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Tapestry not threads

Monday 8/28/23

A children's book that's for adults and not children. A real one, not a novelty one. And not because of foul language or imagery.

Found and downloaded BBC sets from Gerry and the Pacemakers and the Everly Brothers, both bootlegs.

Sat in a cafe and closed my eyes and listened to Nick Drake's Peel session, the first takes of "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "A Day in the Life," Quiet Riot's "Cum on Feel the Noize," Primal Scream's "Jailbird" (one of the best cod-false starts in rock and roll history) and "Rocks," the Rolling Stones' "Good Time Women" and "Tumbling Dice," and the Dead's "Ripple."

Watched an old newsreel of goings on at Eton and believe I saw M.R. James in what would be the only footage of him.

Called my mom yesterday to see how she was doing and her grandkid and my niece Amelia had just been dropped off so instead I ended up talking to a three-year-old for fifteen minutes. This involved a tour of the upstairs part of the house (when she wanted to show me something, she pointed the phone at it, despite this being my mom's landline phone), a description of what she'll be wearing when she starts ballet this week (with me sharing that I had just put on a Boston Ballet shirt by coincidence), notification that she was the librarian, the news that part of her duties as such was writing in a copy of my Sam Cooke book, a change of clothes, and the testing of a couple beds like she was Goldilocks. Then she said, "Bye, Colin," and hung up.

The Red Sox dropped two out of three to the Dodgers. The Dodgers are going to be tough to beat. They're really good. Verdugo had homered in the lead-off spot in three straight games. I'm not sure what the record is. Three has probably been done a bunch. I bet someone's done four. Five would be a stretch, but maybe. I saw footage yesterday from 1977 of the Rangers hitting back-to-back inside-the-park home runs against the Yankees in the Bronx and that had been done before. The Yankees outfielders made it happen and watching first Lou Piniella in right and then Mickey Rivers--who took this godawful route to the ball, then jogged after it once he failed to make the play--I wondered how they won the World Series with defense like that. It didn't look at all like a one--or two--time thing.

The Red Sox need to get Tim Wakefield off their broadcasts. He's no more cut out for it than I am to stand on the mound and throw knuckleballs. He must know the game, but you wouldn't know it because he's so diffident that he is loath to talk, and then when he does he's stiff or it's about nothing at all, like a play a ball boy almost made on a foul ball. It seems he's there entirely for nostalgia.

The 1977 Rangers were actually a good team, which isn't what you'd expect from the Rangers of that era. They had Gaylord Perry and Bert Blyleven in their starting rotation, plus Doyle Alexander. Toby Harrah--who hit one of those inside-the-park jobs--was an underrated, effective player. They remind me some of the 1990 White Sox as a team you look back on and are impressed with them and wonder what might have been if a different playoff format was in place. Each squad won 1994 games. The Rangers finished behind the 102-win Kansas City Royals and the White Sox had the powerhouse Oakland Athletics in front of them at the height of the Bash Brothers era. I'm kind of proud that a forty-two-year-old Carlton Fisk was the best player on that White Sox team. His OPS+ that year was 134. If Fisk was better than someone like Gary Carter, it was because of things like this, that he could be so effective later in his career and at an age when no one catches, let alone is a regular and has an OPS+ to lead a 94-win team. Fisk's career was really spread out and his key seasons and feats were spread out, whereas Carter's were bunched closely together. Fisk wouldn't be special for a few years, then he would be. But if you are going to have Fisk in front of Carter--and I do at present--you have to really understand the whole and things like that 1990 season.

Was sitting in a different cafe reading a the lone interview that Nick Drake conducted in his lifetime, which was with Sounds, and trying to concentrate despite what was going on at the table in front of me. There was this guy emotionally manipulating woman. He was trying to control her with his words, his tone of voice, this pose he was striking. You could tell she was staying in what was clearly an abusive relationship. The guy thought he was this intellectual with the answers and the patience, but you could feel his anger, and you knew that it would worsen if he lost any of the control he had over her. He was talking down to the woman like he was Yoda. He was big, bearded, bold, rebarbative. She was attractive. I could hear the pain in her voice. She'd say that she wasn't happy, and he'd work to reframe everything, to put it back on her. This guy was grotesque. I felt like standing up and saying, "This guy's a loser. You can do a lot better. Want to take a walk?"

The choices people make.

I ran 5000 stairs on both Saturday and Sunday. Yesterday marked 2604 days, or 372 weeks, without a drink. I hadn't done my push-ups on Friday, so that meant I had to do 200 on Saturday.

A woman said to me, "I loved that you used a big word that only Frasier would use," and thus we were done. I'm sure she was very nice, but I just can't.

I saw some of the Notre Dame-Navy game, as it was the first college football game of the season, but it was in Ireland, and I'm just not into that. I need the campus, the tradition, the students, the people coming, that atmosphere. Watched a bit of the UMass-New Mexico State game, too. I'll probably read Sloane's To Walk the Night again soon. It's like I can only go so many months without reading this book again. Easily my favorite book.

Listened to Shostakovich Under Stalin's Shadow - Symphony No. 10, from Andris Nelsons/BSO, a record that begins with the overture to Lady Macbeth of the Mitsenk District. Also listened to a Hallmark Playhouse radio adaptation of W.H. Harvey's "August Heat" with Fred MacMurray (Howard McNear had a brief appearance, too). All the dramatizations of this story get it wrong, because they try and tart it up. Clearly the thinking is that there's not enough action, too much implication, and really just too much possibility. This could be this, and that could happen. But we don't know definitively and the ending is left open because the story ends before the ending, if you will, which is where a lot of its efficiency comes from. On Suspense, they elected to end with a murderous lunge. This doesn't work. MacMurray was not good in the Hallmark version. Sweaty (but not in the August heat way; rather, the clammy and awkward way), distracted. He sounds like someone looking at the script for the first time as he's reading it. Kind of an odd choice, too, for Hallmark. The Apartment aside--a film which I don't like to watch given the cruelty of MacMurray's character--MacMurray isn't an effective heel/villain. I can't take Double Indemnity seriously. Talk about a film that doesn't deserve its reputation. It is to noir what The Exorcist is to horror, the latter being a picture that makes me giggle whenever I see it. I see no reason to be scared of anything in The Exorcist. With Double Indemnity, I'm convinced of nothing, where I doubt nothing in Out of the Past; one is a couple of threads, the other a rich tapestry. None of Double Indemnity adds up. It's all forced. Then, to try and get the story--and the credibility of his romantic infatuation--over, MacMurray is made to say the word "baby" a lot. It's akin to how people say "literally" now, as this would-be magical word that all of a sudden makes them believable and reliable. I think it's such a nothing story with no one to care about. I really don't like that film. I listened to a radio adaptation a week or so ago, with MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck reprising their roles and William Conrad in place of Edward G. Robinson. I guess that was better? But it wasn't much. Also listened to a BBC radio play called "The Voyage of the Demeter," which was no doubt made available because of the recent film. Didn't work.

Watched Powell and Pressburger's Black Narcissus over the weekend, too. Altruistic magicians who understood people. Is there a more beautiful looking color film, too? Then watched a documentary on the color scheme of the movie which I could take or leave.

Came up with something new that could be something, too, story-wise.

So that was the weekend. Let's get after it now, please.

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