Musings from the Bunker 6/22/20
Good morning and happy Monday!
As promised, I have a few new recommendations and few “best of” from the past few weeks, as we mark the beginning of the “second century” of Musings:
BEST NON-FICTION BOOK
Moneyball, by Michael Lewis. This is the first of several books of late that explains the emergence of metrics and the intrusion of data and statistics into the rooms populated by scouts. It explains how the lowly Oakland Athletics, with a paltry budget, could field a pennant winning team. It also challenges data that has been sacrosanct for a century but may not tell a meaningful part of the story (e.g., pitcher’s won-lost record or a batter’s RBI), when things as simple as making contact and getting to first base with walks can make the difference. The movie, starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill is entertaining, inspiring and humorous. Both the book and the movie are worth the investment of your time.
Charged, by Emily Bazelon. A book that uncovers the corrupted system of prosecutorial discretion. The war on drugs, over-charging for small crimes, plea bargaining that forces those not willing to roll the dice on longer terms to submit to a guilty plea when innocent, all contribute to a broken criminal justice system and an American gulag of prisons. Prosecutors are judged by their “success rate” of convicting people—guilty or not—and who may be burnishing their “law and order records” for political office. But this is slowly changing with DAs willing to buck this system and who view their job as we idealistically were taught in law school—to seek justice.
BEST FICTION BOOK
Washington Black, by Esi Edugyan. I never thought I would use the phrase “a wild romp,” but that’s what this is. It’s George Washington Black’s completely implausible escape from slavery, as companion to his cruel slavemaster’s brother. Their escape begins in a balloon and proceeds through Virginia, the company of abolitionists, an Arctic expedition and beyond. Through it all, Wash and Tisch discover much of themselves, the country and the world. One of the best books of the year.
Animal House, directed by John Landis. There are a number of other sophomoric comedies mentioned this month that could qualify for this designation (Dodgeball, Zoolander, Starsky & Hutch, Caddyshack, to name a few). But this classic has quite a selection quotable lines, cringeworthy inappropriate scenes and all-around fun that have withstood the test of time.
• “I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part”
• “Take it easy, I’m pre-law” “I thought you were pre-med.” “What’s the difference?”
• “Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”
Memento, Inception, the Dark Knight, directed by Christopher Nolan. Playing with time, perception, reality, and mythology, Nolan is a master. Each of these could easily qualify for any number of “best” lists. Together, they’re an opus of creativity.
“The Federal Reserve is wrong so often. I see the numbers also, and do MUCH better than they do. We will have a very good Third Quarter, a great Fourth Quarter, and one of our best ever years in 2021. We will also soon have a Vaccine & Therapeutics/Cure. That’s my opinion. WATCH!”
To Bless the Space Between Us
This is the time to be slow, Lie low to the wall Until the bitter weather passes.
Try, as best you can, not to let The wire brush of doubt Scrape from your heart All sense of yourself And your hesitant light.
If you remain generous, Time will come good; And you will find your feet Again on fresh pastures of promise, Where the air will be kind And blushed with beginning.
BEST CLASSICAL MUSIC
For the graduates out there, listen to Maestro Dudamel’s graduation wishes and “Pomp and Circumstance” from the LA Phil and the LA Youth Orchestra, from home!:
BEST POPULAR MUSIC
The Doobie Brothers classic from around the world…reminds me of college: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4sK8d48Exs
“History runs forward, but is seen backward,” Soren Kierkegaard
Again, UFOs and conspiracies are of the same cloth.
Tomorrow, musings on the Musings!