Musings from the Bunker 2/26/21
Good Morning and Happy Almost-Weekend (and 350th Musing)! GREAT CRITICAL ANALYSIS In this last weekend’s New York Times Book Review, Author Joe Ide was asked to distinguish between commercial and literary fiction: “Colson Whitehead’s ‘The Underground Railroad’ and Delia Owens’s ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ were both very commercial and very literary. I’ve read many a literary novel that were neither.” Hard not to agree with his observation! WHY SHERLOCK HOLMES SURVIVES TODAY We are in something of a “Sherlock Resurgence” these days, with Enola Holmes on TV, celebrating his alleged younger sister’s exploits. This comes on the heels of a wonderful pair of Sherlock Holmes movies starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law in a more plot-driven, action-oriented Holmes. But the best these days has to be Sherlock, a modern-day take on Holmes, staring the incredible duo of Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Sheen as Holmes and Watson. I think you will appreciate the mix of Holmesian tradition with modern technology and situations. Mycroft, Mary, Moriarty and the other characters are richly drawn and acted. Ide provides a reason why Holmes has spanned generations: “The world’s first consulting detective had no expertise in martial arts or computer hacking, he wasn’t wealthy or athletic and he didn’t slaughter his enemies wholesale with automatic weapons. Sherlock vanquished his enemies and pursued his destiny with just intelligence. He could face his world and not be afraid.” Meanwhile, a few thoughts about the past month: GREAT TV We have now finished watching Call My Agent, on Netflix, which IMBD says “plunges us into the intense and madcap world of talent agents…With humor and wit, the agency partners juggle their chaotic personal lives with the needs of the demanding celebrities they represent.” It’s rare for a comedy to draw such complex characters, special yet flawed, who actually warrant the viewer caring about them. It’s worth it. BEST QUOTE “When power leads men towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.” –John F. Kennedy BEST MUSIC Ringo Starr’s New Years 2021. Every time I see Ringo it makes me smile. This short video also makes me smile. Some may remember that Ringo played “The Conductor” on Thomas the Tank Engine. TRIVIA: What famous celebrity also played “The Conductor”?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5wAjaHLHOI BEST TIME-LAPSE PHOTOGRAPHY As we know, the Earth’s crust is in constant shift over a fluid base. Over the course of the last billion years the continents have moved back and forth, forming and reforming to settle at their current location, which is by no means their final resting place. Here’s a great time-lapse showing the movement of the plates over the last billion years: https://www.google.com/amp/s/cosmosmagazine.com/earth/earth-sciences/tectonic-timelapse/%3famp THINGS WE MISS FROM THE GYM
Wiping someone else’s copious sweat off the elliptical
Chatting with friends and being motivated to finish strong by someone who isn’t paid by Peloton
Enjoying access to more machines than the one you can fit in your living room
Partaking in steam rooms, saunas and eucalyptus-scented towels
COME, AND BE MY BABY
By Maya Angelou
The highway is full of big cars going nowhere fast
And folks is smoking anything that’ll burn
Some people wrap their lives around a cocktail glass
And you sit wondering
Where your’e going to turn.
I got it.
Come. And be my baby.
Some prophets say the world is gonna end tomorrow
But others say we’ve got a week or two
The paper is full of every kind of blooming horror
And you sit wondering
What you’re gonna do.
I got it.
Come. And be my baby.
The Guns of August, by Barbara Tuchman. Arguably the best book to describe the march up to World War I. The assassination of Franz Ferdinand was merely the spark that set off the explosion. The assassination was not inevitable; the war became so because of a series of missteps, both before and after.
October 1964, by David Halberstam. A picture of an era, with the last “big season” of a Yankee dynasty that stretched back to the 1920s with only intermittent droughts. The series was against the Lou Brock and Bob Gibson Cardinals. Halberstam brings his usual excellent narrative style and attention to detail.
BEST CONTEMPLATION OF MORTALITY, TIME, HUBRIS AND HUMILITY Ozymandius, by Shelley: I met a traveller from an antique land Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand, Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things, The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed. And on the pedestal these words appear: "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!" Nothing beside remains: round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, The lone and level sands stretch far away. Have a great weekend, Glenn