Translate

My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Monday, June 18

U.S. Open


The gods of golf at Shinnecock Hills—that is, the USGA members who set up the course—are so jealous of their hallowed par score that they’ll do anything to ensure the sanctity of par 280, even if it means embarrassing some of the world’s best golfers. For example, look at some who failed to make the cut—Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm, and, although not ranked in the top ten, Tiger Woods, one of the crowd favorites. It also included other top players—Brandt Snedeker, Matt Kuchar, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson, and Sergio Garcia. Even the tv commentaries, Paul Azinger and Curtis Strange, seemed to be afraid to say anything that might anger the USGA gods. Johnny Miller, if he were there, would probably have called it like it is, a course that was set up to be too punitive for minor mistakes. I think it was a tournament that put too great a premium on putting and not on the other, more important elements of the game. Too often we saw a golfer miss a putt and go past the cup two or three feet . . . and then watch it trickle, trickle and then roll off the green and down the back slope. Late afternoon on Saturday, they then decided to syringe the greens (spray water on the greens between groups). Whenever you see them do such a thing, you know they fear they’ve lost the course. On eighteen, anyone who hit a second shot that went any distance above the cup, wound up with a putt that was like putting on linoleum. No matter how gently the putt was struck, if the cup didn’t get in the way, the next putt was ten to twenty feet. That’s just not fair and makes it too much like putting through the clown’s mouth at the local putt-putt course. Putting shouldn’t be that important. On Sunday, the course was set up much easier to avoid any embarrassing moments like the one of number thirteen on Saturday. Phil Mickelson had just hit his fourth putt from about three feet above the cup. When he realized it was probably going to roll down the slope and off the green, he rushed to the ball and hit it while it was still moving, a two-stroke  penalty that resulted in a sextuple bogey ten. Silly. The clown won.
          And speaking of clowns, again we hear from that pack of shrieking idiots who attend golf tournaments for the sole purpose of finding digital fame by screaming words and phrases which identify them when they play back their saved tv coverage—“Babalooie!” “Chicago!” “Saur Kraut!” “In the Hole!” “Come on, Dustin!” “Let’s go Big Guy!” and “Rollex!” I assume these guys are not golfers, have consumed gallons of beer,  and are obnoxious off the course as well as on. I’m surprised that no one has ever told them to put a sock in it. Maybe there isn’t a sock big enough to shut them up.
          On Sunday, we got to see Brooks Koepka hold off contenders to win his second Open in a row with a one-over par total of 281. The sanctity of par was once again maintained. But we also saw Tommy Fleetwood shoot a seven-under 63 to take home second place with the lowest score in U. S. Open history. It was an interesting tournament, but I’d still like to have seen the big names make it to the weekend.

Friday, June 15

Mary Poppins



        Last Tuesday we went to the Arizona Broadway Theatre to see Mary Poppins. I wasn’t sure if I’d like it, and after the first fifteen minutes I still wasn’t sure. Gut then—BANG!—it took off and became one of my all-time favorite musicals. I’ve always been more interested in the set design, staging, and choreography than, except for the really great musicals, the songs or story. Mary Poppins nearly popped my eyes out with set designs and special effects. The music and vocals not so much. The songs were long and in a sort of Cockney accent that made what they were singing almost impossible to understand. And some, especially Mary Poppins (Renee Kathleen Koher), were so shrill I wanted to clap hands over my ears. But the sets, special effects, and choreography were—well, if I were given only one word to describe them it would be— "scrumdidlyiciouslygloriosamarveloponousfantasmicalicious." (Hey, if Mary can make up a word, so can I.)

          First, the sets. The show opened with a full-stage scrim painted as a prosperous London street with attractive row homes. Then the back lights come up to show us a living room with four people, two adults and two children. Up with the scrim and the story begins. An argument ensues about the bad behavior of the children and the departure of the latest nanny. Later, after the children are sent to bed, the living room divides and moves off stage left and right to reveal the upstairs bedroom. Other sets included a kitchen, a park, the house rooftop with assorted chimneys, a curio shop, and a bank made up of nine moveable teller cages. Let’s see. With the opening scrim, there were a total of eight different sets.
          Second, the special effects. After Mary arrives at the Bank household, she takes her valise up to the bedroom and places it on a toy box and then proceeds to take out a five-foot hat rack, then moves the valise to a small hutch and removes a large green potted plant. Both items are far too large to fit into the small valise. How did they do that? I guess there was a false bottom in the valise and a false top to the toy box and hutch that gave access behind the set. Later, in a kitchen scene, the young steward shows us his clumsiness when he stumbles into a rack of hanging pots and pans, knocking them sideways, banging into a shelf of dishes that tip dangerously, then crashes into the kitchen table and breaks it in half. He weeps inconsolably when he sees what he’d done. But Mary, with a finger snap fixes everything, pots and pans back up on the rack, dishes untipped, and even the table somehow magically repaired. How did they do that? Other effects involve Mary and Bert flying overhead and a kite that soars above the stage. Okay, I know how they did that but it was still remarkable for a limited-budget theater to pull it all off.
          Third, the choreography. Two numbers were spectacular—the spelling out of “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” using hand and arm gestures as the company dances, and the chimney sweeps on the rooftop doing a frenetic tap sequence to “Step in Time.” Both numbers had the audience on its feet applauding. I can remember in the first few seasons at ABT when the choreography was pretty amateurish. Not any longer. These performers were nearly up to Broadway standards.
          If you’re a West Valley Arizonan, you should try to see this show. It would Mary Pop your eyes out, just as it did to me.

