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  • Glenn Sonnenberg

Musings from the Bunker 5/11/20

Friends,

As people find themselves at home, they turn to simple pleasures that can be pursued around a table in the den (or multiple tables on line). While sheltering at home, there has been an increased interest in all sorts of games—real and online.

Games cover the gamut. There are, of course, the “regulars” of card games (of which there are a plethora of options), backgammon and chess. There are the tried and true board games like Monopoly, The Game of Life, and Trivial Pursuit. And there’s always Jeopardy! and other group games like charades and Pictionary. I’m partial to word games, so give me Scrabble, crossword puzzles (regular and cryptic) and I’m happy. Most varieties of games or puzzles have on-line options as well. I have a friend with a regular on-line poker game.

My cousin Chris and I were masters of board games when growing up. Our favorites were from the 3M Bookshelf Games set, which stood like books on a bookshelf, widely varying in style, sometimes boasting absurdly complicated rules, and the source of hours and hours of fun. I’m still trying to figure out how the makers of Post-It Notes found itself in the game business…



One of the problems with some of the most popular games, like Risk or Monopoly, is that once the tide turns and someone starts winning, one really is just playing out the game to its inevitable result. Not so with Stratego or with a game Jake and Lauren have introduced me (which I’ve heard has made the leap from other Millennials to their parents as well). The game is “Settlers of Catan.” Jake and Lauren have been consistently beating me like a drum, yet I keep coming back for more. Here is what The New York Times says: “...the new generation of post-collegiate gamers is gravitating toward more complex games of exploration and trade...like Settlers of Catan”. And you don’t know the winner until the very end. As for other choices, here’s an article with the catchy subtitle, “It’s the perfect time to sucker those who live with you into playing games with you”: https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2020/04/the-best-board-games-to-play-with-your-quarantined-housemates/

What games are you playing?

 

A BOOK ABOUT LOS ANGELES AND LOW-INCOME HOUSING, RELATED TO, BUT NOT REALLY ABOUT, BASEBALL

Stealing Home, by Eric Nusbaum. Not really a baseball book, per se. Stan Gold notes, “The backstory of how the Dodgers ended up in Chavez Ravine; a story about mid-century Los Angeles (and truly a land-use seminar for our friend Professor Lefcoe)”. This is not just a sports book or a history book; it is evocative of a bygone era in Los Angeles, painting pictures of people in power, social reformers, immigrant families, public housing wars, the Communist scare, city government corruption and manipulation, Pacific Coast League baseball, the LA Times, and other people and places in mid-century Los Angeles. This ultimately is the story of wooing the Dodgers, what it took to get them, and the good, the bad, and the ugly of how neighborhoods and people were affected. (For those who don’t know him, George Lefcoe was for many years the preeminent real estate law and land use professor at USC in our community, whose land use seminars, here and abroad, are legendary).

 

A BOOK ABOUT CLANDESTINE REPORTING

I love so much of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s works, including Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Love in the Time of Cholera, and One Hundred Years of Solitude. But Scrap Marshall suggests a work that isn’t a novel filled with the magic realism of Marquez, but an historical account of a daring piece of filmmaking:

Clandestine in Chile, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. In the 1985 exiled Chilean film maker Miguel Litten returned to his country of birth for the first time in 12 years under a false identity. Disguised as a business man from Uruguay he was accompanied by film crews of varying nationalities with the premise of making a series of films to promote Chilean Tourism. In reality, this clandestine work and the film it produced ‘Acta General de Chile’ exposed the atrocities and authoritarian rule of the military junta led by General Pinochet to the wider world. Nobel prize author, screenwriter and journalist Gabriel Garcia Marquez interviews Litten following his narrow escape from the regime and renders a clear depiction of the both the mission and the political climate, while exposing Litten as a complex character not without flaws.

 

TIME AND TIMEPIECES

After the musing about time, last week, Howard Rodman sent me this lovely piece about the analog clock and its beautiful ambiguity versus the cold precision of a digital clock. Think “time is part of an ever moving and evolving world” versus “it is precisely this moment, without context forward or backward.” https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/05/magazine/how-analog-clocks-can-give-us-more-by-giving-us-less.html

 

GET OUT OF THE HOUSE AND ON SAFARI

Chris Miller sends a great link to virtual African safaris from And Beyond: https://www.andbeyond.com/bringing-africa-home/wildwatch-live/. These are really great videos that put you on safari with lions, giraffes, elephants and more. For those of us who have been to Africa, these are great reminders of the majesty of Africa. For those who haven’t, they will make you want to go. These are particularly wonderful for kids.

 

TAKE A HIKE

Or take a hike in the Duoro Valley of northern Portugal with Nick, with a little lesson about bees. He’s very knowledgeable, the hike is relaxing and he has an English accent. What else could you want for a break? https://www.facebook.com/SixSenses/videos/536798380289587/?__so__=permalink&__rv__=related_videos

Enjoy!

Glenn

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