, an assistant or scheduler or something. Once again, I am amazed at how a man smart enough to have a million degrees, a medical scientist earning more than $900K a year running a major university, is too dumb to conduct a fling anywhere other than his work email. I mean, there are literal apps for this. There’s Gmail, for crying out loud. The mind boggles.

Then there was the volcanic explosion in the Pacific, which was just…daaaammmmnn. The time-lapse satellite views made it look like a bomb, which of course it was, albeit a natural one. Nature always wins, a lesson we’ll learn yet again, one day. One of the books I got for Christmas was “Under the Wave at Waimea,” Paul Theroux’s surfing novel, where several chapters take place in weird, impoverished Pacific island nations like Tonga. This won’t help the local economy, but maybe the influx of researchers will.

I woke up this morning, and read about a fight at a local steakhouse, and not a cheap one. An unruly patron pulled a knife and stabbed a security guard, and the security guard pulled a gun and shot him to death. And so you see where we the phrase “don’t bring a knife to a gun fight” comes from.

Detroit. Never a dull moment.

And finally, there was this:

I have no more words. No, I have these: Boy, he really sounds like an old man, doesn’t he?

Entertainment notes: If you have Apple TV, “The Tragedy of Macbeth” is absolutely worth your time, a taut, expertly staged and acted production. Sets, score, costumes, photography, etc., all first-rate, and accomplished in under two hours, hallelujah. If you struggle with Elizabethan dialogue, try turning on closed captions, which did the trick for us.

Is that all? I think so. Supposed to be warmer this week, but gray. So what, I’ll take it.

Posted at 4:25 pm in Current events, Movies |

62 responses to “Stop the damn presses.”

  1. Jeff Borden said on January 16, 2022 at 4:45 pm

    The shtick that has served tRump well is getting old with even some conservative writers saying the magic is gone. I saw no attendance figures for his Arizona hatefest but sincerely hope it was small.

    Yet the tsunami of horseshit he launched hasn’t crested and the QOP is in the catbird seat for 2022 and 2024. Such a waste. Biden has been done in by senators of his own party.

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  2. tajalli said on January 16, 2022 at 6:56 pm

    Ordered up Under the Wave at Waimea from my local branch library, thanks for the recommendation.

    Found this in depth video by a space geek which shows, among a whole slew of monitoring devices and agencies, dynamic mapped tracks for the atmospheric pressure waves as they passed over Japan. Also mentions that the explosion was heard (!!) in Australia, New Zealand, and possibly Alaska.

    And to clear your emotional pallet, the birth of a baby reticulated giraffe at the Memphis zoo.

    As for the steakhouse antics, Holy Crow! I’m going back to watching my cherry tomato plant push out flowers since I live in a frost-free zone.

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  3. Deborah said on January 16, 2022 at 7:16 pm

    Alas, no Apple TV so can’t watch the Macbeth production, almost makes me want to get the platform just for that. Hopefully, someday it will be available some other way.

    We went to Seal Beach today, walked out on the pier, walked down the shop lined Main Street, it was pleasant.

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  4. Jeff Gill said on January 16, 2022 at 9:08 pm

    Snowing briskly here in Licking County, Ohio. 5 or 6 inches expected, after a nice coating of ice to set the scene.

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  5. Dexter Friend said on January 17, 2022 at 1:31 am

    If you ever wanted to know the true unadulterated story of the 1971 Attica prison uprising, watch Showtime’s Stanley Nelson production, “Attica”. Narrated by a cadre of elderly men who were incarcerated there in 1971, this is such a stunning doc it left me quivering and shaking in my boots. The last ten minutes are not for the squeamish and for some, I would recommend bailing at that point; it is rough. It is harsh, gut-wrenching. If you may be a Nixon and Nelson Rockefeller apologist , this will anger you and perhaps change your mind. This film is stunning. A must see for historians.

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  6. basset said on January 17, 2022 at 7:20 am

    Don’t think I’d care to watch anything that intense.

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  7. Dorothy said on January 17, 2022 at 8:18 am

    Dexter we recorded Attica a few weeks ago and I’ve watched it. You aren’t exaggerating the intensity of it. I was 13 when that happened and don’t remember knowing much about it. I know it was a prison uprising and that’s about all I knew. I was stunned and then angry about the Nixon and Rockefeller conversation.