Monday, June 11

Suicide


Two more celebrity suicides, Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, leading to another national discussion of causes and prevention, another national fear that it might lead to a contagion of suicides. According to CBS news, suicides are up by nearly 30% over the last two decades. Why? And what can be done to bring that number down? I must confess that the national concern over suicides has always confused me. All right, I can understand but disagree with a religious view of suicide as immoral. But should all suicides be considered immoral? Aren’t there several valid reasons for wanting to end one’s life, like intolerable pain or terminal cancer or one of the incurable, progressive ailments such as ALS, AIDS, Alzheimer’s, MS, or Parkinson’s?
The age of those who attempt suicide should also be considered as well as the reasons for such an attempt. If the reason is mental illness or depression, suicide by those of any age is unacceptable. Mental illness and depression can be alleviated by therapy and drugs. The line between acceptable and unacceptable can depend on age, with acceptance rising with rising age. I’ve always thought that an unacceptable quality of life is a legitimate reason to consider suicide. The line between acceptable and unacceptable quality of life would vary considerably from one person to another. I’m eight-four years old and I often think about what is or isn’t acceptable. Am I planning to kill myself? No. Is it all right for me to think about death and suicide? Yes. Thinking doesn’t lead to acting.
Back to my original statement. I’m confused by the many different attitudes toward suicide. Certainly there is shock and despair over a suicide, just as there is for almost any sudden, unexpected death. But why should suicide be considered sinful or selfish?
Lately, I’ve thought about the methods for killing oneself. Many are bloody and gruesome and painfully shocking for those who discover the body, as for example, a gun to the head, as when Ernest Hemingway put a shotgun in his mouth. A leap from a tall building or bridge prompts frightening images, but a jump from a cruise ship, as Hart Crane did, is less traumatic, as is carbon monoxide in a closed car or head in a gas oven, as Sylvia Plath chose. A speeding car over a cliff or into a concrete abutment is violent and awful to consider. Strangulation by hanging or death by slit wrists is less violent but equally awful. Then there are the quiet methods: a heated car in an Arizona summer, a stroll into a raging South Dakota winter blizzard, a one-way swim out into the Pacific Ocean, a hunger strike, a lethal injection, or finally, the easiest and most accessible method—the drug overdose.
What exactly would prompt me to look for some way out of a life that I no longer consider acceptable? Ever poorer health (though not terminal), less and less to look forward to, a steadily narrowing of my physical world, the passing of more and more friends and relatives, and fewer and fewer activities that interest me. I’m not yet at the end of that string of reasons, but I get closer with every passing day.

Thursday, June 7

1300 Posts


          Nearly there. To 1300 posts, that is. And I can’t seem to think of anything wort writing about. I guess I’ll just continue writing about how many posts I have under my belt, sort of a dumb topic for such a milestone. But, 1300 posts over a span of nearly ten years is sort of worth writing about. Let’s see, that averages out to about 135 a year, and if each post averages about 400 words, that would bring my total wordage to a hefty 520,000. That seems like a lotta words. But then I consider some of the most prolific writers, like Stephen King, Louis L’Amour, and John Patterson, and my total doesn’t seem like much anymore. They would each view writing as a full-time job, forty or more hours a week, which would be 2080 hours a year. If each wrote 250 words an hour (and that’s a conservative estimate), each would have written the same as what I wrote in almost ten years—520,000 . . . every year . . . for an average career of thirty years (and that’s a conservative estimate), which comes to 15,600,000. Whoa! That’s a lotta words. Mind-boggling.
          What else has been happening that’s worth examining? Trump. What has the Donald done lately that is also mind-boggling? First, he’s insulted the NFL with his comments about kneeling and patriotism, and if you insult the NFL you insult all the other sports. The result? The Philadelphia Eagles have decided not to go to the White House, nor would most of those other sportsmen and women who might win a championship. He just doesn’t get it. He doesn’t understand that when he shoves someone, that someone will probably shove back. For his on-again off-again on-again meeting with Kim Jung Un next week, he says he doesn’t need to prepare for it, he’ll just wing it, sort of the same way he prepared for his debates with Hillary—just don’t prepare. He doesn’t believe his advisers who tell him such behavior could be dangerous for the U.S. He either doesn’t understand the need to prepare or he’s simply too lazy to prepare. I would suspect the latter. This is a man who thinks he can govern by Twitter. We’ll see how this meeting goes on June 12. Or maybe he or Kim Jung Un will cancel.
          NASA’s Curiosity rover has unearthed on Mars what might be 3-billion-year-old organic matter, suggesting that long long ago there may have been life on Mars, maybe even  intelligent life, maybe even life that moved to earth when Mars became uninhabitable. Makes for interesting thoughts to consider in that half-awake time at 3:00 a.m. And the time frame of three billion years sort of puts our tiny little lifespans into perspective.
           There--1300th post. I'm not sure if I'll try for another 1300 or just call it quits.But if I call it quits, then I;ll have to give up my Countdown chronicle. And I', not ready to do that.

Thursday, May 31

The Americans & Morgan Freeman


Well, I certainly didn’t see this one coming, the final episode of The Americans, that is. I didn’t see any way they were going to avoid a confrontation with their neighbor and FBI agent Stan Beeman. I was Mr. Completely. The Jennings had a final confrontation with Stan but it didn’t result in a shootout. Instead, Phillip somehow talked him into letting them go. They then made their careful way to the Soviet border, where they were met by a supporter of Gorbachev and taken to Moscow. The final scene has them looking at the city’s lights as they contemplate what their future might be. How ironic that this, their new home, isn’t nearly as much a home as their home in America was. But they’ll “get used to it,” Elizabeth says. “The kids will be all right,” she says. Henry, who will be taken in and cared for by Stan, will be all right, but what about Paige? Paige chose to abandon her parents when she gets off the train just as it was leaving the station. Will she be all right? Yes. Yes, that is, if she doesn’t take vodka as her next best friend.  We see her when she gets back to the safe apartment and knocks back a hefty shot of Vodka, leaving the viewer to wonder what will become of her. This episode showed me what the writers of a series can do and should do about allowing the actors to slow down and show us their faces, their real acting chops. Too many series consist of slam-bang dialogue with no time for nuance. The Americans was always able to slow down, especially in this last episode. I certainly hope the producers don’t decide to do a spinoff, showing us the Jennings, parents and children, in their next lives. We don’t need that spinoff.
Morgan Freeman is the latest to be allegedly guilty of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior. Inappropriate behavior, maybe, but not sexual harassment. He said, “All victims of assault and harassment deserve to be heard. And we need to listen to them. But it is not right to equate horrific incidents of sexual assault with misplaced compliments or humor.” I think the MeToo Movement may be going too far in charges like this. When does a compliment on a woman’s beauty become inappropriate? Are all the “blond” jokes inappropriate and demeaning enough to accuse the teller of inappropriate behavior? Is this joke too risqué to tell in mixed company?  A small boy was lost at a large shopping mall. He approached a uniformed policeman and said, “I’ve lost my grandpa!” The cop asked, “What’s he like?” The little boy hesitated for a moment and then replied, “Jack Daniels whiskey and women with big tits.” Come on, ladies. Lighten up just a little and remove this allegation against Morgan Freeman. After all, he drove Miss Daisy and he spoke up for all those marching South Polar penguins.

