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  • Glenn Sonnenberg

Musings from the Bunker 9/4/20

Greetings and Happy 175!

As has been my custom on the passage of each 25 Musings, I’ve saved some of my favorite stuff and am republishing some “favorites” from over the past few weeks. Thanks for reading along!



As I’ve written in the past, I am bewildered by the continuing unwillingness of the more stubborn among us to take a small step to protect themselves and the rest of us by wearing masks. While direct confrontation with an individual refusing to wear a mask is a bit too intrusive and combative, how about a more generalized observation? So I came up with t-shirts that could express my frustration and perhaps educate them:

I ordered several of these t-shirts and will send five of them to the first people who respond with stories of obstinacy, stubbornness, stupidity or silliness relating to the actions of non-mask wearers.



In these days when the press is the “enemy of the people”:

“Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

--Thomas Jefferson



Chicago, performing “25 or 6 to 4” from their homes in shelter: By the way, the meaning of the song’s title is that it was written in the middle of the night, around 25 or 26 minutes before 4:00 a.m.



He Had it Coming,” performed by the cast of Chicago (the musical) in lockdown. It has been reimagined with new lyrics for the pandemic:



Gustavo Dudamel conducting the LA Philharmonic in Swan Lake, the final movement of Beethoven’s Fifth, Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man and Dvorak’s Cello Concerto from the Hollywood Bowl:



A poll by Satellite Internet in 2019 found that 18% of Americans age 18-34 believe the moon landing was a hoax. Curiously, this same group has greater faith in aliens having visited Earth (75% of landing deniers believe aliens have visited us).



The Untouchables—As I’ve indicated before, Kevin Costner has had some of the best movies, like this one, Silverado, Bull Durham (among others) and some real clunkers (Waterworld and the Postman). This one he is at his best, with Sean Connery, breaking up the Capone gang as Elliott Ness.



For Your Consideration—Couldn’t be funnier. A movie about the making of a movie and its potential for Academy Award accolades. The premise, “Home for Purim,” set in the 1940s deep south. When Ricky Gervais comes in late in the movie to share that the movie might be “a little too ethnic,” tears were running down my face.



An Officer and a Spy. Robert Harris’s historic recreation of the Dreyfus Affair in an eminently readable page-turner of “novel-like” quality. Told from the perspective of Georges Picquart, the unwilling head of the Statistical Section of the French Army, who is broken and discredited nearly as completely as Dreyfus, a man he had only met in passing yet risked his career to save.



The Plot Against America Phillip Roth’s tour de force about Lindbergh, noted German sympathizer, defeating Roosevelt in the 1940 election. It’s all seen through the eyes of a young Jewish boy in New Jersey, who sees adult events through his perspective. The issues posed are interesting. By changing the results of the 1940 election, Roth shows the world under President Lindbergh as one of antisemitism and isolationism. How safe can people feel in a democracy when it is making peace with the devil? One of the beauties of the book is how thing move ever slightly away from the history we remember—how tiny things have a significant impact and how, in the end, perhaps things don’t work out so differently after all. This book can serve as the “entry level drug” for the vast and fascinating literature of Phillip Roth. Read this—you can skip the TV version, which is merely good entertainment, not great.



Subscribe to the LA Times: We need to be as informed about local issues as we need to be informed about national issues. Maybe more so. We need our city councils, county supervisors, educational leadership and all who hold power and authority to be held accountable. We need a vibrant, robust local journalistic culture (which goes beyond merely the Times) that can be our interlocutors, the investigative journalists, those who do in depth analysis of the successes and failures of programs and politicians.



I have completed a couple of 1,000 piece puzzles during this crisis and I must admit I find inner peace when I am hyper-focused on completing the puzzle. I find that my brain can easily find the patters/colors/spatial relationships of the pieces and who doesn’t enjoy the satisfaction of the finality of completion. So much of what we do in our personal lives (business and otherwise) has stages or parts but no true end like the completion of a jigsaw puzzle.


ONE OF THE BIGGEST CONCERNS (but there are so many…)

According to NBC, how Facebook helped promote QAnon and other conspiracy theorists:

“Facebook aided that growth with its recommendations feature, powered by a secret algorithm that suggests groups to users seemingly based on interests and existing group membership.”



Those Winter Sundays

By Robert Hayden

Sundays too my father got up early

and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,

then with cracked hands that ached

from labor in the weekday weather made

banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.

When the rooms were warm, he’d call,

and slowly I would rise and dress

fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,

who had driven out the cold

and polished my good shoes as well.

What did I know, what did I know

of love’s austere and lonely offices?

Wishing you a happy weekend,


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