    A happier recommendation – anyone else watching Around the World in 80 Days on PBS? At first we were not captivated by it – the first episode was not really grabbing us but I’m glad we went back to finish it. Have seen two episodes and we really enjoyed it. And if you’re a fan of Call the Midwife you’d probably also love All Creatures Great and Small. This is a wonderful production – I think I read that it’s the first real acting role for the guy playing James Herriot. He’s great!

    We are dropping cable when we move – I called last week and initiated the end of our DirecTV subscription and explained it’s for several reasons – the biggest of which is losing my income. Don’t ya know they called on Saturday begging us to reconsider. I had no patience – our monthly income is changing and we’re economizing. Plus there are SO many options out there for viewers now. I suppose the company chooses to ignore these comments that were recorded when I called to cancel the subscription. I can be really forceful when I respond to calls like this. You’d think they’d lose the phone number when they catch the earful I aim in their direction but no…

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  8. nancy said on January 17, 2022 at 8:44 am

    I heard the Fresh Air interview with the Attica veterans, and you’re right — it was intense. I don’t have Showtime, but am waiting until it rolls around to some streaming service. It sounds great.

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  9. Suzanne said on January 17, 2022 at 9:31 am

    Regarding the President of U of M: How does someone this intelligent and in this high of a position not realize that engaging in hanky-panky over work email will leave a trail of evidence? Although, I suppose he assumed because he is so intelligent with such a lofty position, no one would bother to take him to task on it, because usually, they don’t.

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  10. basset said on January 17, 2022 at 10:04 am

    We’ve been enjoying “All
    Creatures” as well, would be looking for a tweed 3-piece suit like Siegfried’s if I just had anywhere to wear it.

    And I think Suzanne’s probably right on the U of M president, IIRC he was already set to end his contract a year early due to other issues.

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  11. JodiP said on January 17, 2022 at 10:31 am

    I have loved, loved All Creatures. My wife can hear me guffawing at times on floor up! Really looking forward to the next season.

    Can’t remember if there are fantasy fans out there, but we’ve also enjoyed the Wheel of Time adaptation.

    I am off today due to MLK day, but trying out my new work set up. My usual office is right next to the bathroom remodel in progress, so am down in our comfy basement “gal cave.” I have a beautiful cloth from Rwanda covering my work space and the ergonomics will be fine for the next few weeks.

    Doesn’t Trump understand that few of his followers are getting vaccinated, and some, like the woman Nancy highlighted in the last post, even refuse treatment? So, if they are at the end of the line….it’s becaue they don’t want to be in the damn line!

    Also, I love that all the remodel workers today are masked up with at least KN95s, and all but one vaccinated (tested negative yesterday and will be off the job by tomorrow as he’s just helping with demo).

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  12. Alan Stamm said on January 17, 2022 at 11:03 am

    Yes, Madame X appears to be someone fairly close to the president’s office, but as she has an MBA from Harvard Business School [10/5/20 email] and earns “thanks for hosting them in the [football stadium] box” [10/10/19], I peg her level as EVP, VP, dean or other administrative role rather an assistant or scheduler.

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  13. Dave said on January 17, 2022 at 11:46 am

    JodiP, you do know that Season 2 of “All Creatures” has started on PBS. I’m sure you can catch it on demand.

    We’re also enjoying, “Around the World in 80 Days”, they’ve added a few things to liven up the Jules Verne story.

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  14. Julie Robinson said on January 17, 2022 at 12:03 pm

    All Creatures fan here too–watched the original and read all the books way back when. A year or so back Alf Wight’s son disclosed that Wight cribbed encounters from other vets and wrote them up as his own. But I don’t hold it against the show, as I am a sucker for British cozies. basset, my dad bought a tweed jacket while they were in the British aisles and our son wears it occasionally. It keeps him very warm, which is not something he needs much in Florida.

    Haven’t watched Around the World as the story always seemed racist and sexist. Did they fix this in the new series?

    As usual I’m three years behind and have just discovered Succession. No characters to love, but it’s positively Shakespearean, and I’m obsessed by the music. Just finished season 2 and can’t wait for some time to watch more.

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  15. Jeff Borden said on January 17, 2022 at 1:06 pm

    One thing that can be said about the MAGAts is they have no sense of style. Check out the way these dolts are dressed for the orange cancer’s Saturday rally in Arizona. As a sports fan, I’m used to seeing fans wearing ridiculous get-ups to support their favorite team. . .or, in some case, to shuck their coats and shirts to display their body painting. . .but I’ve never seen anything like the MAGA crowd. They must spend a fortune on this tacky shit.