Countdown: Tonight we’re going to Outback for dinner. Or at least I’m going to try. Who knows if I’ll be able to make it without falling on my face? Yesterday, I went to see my dentist about putting in two implants to support my lower partial denture. Just as I was about to sit down, I went into a tailspin, one hand holding onto my portable concentrater and the other hand trying to find something to grab before I fell down. I somehow managed to get to another chair but it was a close call. The receptionist was aghast and kept asking me if I was all right and I kept telling her I just needed a few minutes to recuperate. But it was a close call. My balance has become so bad that falls are inevitable. My next step will be to get a cane, or move only with the help of a walker. Just another step in my descent, or if I’m looking for some heavenly reward, maybe it should be another step in my ascent.

Tuesday, May 29

Bit Coins & James Comey


Bit coins and their ilk. Boy, I must be a Mortimer Snerd dummy when it comes to money. What in hell are bit coins? And I see now that the bit coin frenzy has opened the door to a flood of new scams. Half the calls I get every day are scams of one kind or another, but I haven’t yet gotten any calls about buying this new currency. Probably tomorrow.
          On last Friday’s Late Night with Stephen Colbert we listened to what James Comey had to say about Trump and Comey’s being fired by Trump. The man speaks very well and fielded all of Colbert’s questions with lucid answers. I think I could vote for a ticket with him and Tea Leoni, either one for president and the other as vice president. He compared Trump to a Mob boss, both having this driving need to pull everything and everyone into the sink hole of their egos. “What’s in it for me?” Trump and Corleone ask. “I need your absolute loyalty and admiration. I don’t care what it takes to inflate my image. I don’t care if it hurts other people as long as it gets me what I want.” It’s not about making America Great Again; it’s about making these two great in their own eyes.

Countdown:  Not only are the spatial dimensions of my world shrinking, but the temporal frame is also narrower. Each day is shorter. I sleep ten or eleven hours each night and often nap during the day for an hour or more. Each day involves our morning ritual of juice and pills, coffee, some kind of pastry, and the Arizona Republic from front to back. Or in my case, from Sports section to comics and the daily jumble and the bridge hand to the USA Today section to the Opinions, political cartoon, and letters to the editor. The rest of the morning is spent either reading or writing a blog or writing letters to friends and relatives. Noon happens. We sit and read. Or often Rosalie will spend an hour or two working on several hard sudokus. Three-thirty happens and Rosalie will treat Charlie and Tiger each to half a can of Fancy Feast while I put together two Scotch and waters with, in a tribute to our old cocktail in years past, one large pimento olive, one large blue-cheese filled olive, one garlic chunk, and one cocktail onion. The ritual never varies. Five-thirty happens and we dine on simple fare—soup and sandwich, Marie Callender tv dinners, or leftovers from a night at Outback or Carrabba’s. As we eat, we watch Lester Holt tell us about horrific lava explosions, school shootings, plane crashes, Trump tweets (yes, still horrific), ending with a feel-good story of somebody’s noble act of heroism or generosity. Our evenings are devoted to the television series we’ve taken as our own—NCIS, Bull, Madam Secretary, The Resident, The Voice, Big Bang Theory, Mom, The Good Doctor. We fill in empty spaces with Who Wants to Be a Millionaire or the saved nightly diatribes of Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon. Ten-thirty happens and we escape to bed, where we wait for another day to break when we will ritualistically wade through another day in waiting for life or death to happen. And each day’s awake time shrinks by seconds or minutes. As the day shortens, all of what I once considered important becomes less and less so. Connections to friends and relatives no longer concerns me. I worry less and less about my children’s and grandchildren’s lives. I can’t even worry about the sorry state of affairs in the nation and the world. The world will survive this president or it won’t. I simply don’t care. And that statement leads me right into the third and most frightening area of shrinkage—attitudinal. The gray clouds of depression fill my sky. I no longer have much of anything to look forward to—no swimming, no movies, no trips to Disneyland or Vegas, no Wild Life Zoo, no CostCo or the mall. I still enjoy our evenings out for dinner, but I fear even those may not be possible much longer. I now look forward to the outcomes of sports on television. Will Tiger get another win? Will the Diamondbacks make it to the post season? How will the Cardinals fare with their two new quarterbacks? Without these or without my blogging and letter writing, I’d be locked inside my house, locked inside my head. I already spend too many of my hours in mental surfing, revisiting past places and people, listening to old songs, playing golf on one of my old courses, playing racquetball against my old opponents. I don’t know how to drive away these gray clouds and I hate it that they keep getting closer and closer.

