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Various horrors, baseball, oranges, prose, decomposing leaves

Thursday 10/28/21

* Want to know how far this goes? Harper's reached out to my ex-wife. That's the level of evil with which you are dealing. Someone I have had nothing to do with in many years, who is the person on this earth I wish to have the least to do with, which is saying something. There are always some loose lips on the ship. People are far too trusting of their co-workers. But that is deep state disturbing. It's information I can use, though, and there was no way I was not going to mention it, because this is beyond the pale as a violation. People should lose jobs for this.

* Moving on. I wrote an op-ed today and a 2000 word short story. I have never done anything stronger or more inventive than the latter. I am getting better every day. I feel powers continuously growing.

* A pretty big piece came out yesterday, but I will do a proper accounting/round-up soon in an entry that gets all of that recent stuff in one place.

* I watched 1933's The Invisible Man again tonight, and I was struck by just how well-made it is. Holds up marvelously well. I think it's a perfect horror film. The police are impressively competent in it, too, which isn't what you get with most horror fare, going back to the early Universal pictures. Out of those original "monsters"--a term I'm not outrightly keen on, given the pathos we generally experience with these characters--the Invisible Man is actually the most destructive. He kills one hundred plus people. The scene in the hostelry when you he kills the police officer by first choking him and then crashing his skull with a chair is startling. You see the impact of the chair. Then the death--execution-style--with the car near the end is a great scene. I find myself actually pulling for the traitor to get dispatched. But I suppose that can be an itch that horror films scratch.

* The Bruins are not playing well. Defensive breakdowns.

* Hunter Renfroe with his twelve outfield errors—a crazy amount—should not be nominated for a Gold Glove. That’s lazy nominating that undercuts what the award is supposed to mean. Don’t fall for easy narratives. Put in the time and effort to actually know.

* Surprising baseball stat: the great Rod Carew scored over 100 runs only once in his career. He did this in 1977, when he led the league in runs scored. Carlton Fisk--a catcher--was second. This was also the only season of Fisk's career that he scored 100 runs, but obviously it is rare for even an elite catcher to ever reach that number once. Mickey Cochrane did it a bunch, actually.

* Want to be assured, just about, of making the baseball Hall of Fame? Acquire 70 WAR and you’re in. There are very few exceptions to this. Schilling, but that’s about something else. And Lou Whittaker and Bobby Grich. Coincidence that they’re second basemen?

* When I eat an orange, I think of Errol Flynn. Movie producers tried to keep him sober on sets, so Flynn had oranges injected with vodka delivered to his dressing room. Horrible the vise he was in. Died aged fifty. It’s just a way I remind myself to keep my streak going.

* Someone told me today that their favorite story in Brackets was "Yellow Hammers." This truly surprised me, as I thought that would be this person's--based upon what I know about her--least favorite of anything in what is a singular book. I like the description of this being a punk rock triple album, which breaks every rule of the "normal" story collection, and is executed in thirty different styles. This is true. "Yellow Hammers"--which is referenced, though not by title, on the back cover, and I'd say quite cleverly--is a kind of YA story for adults. If that makes sense. It's a book where someone will say they have ABC as their favorites, and before they name what A, B, and C are, one will have no clue what they could possibly be. That's what you are going for. Or it is what I am going for. I make Revolver. I don't make the record that is a couple of hits surrounded by filler.

* I watched Dracula--the Browning/Lugosi version--last night, and enjoyed it the most that I have in many years. It's one of my ten favorite films, but last night it just hit me as really well down, highly effective, unjustly...under-recognized, I guess you could a cinematic work of art. The compositions are beautiful. The pacing. Lugosi, who can sometimes be terrible, and often over-powers a film with his awkwardness, is perfectly cast. He plays so well in this movie and in The Black Cat, which I'm watching again right now. I'm giving some real thought to do another book on a horror film, and I have a list of about eight or nine movies I'm considering. I'm thinking about Dracula as one of them. The lack of a musical soundtrack is such a strength of the picture. I wrote an op-ed--which I probably won't be able to use this year, for Halloween--on how the absence of music and musical cues pulls us in with this work and compels us to use our imaginations.

* As a virtuoso, no jazz pianist can match Art Tatum. He thrills me. But as a jazz musician, no pianist can touch Bud Powell.

* Tonight I went down to the Starbucks to read some of William Sloane's To Walk the Night, my favorite book. As I was coming out, I smelled, for the first time that year, the deep aroma of autumn when you can smell not just the smoke in the air, but that scent of decaying leaves. The leaves have been off the trees long enough that they've starting to break down, become part of the grass, the soil.

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