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  16. Jeff Gill said on January 17, 2022 at 1:44 pm

    Jeff, I fear this clip in a tweet sums it up all too well:

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  17. Icarus said on January 17, 2022 at 2:18 pm

    I can google Attica Prison Uprising, but as I’m unlikely to get a chance to stream the show that Dexter et al reference, can someone please sum up I was stunned and then angry about the Nixon and Rockefeller conversation.

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  18. Suzanne said on January 17, 2022 at 2:32 pm

    Jeff Gill, “I like the way he talks because he talks like me.”
    This is so true. Living out here in rural Indiana, I am still struck by the lack of social skills and very poor grammar I see every day. Frequently, when someone calls the office I work in or calls our home, there are almost no pleasantries exchanged; it’s just get to the point of the call. Virtually no one identifies themselves; we have to ask. I hear things like “I done that” “I seen that” nearly every day, even from some teachers. I was at a meeting last week and watched the person giving the secretary’s report from the previous meeting struggle to read it. She’s a retired teacher.
    So, yeah, he does talk like them.

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  19. Scout said on January 17, 2022 at 2:51 pm

    I live in AZ and what I see in that maskless mass of morons is our hospital system being overwhelmed in a week or so. The silver lining is that some won’t be around to vote for Kari Lake or Donald Trump.

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  20. basset said on January 17, 2022 at 4:09 pm

    Julie, Mrs B and I both read the books when they were new or close to it, haven’t seen any of the previous TV though.

    I have an Irish tweed cap on right now and a supporters’ scarf from an English football team, that’s about all one could probably get away with around here.

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  21. Jeff Gill said on January 17, 2022 at 4:17 pm

    “He’s a godly man.”

    Sadly, I’d want to ask her to help me understand what she means. I can make some harsh guesses, but I’d really like to know how she’d articulate what that statement is trying to say. Is it that he’s a man who wants what I want, or that since I’m for him he must be a good person, or . . . I remember in my first church the subject of Elvis would come up, and I’d hear two things: “he loved his mother” & “he recorded an album of gospel music.” They were like talismans against the possibility that he was just a lecherous drug-addled fellow whose music you went through puberty with. I assume if you are motivated by supporting Trump since you believe he will stand up for people like you, and oppose those different from you & yours, that means you need some tropes to fend off the unavoidable knowledge that he flagrantly cheated on spouses right down through the current partner, like “he’s a godly man.”

    But it is discouraging. The husband’s logic actually makes sense. Hers is tragically inexplicable.

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  22. David C said on January 17, 2022 at 6:17 pm

    They believe the only President, except for maybe W, who I can reasonably imagine saying “Get rid of it” is somehow pro forced birth like they are. That’s the only thing their Jesus cares about even though I hear he never said a thing about it. He’s grifted off of them with that and they don’t seem to know or care they’re being swindled. I don’t know the bible beyond “Hey, let’s try to be decent to each other for a change”, but I hear tell that it’s full of adulterers and generally jerky men who they say he’s just like.

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  23. Dorothy said on January 17, 2022 at 6:40 pm

    I watched it about two weeks ago but to the best of my recollection, Icarus, when the decision was made to send in the National Guard and police to end the prison takeover, Rockefeller would not intervene or suggest alternate ways to end the mess. Reporters were told that the prisoners had been holding knives to the throats of the hostages (later proved untrue) and that they had slit the throats of some hostages. It was because of that, the Nat’l Guard and police fired on the crowd. Ten prison guards who had been taken hostage were killed (some survived but I forget how many). And 30 prisoners were killed in the barrage.

    Later, there was a tape of Nixon calling Rockefeller to discuss the aftermath and Nixon said “Was it the Blacks?” And Rockefeller told him “yes”. As if it was the prisoners who had done all the killing – or most of it. Remember in the Watergate investigation it was discovered that Nixon made a habit of recording conversations he had in the Oval Office so …. I guess this was one that they got hold of.

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  24. Deborah said on January 17, 2022 at 9:30 pm

    There’s a funny piece in NYTs about Acoma, a Pueblo in NM and how some of the people who live there are huge Dallas Cowboy fans Since NM doesn’t have any pro teams people are either Cowboys fans or Denver fans (can’t remember the name, Broncos?) or San Francisco’s team, also can’t remember that team’s name. It’s mostly only football, I rarely hear anyone talk about other pro sports.