Tuesday, May 22

The Voice & The Donald


          Finally, The Voice finale. All along I’ve thought Britton Buchanan would win, and up to the last ten minutes of the performances on Monday, I still thought he’d win. His original song was excellent, both the song and his rendition. His duet with coach Alicia Keyes was excellent. Of the four finalists he was the only one to perform without hiding behind backup singers. And then he chose for his third song “Good Lovin’ ” by The Rascals. He cavorted around the stage like a little kid, high-fiving those ubiquitous raised hands in the front row, smiling and laughing and almost clicking his heels as he made his way around the stage. How could Alicia have let him choose that song? It was just plain awful. And it took him right out of contention. I had thought he would win, followed by Kyla Jade, then Spensha Baker, and Brynn Cartelli last. Now I think the order will by Kyla, Spensha, Britton, and Brynn still last. I keep hearing in my mind’s ear this young man singing “The Impossible Dream” from Man of La Mancha. That would have done it. Instead he chose that silly “Good Lovin’ ”
          It’s been over a year since the FBI’s Robert Mueller began the investigation into Trump and Russia and the 2016 election. That’s too long. It shouldn’t take twelve months of foot-dragging to find out if Trump is or isn’t guilty of collusion or perjury. The man’s a liar. Just get on with it. He’s also a misogynist, a racist, a bully, an egoist and egotist, and he’s in over his head by about a hundred feet of water. The Second Amendment was put in place to prevent a tyrant from taking permanent political power. Should we fear that a man like Trump might possibly do such a thing? No but we should still fear him. This ignorant man has his hand on the red button that could bring about the destruction of our planet. Please, Robert Mueller, get on with it and help us get him out of office.
          More on the Nobel Peace Prize. Wiley’s Non Sequitur today suggests that the Devil may be a more fitting Peace Prize winner. Or did he mean someone else?


Saturday, May 19

Great Novels


          I know I’ve written quite a bit about the books and series I’ve loved over the years, so forgive me if I repeat myself. My goal here is to point out what I consider are the best novels in American literature. I’m ignoring European novels because I, like many others, haven’t read some of the great ones, like War and Peace, Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov, or those two confounding novels by James Joyce, Ulysses and Finnegans Wake.
But before I get there, I must once again explain my reading habits. From the very beginning, I’ve always found writers I like (love?) and then read all their works just as fast as I can, like a dog with rawhide knots, chewing and chomping until they’re all gone. When I was very young and first felt the bite of the reading bug, there was L. Frank Baum and his Oz series and Edgar Rice Burroughs and his Tarzan, Mars, Venus, and Pellucidar series. Later, in high school, I went from genre to genre, immersing myself in one type for a while, then moving on to another. In science fiction I read all of Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and others; in Westerns, mainly Luke Short and Max Brand (but never Zane Gray); in detectives, Mickey Spillane and Bret Halliday (but for some reason, not Dashiell Hammett); in historical fiction, Samuel Shellabarger and Thomas B. Costain. These were the four genres I read, but I also read an assortment of novels outside these boundaries, like the early James Michener and Arthur Hailey.
Much later I decided to catch up on the best and best-known writers of the first half of the twentieth century, all of Hemingway and John Steinbeck (but not William Faulkner because I wasn’t yet ready for him). Much later, I returned to the easy stuff, again like that hungry dog—Ian Fleming’s James Bond series, Dick Francis and his English horse racing novels, all of Stephen King’s massive production, John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee series (three times), Lawrence Block’s Matt Scudder series (two times), Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series (two times), James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheau series, and Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct series (two times). Later still, John Sandford’s Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers series, Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch series, Jeffry Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme series, Robert Crais’s Elvis Cole series, Jonathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware series, and Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series.
Now I can return to my original reason for this journey through popular American writing (with the exception of Dick Francis, the Englishman). Which do I consider the greatest American novels? My reading of literary fiction pretty much ended in 1970 or 1980. Too much work involved, too little time. I consider the 19th century classics and find Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, which is considered great by many critics, but not me. Same for Melville’s Moby Dick. As Twain said, “Classic. A book which people praise and don’t read.” In the 20th century there are Hemingway’s novels, but I think he’ll be considered a writer of great short stories, not great novels. In 1962 John Steinbeck, like Hemingway and Faulkner before him, won a Nobel Prize for Literature, but I’m convinced the Nobel Committee was looking for an American that year and Steinbeck was the best they could find. The Grapes of Wrath might be a great novel, but all the rest are pot boilers (with the possible exception of East of Eden). And back to Faulkner. I and others might praise him for his complex style and his complex creation of the generations who inhabited his Yoknapatawpha County, but other than The Sound and the Fury, most of his novels get lost in a Mississippi fog.
All right, here we go. Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage are the best of the 19th century. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, and Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 are the best of the 20th century. And their reverse order? 5. The Red Badge of Courage 4. The Catcher in the Rye 3. Catch-22 2. The Great Gatsby 1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (with the probable European parallel, Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield).
That should do it for my reading habits. I promise I won’t ever again subject you to it.

Monday, May 14

Tiger, Obesity, Tv Trends


          What a nice Tiger weekend. He proved at The Players’ Championship that he can compete in, probably even win, a PGA tournament. His last two rounds—a 65 and a 69—were signs of the old Tiger, and indicators of a new Tiger, one who could win not just any old event but one of the majors, like this year’s Open where he could hit those vaunted stingers he made famous in his last Open victory. I and a bunch of other lovers of golf hope so. He is undeniably a shot of adrenaline in the arm of golf. He will next play in Jack’s Memorial Tournament in three weeks, an event he’s won five times. Maybe he’ll make it his sixth.
          Food and Fatties Revisited. I’ve written several times about the obesity epidemic in our country—too many grossly overweight people dining too often on high-caloric foods, junk foods, our worship of consumption that we see in all the eating contests—hamburgers, hotdogs, pancakes, pies, steaks, chicken wings, pizza, etc. That leads me to a question about fat-food hamburgers. Why have so many fast-fooders gone to bigger and bigger burgers stacked higher and higher in a bun? How can anyone even this his mouth open enough to consume it? Here’s a picture of several prize-winning burgers shown in the Arizona Republic.
Doesn’t that look awful? Just the sight of it makes me want to vomit. The usual stacker these days is made up of two beef quarter-pounds, several slices of cheese, two or three onion rings, two or three slices of bacon, lettuce, tomato, and a slice or two of jalapeno pepper. How can anyone eat that much? Why would anyone even want to eat that much? So, we publicly acclaim huge burgers and eating contests while too many in the world are starving.
          Television Trends—shorter and shorter series seasons, longer and longer waits between seasons. I just read that The Orville won’t start Season 2 until December 30. That’s nearly a year since Season 1 ended. I may have forgotten what I was watching after that long. The Americans is another one that took so much time off between seasons that I wasn’t able to keep the various plot lines straight. I’m glad they’re ending it after this season. I can’t see any way to end it except with Elizabeth and Phillip getting killed in a shootout with the FBI, probably headed by their across-the-street neighbor Stan Beeman, with daughter Paige’s move to Russia with their Russian handler Claudia, and with son Henry’s being comforted by Stan. How else can Elizabeth, in light of her killing so many people, end up anything but dead? Another sad bit, the sudden end of The Last Man on Earth, Will Forte’s really strange series with which I fell in love. The very last episode . . . ever . . . has the group surrounded by hundreds of gas-masked people. What should have been a cliff-hanger leading into the next season becomes a cliff without any hanging on.

