Hip Op Music

I was supposed to be playing Hip Op music on Feb. 9, but my hip replacement surgery got postponed indefinitely. So, instead I am playing the Volga Boatman (a trite piece of music often used to represent death or depression). But because I expected to be recuperating, I preposted my columns  for release on Feb. 12 and 19. They will be just a little short and timeless. I've already done the work, so, barring a miracle reschedule, or earth shattering news,  I'll just take a couple of weeks of cruise control and do stretches to reduce the pain in my back and leg. I have lived with this pain, on and off, for 18 months; I can stand a few more. Old age isn't for sissies.

My Granddaughter: Happy Baby

As she grows older, she is constantly smiling and laughing. I know every grandparent sees themselves in their grandchildren, but I find this characteristic of hers encouraging. I have been a bubbly, happy optimist my entire life. Everyone who knew me as a baby always told me that I was the happiest baby they had ever known. That worked out well for me. I hope it works out well for her.

This and That

Great Headline

From Linkedin: Type Fonts Personified. Do not click on this link unless you are a total type font nerd. I mean, do Serif faces wear little top hats?

Winning Isn’t Everything, Really
Brendan at Semi-Rad postulates about the meaning of winning.
Groundhog Day Followup
My friend of long-standing Tom LaSusa pointed out that Ned Ryerson/Steve Toblowsky did eight Frito-Lay commercials on Groundhog Day. Reminiscent of Bill Murray’s SuperBowl Jeep Ad from a few years back.


Fake News

In Terry Pratchett’s book, The Truth, among the many cogent comments about journalism (to be found here) is that of Lord Vetinari: “It amazes me how the news you have so neatly fits the space available. No little gaps anywhere. And every day something happens that is important enough to be at the top of the first page, too. How strange...”

One way in which this happens is the original “fake news,” events made up solely so they can be covered by the media. The annual story about “word of the year” from dictionaries. The annual “color of the year” from paint companies. I, of course, make sure to include both in my column.

Another story of this ilk is the annual selection by Wayne State's Word Warriors of “words to bring back.” This year’s selection is blatherskite, a person who talks at great length without making much sense.This selection resonates with me, but I don’t know why.

So, got a hole on the front page? Run that story about… color of the year and/or word of the year…

Or, on January 1, a very slow news day, run a front page story about the way in which Americans define class. I swept America’s front pages with that story in 1976

Review: American Fiction *****

This film absolutely deserves its best picture nomination. It is about a black Harvard-educated professor whose books don’t sell very well. He sees that what sells is “da hood,” with lots of dialect and violence. It takes him a while, but he decides to write what he considers a parody of the genre, and gives it to his agent as if it were a “real” book. So, of course, he gets offered a six-figure advance and a six-figure movie deal, even after changing the title to a four-letter anglo saxon term for… well, you can guess.

Every actor in this film is good; Jeffrey Wright is amazing. It is nice to see Leslie Uggams working again. The script is funny and clever, poking fun at disgusting stereotyping without  being preachy. The ending is a clever twist.

I am sure it will be streaming soon, but I recommend you run, don’t walk, to a real movie theater. I mean, it’s not Oppenheimer, which demands to be seen on a big screen; it’s a comedy that deserves to be seen with other people laughing.

One more thing: thank heavens it wasn’t written by a white guy, It’s based on the novel Erasure by African-American author Percival Evertt, and adapted and directed by bi-racial Cord Jefferson. As I used to say to my  daughters, its got your artsy and your fartsy.

Ferrari should win best picture, but that will difficult since it wasn’t nominated.

Review: The Rewinder Trilogy *****

Regular readers will have figured out by now that I am a big fan of time-travel fiction. College buddy Ken Isaacson recommended the Brett Battles Rewinder trilogy: Rewinder, Destroyer and Survivor.

I ran through all three pretty quickly. One and two were fantastic. I couldn’t put them down, despite the fact that they messed with world timelines and personal timelines in a way that made my head spin, made me lose track of who was who, and made me entertained by that confusion.

I confess the third book in the series dragged in the middle, but the superbly satisfying ending made up for it.