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  25. alex said on January 18, 2022 at 1:45 pm

    Ah, to live in Acoma.

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  26. Scout said on January 18, 2022 at 2:27 pm

    Get your FREE at home Covid test kits here:

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  27. brian stouder said on January 18, 2022 at 3:35 pm

    Thread-win for Alex!!

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  28. Julie Robinson said on January 18, 2022 at 3:37 pm

    Four per household; we have five in ours, so who gets to go without? I know, if four it have the fifth does too, I’m just slightly annoyed.

    I had my crone’s test this morning for the first time, a Dexascan for bone density, and it gave me a .01 chance of breaking a hip in the next 10 years. Finally, a test that the big-boned overweight girls can excel at!

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  29. LAMary said on January 18, 2022 at 5:15 pm

    High five, Julie. Same here.

    Marjorie Taylor Greene and one other jerk congressman (Clyde?) have accumulated 150k in fines for not wearing masks. Strong work, guys.

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  30. Dexter Friend said on January 18, 2022 at 5:57 pm

    If I post this as a link, the paywall troll will knock it into the next county, so I’ll try posting the entire article. I frequently find myself listening to Big Band music from way before I was born.
    “Bryan native pens book on Duke Ellington ahead of historic performance”
    A chance meeting on an Amtrak train led a Bryan native to write a new book about Duke Ellington ahead of an upcoming historic performance of one of the jazz legend’s most misunderstood pieces.

    Karen S. Barbera was taking an overnight train trip in 2013 to move her daughter to college in Iowa when a friendly gentleman in his early 70s struck up a conversation with her.

    This man, Randall Keith Horton, explained that he was Ellington’s assistant composer, conductor and pianist for a brief time in the early ‘70s, and that for 34 years he’d been trying to get published his arrangement of some of Ellington’s least known and most under-appreciated works.

    “I thought, this is a really fascinating story that I’ve never heard before,” said Barbera, who thought her background in public relations might help bring this story some attention.

    When the train reached their stop, Horton and Barbera exchanged phone numbers and over next nine years became partners in shining a light some of Ellington’s overlooked works, namely “Black, Brown and Beige,” and the subsequent three “Sacred Concerts.”

    Black, Brown and Beige

    By the 1940s, Ellington was already a world-famous musician with a vast oeuvre, primarily known for his shorter big band songs.

    In 1943, at the height of his career, he was invited to create a new composition and conduct it with his own musicians at Carnegie Hall, a marked departure from the clubs where jazz musicians were typically relegated.

    The resulting work was a similar departure: “Black, Brown and Beige,” a 47-minute jazz piece that he himself considered his magnum opus and others would consider the first jazz composition of symphonic dimension. It was, as Barbera writes:

    ” …an extended-length composition about the history of African Americans written and performed for the first time from an American Negro’s perspective and told in the musical vernacular uniquely created by them.”

    The work was misunderstood by the public and mostly eviscerated by critics.

    “Jazz lovers didn’t understand it,” Barbera said. “The classical music world brutally rejected it.” Racist attitudes undoubtedly contributed to its marginalization. After all, this was a Black man in America attempting to gain recognition as a musician, not merely an entertainer.

    Ellington’s band performed the work only two more times, then never again in its entirety.

    In 1987, 13 years after Ellington’s death, his son Mercer and music publisher G. Schirmer commissioned Horton — a self-described “obscure Ellingtonian” who served as Ellington’s composing and conducting assistant for a time in the 1970s — to write the only full-length orchestration of “Black, Brown and Beige.” Horton completed his work one year later, but the music languished unpublished for 34 years — until that chance meeting on the Amtrak.

    Barbera already had written three biographical books as well as investigative journalism for noted publications like The Wall Street Journal when she met Horton, who is listed as a co-author of her book, “The Notes the World Was nOt Ready to Hear.” She took a keen interest not only in Ellington’s work, but Horton’s plight.

    “He had 12 submission attempts over 34 years. None were accepted by the publisher,” Barbera said. “He’d been beaten up one side and down the other.

    “I said, ‘I want to document your story so no one can question it, no one can say it’s not true, no one can dismiss you,'” she said.

    As the two continued to shop the Horton-Ellington piece to other publishers, the scope of Barbera’s work remained in flux. After meeting Diana Ossana, a writer perhaps most famous for penning the Oscar Award-winning screenplay for the film “Brokeback Mountain,” the story appeared poised for a big screen treatment, with Ossana helping link Barbera to lawyers to keep her work protected from unscrupulous Hollywood types.