Countdown: Although my stamina remains pretty much the same, way down there, I now have to realize that most of the things I used to do are no longer available to me: like going on any vacations, no Vegas to see Penn and Teller, no Disney Land to see Snow White, no trip to the zoo, no trips to CostCo or the Arrowhead Mall, no movies at Harkins, no swimming. In other words, I’m now resigned to a life within the confines of our house. The days now become a set routine of coffee, toast, the Arizona Republic, a blog every three or four days, televised sports, letters to friends and relatives every two or three weeks, saved tv shows, watching the antics of Charlie and Tiger, and then to bed. Pretty much the same every day. That’s a description of how restrictive my world has become.

Tuesday, May 8

The Voice & Tiger


I’ve written about The Voice several times, but it’s now time for another comment or two. I earlier praised this talent show because it put its emphasis on vocal quality, downplaying looks and performance skills. Even the blind auditions were strictly about the vocals and not the looks or performance. But that was in the past. This season seems to be more about performance than voice. And all the peripheral noise too often drowns out the vocals—too many backup singers, the band too loud, the audience screaming their approval during a performance. I want to hear what each one is singing. I’ve said in the past that they should have at least one episode in which all the singers have to sing a cappella. That would certainly separate the wheat from the chaff. The final ten contestants this year aren’t nearly as good as those from past seasons. I see only two who deserve to win—Britton Buchanan and Jackie Foster. Here's the one who should win but probably won't.  And I wish they’d spend less time listening to the judges and more time listening to the singers. And please, Carson Daly, get off those too long dramatic pauses before announcing who’s been saved. Just announce it.
           This week we get to see Tiger in action at the Players Championship on Pete Dye’s dreaded TPC course. I hope he can get his putting woes behind him. He was just awful last week at the Wells Fargo with more than thirty putts for each of his rounds. That’s most uncharacteristic. He and Phil are paired together for the first two rounds of the Players. Should be interesting to see how they react to each other. All the big boys are in the field—Spieth, Johnson, Day, McIlroy, Thomas, Fowler, Rahm. How will they all play the 17th? Will Tiger make the cut? Will he actually contend in this tournament that he’s won twice? We won’t know until late Sunday, and I and a lot of other golfers and non-golfers will be watching the drama unfold. Let’s go, Tiger.

Monday, May 7

Nobel Peace Prize


  
Some GOP senators have nominated Donald Trump for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize. I would think that giving him this award would be as inaccurate and indefensible as their awarding Bob Dylan the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016. Dylan may be an influential writer of folk songs, but should he have been considered the best in the world for literature, putting him in with all the writers who are truly deserving of being called the best, putting him shoulder to shoulder with Hemingway, Faulkner, and T. S. Eliot? I don’t think so. Back to the Peace Prize. How could Donald Trump, this Trumpety Bumpkin, be considered a peace maker when he has done more than any other president to divide Americans as well as most of the nations of the world? How could he be compared to the true peace makers like Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, and Mother Teresa? He can’t. That would be like putting a wolf in with the lambs. This consideration seems to be based on what these GOP senators see as a successful move on Trump’s part to secure a deal with Kim Jong Un to give up his nuclear program and all his nuclear arsenal, and to bring about a peace between North and South Korea. Trump isn’t a diplomat, and he may be walking into the lion’s den when he meets with Kim Jong Un. Rather than securing a peaceful resolution, he might be sent home with his tail between his legs. And Alfred Nobel must be spinning in his grave at the thought of a Trump award for peace making. He might even put a ghostly stick of dynamite under the whole awards business and put it to an end.

Saturday, May 5

The Bridges of Madison County


        Another outing to the Arizona Broadway Theatre, this time for an unusual adaptation of Robert James Waller’s The Bridges of Madison County. I say unusual because it just seems like such an unlikely plot for a musical: 1960’s, a man comes to Iowa to take pictures of some of the iconic covered bridges there. He meets Francesca, who is somewhat unhappy with her life as a farmer’s wife. Simple plot, right? Obviously they fall in love but don’t know what to do about it. She has a son and daughter, a husband whom she met in Italy after WWII. She loves her husband but not in the same romantic way she loves Robert. The theme is also simple—what our lives are and what we wish they might have been. She decides to stay with Bud and her family and never again sees Robert. The score by Jason Robert Brown was good, although not very memorable or hummable, the vocals excellent, especially that of the two principals, Cassandra Klaphake as Francesca and Bryant Martin as Robert. The staging and set design was also unusual, minimalist, very theatrical. Modern theatricalism is the opposite of realism. In realistic theater, there is a distinct separation of the stage and the audience, with the actors pretending the audience isn't there and the audience pretending they’re looking through a window at the action on stage. All set changes are made behind closed curtains. Most of us got our first taste of theatricalism in Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, a play that openly acknowledges the audience, with set changes made in full view of the audience, with the character called the Stage Manager speaking directly to them and explaining what they are about to see. He carries a few props onto the stage as he speaks to them, telling them where the two households in the town are located. Then a boy comes on stage delivering imaginary newspapers. The stage manager is useful for shifting locations and changes in the times of actions. In The Bridges of Madison County, the sets are minimal, a screen door and a porch with a swing, a kitchen with table and chairs and a chandelier. There is also a technique similar to the chorus in Greek plays. Four or five people were seated to the rear, not a part of the action, but simply there as observers. Whenever the kitchen table and chairs are taken off, four people synchronize their removal; all set changes and the placing and removal of props are done as though to music. I’m not sure what purpose this theatricality served, maybe nothing, maybe a comment on the unreality of romantic love. This was definitely not my favorite musical and I’m reasonably sure I won’t remember it for very long.
            We don’t see many commercials on television anymore because we save nearly all shows and then fast-forward through the junk. But we keep catching the Century Link commercial in which a man tending a barbecue is explaining to another man what a good deal he got on Century Link, internet access and a fee that will never change. The other guy keeps interrupting him, saying, “Oh, yes, it will.” The barbecuer saying “No, it won’t.” This exchange goes on some three times. After the third time, I’m afraid I’d have had to pop the yea-sayer on the nose. Another one we see too often, the Toyota commercial with Pat Finn, the idiot sales guy. Although I don’t think I’d punch him, I would have to put a bag over his head. Amazing that Pat Finn could make an entire career out of playing this yahoo. Just give me the Geico Gecko and I’d watch him all day.

