- I didn’t write on my Blog. Yep, and I have a feeling like a big heavy ball-and-chain is holding me back from writing in the new until I say farewell to the old. So here’s some of my ‘didn’ts and dids’ for last year . . .
- I didn’t go to Europe but I went to California where my grandson is an animator with Disney and we got a personal tour. How many grandmothers do you know have a grandchild that works in a building with Mickey Mouse’s top hat on top?
- I didn’t go to the opera but I did go to a few simulcasts at my local theater and experienced Tannhauser–4 hours of magnificent Wagner. I did go to Lincoln Center last fall for a NYBT performance. I have a daughter who loves dance, especially ballet, so it’s my treat every year for her birthday and she buys dinner. Last year was the best–in three acts, the first was classical ballet, tutu and toe, performed to a Mozart Divertimento; the second was modern dressed in tight black and white–I liked this one best, but the third and longest act was a series of beautiful waltzes with gorgeous flowing dresses and tuxedoes. So Elegant and full of grace.
- I didn’t see ‘Hamilton’ but I saw ‘Cagney’ and left singing “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy”.
- I did go to the Brooklyn Museum to focus on Judy Chicago’s ‘The Dinner Party’. It’s the seminal work of the feminist movement of the 70’s. 39 porcelain place settings quietly await their famous guests while 999 more names of great women in history are scrolled over the porcelain tiled floor. It’s powerful and brought tears to my eyes.
- Finally, I ended the year with all my family around me. This was the first time we’ve all been together in several years–22 of us and growing–and wow! can they eat!!!
Scott Pelley ended the CBS evening news with a quote from Viktor Frankl. To paraphrase: “Do not ask what is the meaning of life; ask what is the meaning of you.”
Frankl survived Auschwicz; his wife, parents and brother didn’t. His best selling book Man’s Search for Meaning has sold over 9,000,000 copies.
I like Westerns; I like Hillary Swank and Tommy Lee Jones. They are good at what they do, so I settled back with a smile to spend the evening with them in the Wild West. It didn’t take long to realize that something was wrong–the land was too barren, the town too small and the settlers too few. Swank plays, Mary Bee Cuddy, a strong, stalwart, spinster tilling her own land and wanting more than anything a man, for various reasons. Jones plays, George Briggs, a good-for-nothing drifter whom Cuddy finds hanging from a tree (the only tree I believe within a hundred miles) getting ready to offer up his last breath. (I know what you’re thinking, but forget it.) As the story proceeds, Cuddy has volunteered–for want of a valiant ‘Townsman’ to do so–to take three immigrant women who had become quite mad, across the barren plain to get help. Briggs comes along—not because he feels any debt to Cuddy for saving his life but because she agrees to pay him.
From this point on, ‘Homesman’ makes no sense and don’t wait for it to do so. Cuddy picks up these immigrant women, who couldn’t hack it on the barren plain, in a wood-enclosed wagon with no windows and a lock on the door. They are handcuffed inside in their flimsy nightgowns, and at least one has no shoes. There is no baggage and even few supplies for this barren plain adventure—I’m beginning to worry.
Along the way, they get hungry and BEHOLD! on this barren plain, with absolutely nothing around but barrenness, sits a Victorian Hotel that looks very much like a gingerbread house. Inside is the innkeeper, James Spader, with a full staff preparing a feast and acting much like that rabbit who was always late in ‘Alice in Wonderland’. Next, the little party arrives at a thriving Western town and Briggs delivers his looney cargo to Meryl Streep, the minister’s wife. “Aha,” I say aloud, a smirk on my face, “You can’t fool me. You may think you look like Meryl Streep in that bouffant black dress and pretty little black bonnet but I know you are really the Queen of Spades!”
I wait for Tommy Lee Jones, who directed the film, to put everything aright as he has so many times, but no, the movie ends as he dances a macabre jig and a wooden grave marker floats down the river.
“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.”
I LIKE THAT!!
Edward Paul Abbey (January 29, 1927 – March 14, 1989) an American author and essayist and early environmentalist.
- It stars Tom Hanks and he’s always a class act(or). Here, he portrays Captain Richard Phillips with a competence and sensitivity that made this viewer feel empathy for a mangy, undernourished gang of captors that simply had a boat, a few guns, and nothing else to do.
- It was developed from an intense and wild true story. In 2009, the Maersk Alabama, a large freighter, was hi-jacked off the coast of Africa by Somali pirates. The Somalis took the Captain as ransom when they left the ship on an enclosed lifeboat.
- The Navy shows up and then the SEALS and, well, if you’re like I am who still gets tears in her eyes during the proper performance of the ‘Star Spangled Banner’, you know the feeling.
Mal-nourished pirates take-over Freighter on High Seas
One thing about a well-publicized true story, we know the major details–we know that the pirates get on the ship, that the captain is taken hostage and that we get him back. But as the tension builds, I caught myself searching for logical ways to keep it from happening. After all, the fact that four raggamuffin Somalis in a run-down motor boat could illegally board a large freighter with a crew of 30, take it over, leave with the Captain and $30,000 never quite seemed real even when I read it, but it does reaffirm that “truth is stranger than fiction.”
Wake up, Maritimers!!!