    Barbera and Horton continued to network, seeking the best way to showcase Ellington’s little-known career milestone, with the project picking up steam. High-profile celebrities like Jay-Z and John Legend were approached.

    But it wasn’t until it got to the desk of Ed Kasses, founder of Princeton Entertainment Group, that it really took shape for its world premier later this month.

    Horton will be the special guest musical consultant for the world premiere of the only full-length orchestration of “Black, Brown and Beige,” by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on Jan. 26 at the “acoustically perfect” Steinmetz Hall in Orlando.

    They will be joined by Emmy-, Grammy- and Tony-award winning soloist Audra McDonald, The Jazz Orchestra at Dr. Phillips Center, musicians from the Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Bethune-Cookman University Concert Chorale, who will all come together for this performance, part of the two-week grand opening celebration marking the completion of Steinmetz Hall, the third theater in Orlando’s $615 million performing arts center.

    “It’s kind of the highlight of the grand opening,” Barbera said, “and fits the center’s mission of ‘Arts for Every Life.'”

    A Bryan native

    Barbera said she’s grateful for the opportunity to help bring bring Ellington and Horton’s work to light, calling it “the fulfillment of our dream to get this point.”

    It’s been an unexpected years-long effort for the 1979 Bryan High School graduate, a former BHS cheerleader and homecoming queen.

    She played violin starting in third grade and participated in orchestra and other musical activities through high school, giving her enough of a musical vocabulary to help in writing about the immensely talented and unique Ellington.

    “A quarter note in Ellington’s music is unlike a quarter note played in any other composer’s music,” she said. “He was a pioneering musical genius who was ahead of his time.”

    Her past literary works include “Twenty Simple Letters, Perfectly Formed,” about a woman who immigrated to the U.S. from a village in Greece in 1919; “Bouquets of Brushes, Patches of Paint, The Fine Art of Pauline Roche,” a coffee table book focused on Roche, an internationally acclaimed, realist-figurative artist; and “10,000 Feet & Climbing, The Aviation Adventures of Richard E. Schreder,” about her late father, who is well-known locally and in the aviation community for starting both the Airmate Company and the Williams County Airport in Bryan.

    Her mother, Angie Schreder, is also a respected, longtime community member, having received the 2015 Bryan Good Citizen Award. She still resides in Bryan.

    Barbera now lives in Southern California with her husband, Randy. The couple enjoys spending time with their six grown children and their expanding families.

    She’s hopeful that bringing greater awareness of this little-known story about an American legend can have an impact on readers and music lovers.

    “The power of music and exposure to different cultures can change the way people think, the way people vote and the way we live.”

    “Duke Ellington: The Notes the World Was Not Ready to Hear” is available now via online retailers like Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

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  31. Sherri said on January 18, 2022 at 6:22 pm

    Chief Justice John Roberts asked that the SCOTUS justices wear masks when they resumed in person arguments, in recognition that some justices were immune-compromised. All but one agreed. Justice Gorusch refused to wear a mask, even though he sits next to Justice Sotomayor, who as a diabetic is immune-compromised. As a result, Sotomayor did not hear arguments in person.

    They say the one thing a marriage can not survive is contempt. It’s hard to see Gorsuch’s refusal to wear a mask as anything other than contempt.

    When the divisions in this country have gotten so deep that even the nine people who like to think of themselves as above the fray can’t even summon the common courtesy to take regard for each other’s health, how can we survive as a country? I don’t know what it looks like not to survive, but I’m not optimistic about survival.

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  32. Jeff Borden said on January 18, 2022 at 6:33 pm

    Dexter, thanks for making me smile. Ellington and Basie are two of my favorites.

    Sherri, thanks for reminding me that a seat on the Supreme Court is no match for a selfish, self-righteous asshole like Neil Gorsuch. SCOTUS is a dumpster fire and will remain one for at least a generation thanks to our Electoral College and Moscow Mitch McTreason. Apolitical? Please.

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  33. Julie Robinson said on January 18, 2022 at 7:57 pm

    It’s also forced Sotomayor to participate in their weekly meetings via phone, rather than in person. I feel like that puts her at an unfair disadvantage.

    We’ve been reading about the Steinmetz Hall opening almost every day in the Orlando paper. They are bringing in all kinds of stellar performers, for example Audra McDonald in the Ellington concert. They are also not using any local musicians for a hall in which they will be playing in the future.