Monday, April 30

Cash & Favorite Authors

I've been away for almost three weeks. Time, that slippery devil, has been rushing by without my even noticing.

          I recently saw somewhere in the news that we are soon to become a cashless society. We’re already close to that with credit and debit cards, but even those will be replaced by other, faster ways to pay for goods and services: scan an IPhone app, scan a fingerprint or eyeball, or maybe even a facial recognition device that taps directly into our savings. What happens, though, to those who don’t have a bank account or someone who simply wants to stay off the grid? How do they pay for goods and services? I guess they’d have to go back to a barter system. But that would certainly be awkward. This whole concept of money confuses me. Cash, or money (paper certificates and metal coins), represents an amount of value that members of a world society agree on. So, if the U.S. goes cashless, wouldn’t the rest of the world also have to follow suit? And what if not all foreign nations agree? Very confusing. It also seems like the only way to make it work would be to require everyone to have a bank account somewhere in The Cloud, whether they wanted one or not. Very confusing. It would also be one more step toward Big Brotherhood, with everyone having to be in some huge data base holding our fingerprints, eyeballs, and faces. Very confusing, too Big Brotherish for me.

          Once again, I’m weeding out all the books I’ve already read or never intend to read, packing them up to donate to Good Will or Disabled American Vets or any other of the charitable organizations that accepts books. It’s another step in my getting rid of unnecessary “stuff” before I die. The book weeding is a slow, solemn business, because I have to kiss them all goodbye as I pack them up, sigh over their leaving. In doing so, I’ve noted which authors I’ve most often read, which series I’ve followed. Odd how many are men, how few are women (14 men, 5 women). That’s not a gender bias, just an odd fact in my odd book choices. Of the male authors, I guess my favorite would be John D. MacDonald and his Travis McGee, followed closely by Ed McBain and the 87th Precinct, Lawrence Block and Matt Scudder, Robert B. Parker and Spenser and Jesse Stone, John Sandford and Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers, Lee Child and Jack Reacher, and James Lee Burke and Dave Robicheaux. The other seven I’ve read religiously but they don’t stack up to my top seven—Dick Francis and jockeys, Dutch Leonard and a wild variety of protagonists, Jeffrey Deaver and Lincoln Rhyme, Robert Crais and Elvis Cole, Michael Connelly and Harry Bosch, Jonathan Kellerman and Alex Delaware, and James W. Hall and Thorn. All of them are old friends and I’ll miss them, but time marches on. The five female authors on my list are Kate Atkinson, Tess Gerritsen, Laura Lippman, Tami Hoag, and J. A. Jance. But I don’t give them kisses as they go, maybe a brief hug or a little pat on the head. My next giveaway will probably involve gold clubs and golf accessories. And I’ll probably weep over their passing just as I sigh over the books I’ve loved.

Thursday, April 12

Stray Thoughts & A Quiet Place

          I can’t find any good reason for not setting term limits on members of both Houses. After, let’s say, twelve years, most of them would be old and infirm and should be replaced by someone younger and more fit. If not a term limit, then how about an age limit, like no one older than 70? We need to weed our garden.
          I also can’t find any good reason for not setting campaign spending limits for all elected officials. Why should the amount of money spent on mud-slinging and campaign promises determine the outcome? A multibillionaire can win any election if he’s willing to spend some of his fortune, but what happens when that mega-rich person gets elected, despite that person’s total political ignorance? Or his/her just plain ignorance? Look at what we now have in the Oval Office. I rest my case.
          What can I take away from the recent Masters? Exciting, gorgeous, dramatic. And I even saw some things I’d never before seen anywhere on a golf course—a ball that was putted into a bunker (Bubba), a 40-yard hook around trees and onto a green (Bubba again), a 30-yard slice from Leishman around trees and onto the green. What else caught my eye? Poor Sergio’s five balls in the water on #15, resulting in an octuple-bogey 13, a near perfect come-from-behind win by Spieth, a McIlroy situation on #13 where he found the azaleas behind the green and had very few options (no going back on a line since that would only put him deeper in the woods, no unplayable lie since two clubs wouldn’t get him out, or go back to the last spot and hit again, or just try to bully it out of the flowers, which he did), a resurgent Tiger, and a relatively unpopular winner in Patrick Reed. I hope I live long enough to see the next Augusta get-together.
          I’m continually amazed at the quality and maturity of so many young contestants on The Voice. I’m also amazed and surprised at the maturity and poise of so many of the young students from Stoneman Douglas High School. They renew my faith in the next generation that will lead us out of calamity.
          The tv tribute to Elton John a few nights ago was wonderful, with so many young singers taking on Elton John hits. Among the best of them was John Legend and Lady Gaga. I wish both of them would spend more time on American standards, especially Lady Gaga, whose voice is remarkably rich and pitch-perfect. Come on, Lady G, give up the shtick and sing “Lush Life” over and over again.
         
The reviews of A Quiet Place were good enough that I really wanted to see it. It was very good, but not quite up to what the reviewers were saying. The use of silence for raising tension was excellent and the plot was simple enough not to interfere with the characters and their need for silence. A man and his wife (John Krasinski and Emily Blunt) and their children (Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe) are living on a farm not far outside New York City. We learn early on that blind aliens have taken over the earth, killing most of the humans. They are like very large skitterish spiders with snickety heads right out of Sigourney Weaver’s worst nightmare, with hearing so keen that any sound will bring them down on whatever is making that sound. So the family uses only sign language to communicate with each other. Simple plot. The score behind the alien scenes sort of echoes the screaming violins we heard in the shower scene in Psycho, enough to really make one’s hair stand on end. Simple plot. What do they have to do to survive? You’ll see. But there are so many flaws in the logic that I couldn’t overlook them. No spoilers here, just some references to things you might consider if you go to see it: sand (Where did it all come from?), water (How could that much flow from a broken bathroom pipe?), electricity (Are their solar panels enough?), bright, shiny nail (Why hadn’t they noticed it earlier and how did it get there?). Also, a few other questions: Did the aliens eat humans or just kill them? How did the aliens arrive and how many were there? What was their purpose for killing off life? Lots of questions, too few answers. But go see it anyway.

Countdown: I’m happy to say that my clock is running backwards. With a lot of help from Rosalie, I even managed to make it to a Harkins theater for a movie (see above) without too much shortness of breath. And I just got something from Amazon that’s a miracle aid for another physical problem of mine. From so many hours of sitting on one chair or another, day after day after day, my right butt cheek developed a sore spot very much like a bed sore (from poor blood circulation). It hurts like the devil and doesn’t want to heal because I sit on it so much. I ordered a butt donut for folks who suffer from hemorrhoids. It works beautifully. Now, with a little help from Neosporin, it should heal.

Tuesday, April 3

Masters, AI, Plastic Island


          It’s Masters week. Finally. I don’t know if anyone else is as excited as I am about this year’s play at August, but from the early coverage on the Golf Channel of the Monday through Wednesday practice rounds, it seems that everyone is ready and eager to watch the competition. Even though this upsurge in anticipation is mainly about Tiger’s return, this field is the strongest in a long time, with at least ten players who could win. There will be no Danny Willet who sneaks in this year. In fact, Willet won’t come even close to making the cut after two rounds. We who are golfers can’t wait to see who will prevail. But even hordes of non-golfers will be watching. I’d guess that tv viewing will be up between thirty and fifty percent over any past years. And most of the hype is because of Tiger. Isn’t it odd that only a few years ago, after the sordid tales of his adultery and subsequent divorce, many golfers as well as non-golfers were against him? And now we have the new, surgically repaired, more humane Tiger, and most of us are rooting for him. I hope he wins. But I wouldn’t be unhappy to see Spieth, Johnson, Mickelson, Rose, or even Garcia win it. I want the drama, the hutzpah, the magical moments and magical shots. I just don’t want another Danny Willet. Come on, Thursday, you can’t come soon enough.
          Another look at the A.I. movement. The accidental death of a woman struck by a driverless Uber auto has a bunch of folks now apprehensive about driverless cars and saying they will never ride in a driverless car. Not going to happen, folks. It’s a done deal. In the blink of an eye, there will be only cars that drive themselves. In an article about the accident, the writer said, in the near future, we’ll be boarding pilotless planes. On that same subject, I read that Steinway is now making a grand player piano that will play any classical music perfectly and with as much feeling as when a human plays it. Huh. I thought that why we had dvd’s and vinyl disks. Why do we now need a really expensive piano to do what dvd’s and disks can do?
          On Sixty Minutes, I saw that we now have an island in the pacific made up entirely of the world’s plastic debris, twice the size of Texas. Twice the size of Texas. I can’t seem to make that fit in my head. Twice the size of Texas. What can we do about it and what are the long-term consequences if we do nothing? It’s just another of the many things that drive me crazy.

Countdown: My doomsday clock hasn’t gotten any closer to midnight. I’m now in a holding pattern, no worse but still no better in terms of my energy levels. My last blood examination showed that I’m anemic, just not making enough red blood cells to provide for a proper amount of oxygen. There are many causes for anemia and I seem to be the unlucky recipient of many of them. Taking too much aspirin can cause blood thinning that leads to low red corpuscle production. Improper diet can lead to lowered production. Inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis can decrease red cells. Check. Got that. Bone marrow deficiency, check, got that (my diagnosis of myelodysplasia is indicative of marrow deficiency). So, what can I do to rectify this problem? Stop taking aspirin. Start taking lots of vitamin B-12 and folic acid.  Eat a diet that contains more of the above. Maybe even have a transfusion of blood rich in red cells. That will be my main question for my pulmonologist when I see him—what should I do?

Saturday, March 31

Blackness


         I’m confused by all the genetic labels currently being used in this country and why we still use them. Is anyone with even a trace of Negroid blood considered to be black? I know it once was so, but is it still? Is Meghan Markle black? Does Prince Harry care if she is or isn't? I don’t think so. Is NBC newscaster Lester Holt black? More like a nicely tanned fellow with a very receding hairline. Black is a color and is often used as a synonym for Negroid, but not all blacks are black. Most are those with varying degrees of skin pigmentation, all the way from obsidian black to opal pale. Skin color shouldn’t be what we use as labels for the world’s ethnic groups. Why even have such labels? And if we really do need a label for Blacks, then “coloreds” is much more accurate. But we also try to distinguish other races by skin colors, like red, yellow, and brown. Native Americans are redskins, Asians are yellow skins, and Hispanics, Indians, and a host of others are brown skins. What nonsense. America in the early 20th century was thought of as a melting pot or salad bowl because we were made up of so many different “colors” or ingredients. The melting pot metaphor suggests that we think of all these people who either emigrated here or were already here as different colored metals that are put in a pot, melted down, and stirred together, resulting in a new metal, stronger and more cohesive, a new breed of mankind that exemplifies freedom and unity, an American. Why do we insist on all these labels, especially the ones based on country of origin, as in German American, Irish American, Italian American, Mexican American, or Korean American? What nonsense. We’re all American Americans. And if we stick with nations of origin, would we have to label those from Panama Panamanian Americans, or from Argentina Argentinian Americans. Or should we just call everyone from south of our border South American Americans. What nonsense. “African American” as a label for blacks doesn’t make much sense since there are all kinds of different colors in Africa. Are Egyptian Arabs black or are they a hue of a different color? Or maybe we should use various religions for our labels, like Catholic Americans, Jewish Americans, and Muslim Americans. But how would we then be able to label agnostics and atheists? It’s all so confusing. And nonsensical.