    If I were part of the symphony I’d be really pissed.

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  34. Deborah said on January 18, 2022 at 8:17 pm

    These are the best explanations I’ve read about why the filibuster needs to go

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  35. tajalli said on January 18, 2022 at 9:13 pm

    LAMary@29, they’re helping to balance the budget one violation at a time.

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  36. alex said on January 18, 2022 at 10:49 pm

    Thanks Dex. Great story and the paywall blocked me earlier when you posted on Facebook. Glad that the newspaper in Bryan is proud to claim a favorite daughter even if she’s trafficking in critical race theory.

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  37. Deborah said on January 19, 2022 at 12:08 am

    You had me chuckling Alex with your CRT comment.

    We’re staying at the Venice Beach House tonight. We met LB and her friend for dinner at a restaurant that we really enjoyed. LB is staying out here with her friend for a couple more weeks, why not? LB certainly has the time, she cooks for her friend when her friend comes home from work, plus what’s not to like about Beverly Hills? Nice weather, not that far from the beach etc etc. LB will fly back to NM on Feb 1st, she has a ticket that didn’t get used a couple of months ago, long story, but it needed to get used at some point.

    The Venice Beach House is a nostalgic place for me and my husband, we stayed here many times when he was working on a project out here. It’s steps from the ocean and very quaint.

    Tomorrow we drive back to NM, through some of Gosar’s district in north western AZ, I will be shooting the finger through that.

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  38. beb said on January 19, 2022 at 2:00 am

    There has been some debate whether people should take pleasure in the deaths of anti-vaxxers. As a cranky old man my opinion is ‘yes, people who refuse to get vaccinated deserve whatever they get. So I found this article rather irritating.

    I think the CDC should favor treatment to people who got vaccinated since they TRIED to do the right thing. Why waste resources on people who refused to try.

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  39. Dexter Friend said on January 19, 2022 at 2:19 am

    Just curious as to if any of us nallers are easily able to watch the Joel Coen “…Macbeth” and are nimble-minded enough to absorb the dialect into full meaning, close captioning on or off. I started watching but kept rewinding and pausing to let the words sink in. I really don’t know if I am deficient in ability to instantly “get” the meaning of the phraseology because I am not a Shakespearean scholar , or I am supposed to not treat it as a school project and just watch it letting the words flow over me like I am submerged in a creek bed and all I hear is the cadence and rhythm. I am also watching it again tomorrow in its entirety before I get a little groggy and can concentrate on the dialogue.

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  40. alex said on January 19, 2022 at 7:25 am

    Dex, I majored in English and I remember when studying works written in “middle” and “early modern” English that they were almost unnavigable without a professor explaining them the whole way through. And that was while we were looking at the written page versus listening to the rapid-fire spoken dialogue of a movie. But then I’ve always considered Shakespeare more of a chore than a pastime. The few rare exceptions have been when the director made it so bad it was good like in the movie “The Goodbye Girl.”

    So does that make me a philistine? And what would we call one who pretends to like it?

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  41. Mark P said on January 19, 2022 at 9:01 am

    You know it’s over when a Justice on the Supreme Court feels that it is necessary to say that they are not partisan hacks.

    Sherri, on a recent blog post I was talking about maybe freezing to death in the most recent snowy doom in Georgia is preferable to seeing the end of the world, but then maybe the end of the world might not look so different from the way it looks now.

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  42. Jeff Borden said on January 19, 2022 at 10:05 am

    Since the NN.C community includes many who love newspapers, I want to share a happy story from Chicago. The Sun-Times, our scrappy tabloid survivor of numerous horrible owners but now owned by a consortium of investors and labor unions, is merging with WBEZ, our public radio station. They will create what is believed to be the largest non-profit journalism company in the nation.

    This is terrific news for our city, particularly since Alden Capital continues to strip mine the once mighty Chicago Tribune. The S-T is very much a local paper. Anyone interested in a wide range of national or international stories will be deeply disappointed in its offerings, but as a subscriber to the NYT and Washington Post, I have that covered.

    Perhaps this is the route for other struggling print publications? We’ll see.

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  43. Jeff Gill said on January 19, 2022 at 2:33 pm

    Shakespeare has always been clearer to me when spoken, especially by good actors of course, than trying to make sense of him on the page.

    Alex, thanks for the memory: “Goodbye Girl” is a guilty pleasure I go back to probably as a monument to a past age than for the quality of the movie, but it surely has some moments, and you note one of them for sure.

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  44. Sherri said on January 19, 2022 at 4:47 pm

    I find it takes about 15 minutes to tune my ear to Shakespeare if I haven’t heard it in a while, so I just let it flow over me and ease into it, then eventually it settles in. Rather than worrying about what I’m missing, I enjoy what I’m getting.

    I approached rap and hip-hop the same way, and gained a much greater appreciation for the art.

    This concept also changed my relationship with audiobooks. I used to only listen to audiobooks I had already read, because when I’m listening to something, I often zone out for a few minutes as I process something. It used to bother me that I was missing something! Now, I don’t worry about it, and just enjoy what I do hear.

    As to whether any one is a philistine, I don’t care to make those judgments. You tried it, didn’t find it interesting or compelling, moved on. Life is short. I love well-performed Shakespeare, but find opera boring.

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  45. Dexter Friend said on January 19, 2022 at 5:41 pm

    I have a friend from high school who played in the school band, then in adulthood educated himself in music and is a huge opera fan, and his business takes him to London a few times a year, and he , from this little town in Indiana, can discuss opera and attends opera in London and New York several times a year. Of course, I don’t understand any foreign languages except a few French and Spanish phrases, so I am lost, and my tolerance of high-pitched sounds is low anyway…I am a real proletarian in regard to music, except jazz, blues, rock and roll and some select old C&W tunes.
    I did enjoy Homer’s “The Odyssey” greatly, as a somewhat older (age 21) college student; that was easier for me than much of Shakespeare, except the rudimentary easy to figure plays.

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  46. LAMary said on January 19, 2022 at 5:56 pm

    I think the twice impeached election losing ex president is the standard philistine. Clearly he has no appreciation for art, music, literature, theatre. He likes garbage food. He does not realize his fake tan crap and his bright yellow combover look stupid. Do you think he could handle Shakespeare at all? Even a sonnet? No. Renee Fleming could perform something charming from an opera, something so lovely it doesn’t make any difference what she’s singing about and he would not appreciate it. Philistine is too big and difficult a word for him. He’s just a slob.

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  47. LAMary said on January 19, 2022 at 6:12 pm

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  48. Suzanne said on January 19, 2022 at 6:34 pm

    I love opera! All opera houses now have supertitles, so you don’t have to wonder what is going on. I love the music, the grandeur, all of it. I wish I had heard Jessye Norman in person. I know one person who did and he said the sound was so loud you could almost feel it.

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  49. Joe Kobiela said on January 19, 2022 at 6:50 pm

    I love operas, Bugs Bunnies Whats Opera Doc is a classic!
    Pilot Joe

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  50. Julie Robinson said on January 19, 2022 at 8:06 pm

    I love opera too, all except for the operatic voice. That kills it for me.

    Dexter, I think Sherri has the right idea on Shakespeare. It’s meant to be heard, not read. In a theatre you wouldn’t catch every word or phrase, but you get the gist of it, sometimes from expressions, or the other actors, or even the audience. Wiki the plotline first, then let it happen.

    And if you don’t enjoy it, there’s a world of other programming.

    I’ve seen a lot of Shakespeare along the way and had a college class on the comedies, but let’s face it, it can be very heavy lifting. We will probably get Apple+ again for the next Ted Lasso season and I’ll watch Denzel then.

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  51. Deborah said on January 19, 2022 at 10:16 pm

    My approach to opera and Shakespeare is to do research beforehand. I read up on the synopsis so I know the storyline and then I can just enjoy the particular presentation of it.

    I grew into appreciating opera, I always enjoyed the spectacle of it including the venue, opera halls are often over the top, then I enjoyed the sets and costumes and finally I enjoyed the music and voices. The progression took me years of going with my husband.

    Shakespeare on the other hand is something I appreciate more when it has an unusual and highly creative setting. And I’ll agree it needs to be live before I really feel it. Same with opera, my husband enjoys opera videos but I do not. On the other hand I especially want to see the Macbeth production that Nancy mentioned because, Frances McDormand.

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  52. Dexter Friend said on January 20, 2022 at 12:36 am

    This is for nance and others who have watched or may watch the new “..Macbeth”. It’s a humorous take by a legitimate journalist. Me, hell, I thought Kathryn Hunter, in character makeup as the crone, was Frances at first. Nope. Clueless, that’s me. Anyway, I enjoyed this little write-up.

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  53. Jeff Gill said on January 20, 2022 at 7:07 am

    Speaking of which:–0

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  54. LAMary said on January 20, 2022 at 9:49 am

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  55. Deborah said on January 20, 2022 at 10:17 am

    LAMary, from one of my fave operas Turandot, Nessun Dorma always makes me cry, especially that performance.

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  56. LAMary said on January 20, 2022 at 10:40 am

    In high school I was in the school chorus and was in the chorus of an amateur philharmonic. I can still do the choral parts for Judas Maccabeus as well as the Ode to Joy in German but my voice is a bit lower than it was in my teens. The experience of singing with a full orchestra behind you, in a group of 40 or so voices is wonderful. You can literally feel the music. In rehearsals, holding your sheet music, you can feel the paper vibrate from the sound. There’s something about contributing your voice to that sound that feels wonderful.

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  57. Jenine said on January 20, 2022 at 11:29 am

    @LAMary, thanks for the links. Renee F singing O mio babbino caro makes me cry. What control and lightness.
    I agree about choir singing, there’s nothing like it.

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  58. Julie Robinson said on January 20, 2022 at 12:01 pm

    Mary, agreed. I’ve had that opportunity many times and it’s always glorious. My favorite was singing Beethoven’s 9th in a large choir accompanied by full orchestra, for the opening of a music building at the local university. Truly a mountaintop experience.

    Also pretty cool and intense was being sung to while in the embrace of my leading man, and feeling the vibrations all through my body. I usually played the comic relief roles since I’m a tall alto, but this guy was much taller and boy could he sing. Whew, I get a little hot and bothered remembering it! It’s no wonder there’s so many showmances. Fortunately neither of us was married, so no issues there.

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  59. brian stouder said on January 20, 2022 at 4:55 pm

    Well, Thread win for Julie!! Made me laugh/smile/blush all at once!

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  60. Dorothy said on January 20, 2022 at 7:42 pm

    Dexter don’t worry – I’m right there with you. I really wanted to love the Denzel Macbeth but I had to stop it. I don’t know the story – I did not go to college, and in high school I shifted to secretarial training courses in junior and senior year so I didn’t have any advanced literature classes. Like Deborah, I’m going to research the plot first and then that will help me, I’m sure. Their faces and the way they said their lines was mesmerizing, but I need to understand exactly what everyone MEANS before I can return to it. Thankfully I’ll be retired in a week and after unpacking and setting up the house, I’ll have lots of time to soak up and appreciate productions like that.

    Two homes ago, when we were in Greenville SC, I got cast as Lady Montague in Romeo & Juliet. I didn’t know most of the cast (one guy worked where I worked) so all of it was new and a wee bit intimidating. But I absolutely LOVED hearing the actors do their lines in rehearsal and I understood it so much better and appreciated it so much more. And on Monday TCM ran a lot of movies with black actors for MLK day, and I watched about half of Carmen Jones which, of course, is based on the opera Carmen. You’d think after working in the Dept of Music at a University that I’d be better versed in opera stuff after 7 years, but I don’t get to go to many of the Friday recitals that are a requirement for all music majors. I’ve been to a couple dozen probably, and i hear students sing selections from operas, and their voices blow me away, but I have no context. I also loved hearing our voice faculty when they would perform – being surrounded by so much talent is overwhelming sometimes. I soaked up as much of it as I could. I’m going to miss that part of the job. Other stuff, not so much. I am so looking forward to not having work tasks on my mind even after I go home. I’m accustomed to so much hubbub and activity M-F – I wonder if I’m going to have any period of adjustment to more quiet and solitude at home? Having grandkids nearby will surely fill the void!

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  61. Deborah said on January 20, 2022 at 9:05 pm

    Dorothy, you have always impressed me with your level of productivity. What with your knitting, quilting, acting, traveling, getting together with your extended family etc etc I think you will love being retired. You won’t have to get up and go to work on someone else’s schedule. I love it, after I too worried about it at first. I don’t regret a minute of retiring at 62. Best time of my life, by far.

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  62. Dexter Friend said on January 21, 2022 at 2:18 am

    TCM also showed shorts and docs that hardly anybody ever saw before, shot in 1968 and 1969, regarding the 1968 Democratic Convention at The International Amphitheater and the violence at Balbo and Michigan Avenue and then a full doc about the press coverage of the Fred Hampton police murder. Lots of footage of Hanrahan the D.A. and the Black Panthers giving different accounts of the slaughter on the west side that awful night.

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