Countdown:
          A number of my friends are unhappy with what I’m calling my countdown. I never intended it to be anything but an unemotional examination of what happens in the concluding chapter of one’s life. Ever since my encounter with pneumonia a year ago, with all the physical complications with heart and lungs, the boundaries of my world have shrunk and continue to shrink. The oxygen line that follows me everywhere has become a shorter and shorter tether. I’m finding it ever more difficult to go out for dinner, or to a theater for a movie, or even go the Arizona Broadway Theatre for a dinner/show. I run out of air so easily. I walk from car o restaurant and I’m panting like a dehydrated dog when I finally get seated. The answer, I guess, is to buy a wheelchair for Rosalie to get me to and from places outside our home. Granted, Stephen Hawking spent most of his life in more difficult circumstances than mine, but Stephen Hawking was far more intelligent and resolute than I am. It’s all about quality of life. Right now, I seem to be approaching what I consider an unacceptable quality of life. Thus, the countdown. This past week the clock has been stationary, no nearer midnight, still about 11:53.

Monday, March 26

Golf Observations


1. Has anyone else noticed the hump in Tommy Fleetwood’s back? He seems to be too young for osteoporosis, but it certainly looks like an early onset.
2. On the LPGA I find it curious that none of the commentators has said anything about Inbee Park’s amazing weight loss. In less than a year she’s gone from balloonish to svelte. Well, not entirely svelte, but she seems to be getting there. I guess marriage has been good for her.
3. This last weekend’s WGC match play tournament in Austin showed us the deadliness of having only two matches on the final day. What does the network do in between shots? You got it—commercials. Match play can be compelling, as it often is on Sundays during the Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup, and Solheim Cup, when there are twelve matches going on. That gives the network plenty of time to go from one compelling moment to another without so much commercial time. But in this WGC, the two semifinal matches in the morning and the final and consolation matches in the afternoon weren’t enough to sustain interest, especially when that final match between Bubba Watson and Kevin Kisner ended so early and without any kind of suspense. Bubba was five up after the first five holes, and everyone knew how that would end. It was deadly.
4. During almost every PGA event, I notice more and more golfers (the younger, the more likely) spitting. A while ago I wrote a blog about sports spitting with baseball players being the most frequent offenders. I went on to say that professional golfers were too gentlemanly to ever demean their game with spitting. That may have been true a decade ago, but no longer. Two of the younger golfers, Daniel Berger and Kevin Kisner, seem to have suspicious bulges in their cheeks which might suggest a wad of snuff, and when they all too often spit, it’s not a little squirt but a big drizzly gob. Don’t they realize they’re in the ubiquitous eye of the all-seeing camera? Don’t they realize how disgusting their spit is to most viewers? I guess not. There are others whom I’ve seen spitting occasional little baseballish squirts, like Tiger and Dustin Johnson, but you’d never catch Speith or Kutcher or Mickelson doing it. I’m going to keep a close eye on everyone at the Masters in two weeks. None of them should even think of dissing the hallowed halls of Augustan ivy. The powers that be might disqualify them for such disrespectful expectoration.
5. The game has changed so much I can hardly recognize it. Bubba Watson in his match on Saturday hit a drive that went 489 yards. What! And for many tour players, averaging over 300 yards off the tee is no big deal. I know that many young players are now in remarkable physical shape and swing with blinding speed, but most of this distancing and straightening is because of the clubs and balls they use. A 350-yard hole is now considered just a long par-3. How much farther can it go until all our courses become as extinct as pterodactyls?

Thursday, March 22

Countdown


 Countdown:   The last two days were the two worst days I can ever remember. I felt like I couldn’t breathe because of clogged sinuses, my back hurt from another polymyalgia attack, my upper dental plate was so loose that eating was difficult, my oxygen level would drop to alarming numbers after even the simplest activity, and I was so tired that all I wanted to do was close my eyes and sleep. I felt bad enough that I thought I might soon die. And I didn’t really care. See, not good days.
A few nights ago I got up to pee and when I got back in bed, my oxygen level was 59%. That’s a dangerous low, only a few percentage points away from hypoxia, loss of consciousness, and death.  I went out to the living room to check my concentrator and found that the oxy line had come loose. Put it back on, went back to bed, and in ten minutes I was up to where I should be. But it was a scary moment, another reminder of how important my oxygen line is, a life line as well as a tether. Just not good days.
Three days ago I went to see Dr. Michael Benson, a urologist to whom my primary doctor had referred me because my last blood test showed an elevated PSA, up to 7.2. Dr. Benson assured me that the PSA count was only one of the ways to detect enlarged or cancerous prostates. He then gave me the friendly social finger and told me that my prostate seemed to be normal, without any enlargement or hard spots that would indicate cancer. Good. I felt better.
But then these two awful days showed up. Two nights ago on the Stephen Colbert show, Drew Barrymore read a poem that hit me right between the eyes: “So Now?” by Charles Bukowski. Bukowski is an old iconoclastic hippie, but this poem isn’t any sort of protest. It’s the statement of an old man who mourns the loss of youth and fears the approach of death.

the words have come and gone,
I sit ill.
the phone rings, the cats sleep.
Linda vacuums.
I am waiting to live,
waiting to die. 
I wish I could ring in some bravery.
it's a lousy fix
but the tree outside doesn't know:
I watch it moving with the wind
in the late afternoon sun. 
there's nothing to declare here,
just a waiting.
each faces it alone. 
Oh, I was once young,
Oh, I was once unbelievably
young!

That’s me right now, exactly me. The only change I could make would be to switch “Linda” to “Rosalie.” Bukowski has painted a picture that fits me like a very old pair of shoes.

Tuesday, March 20

March Catchup


Time to catch up on a few things.
First, television and what’s good for viewing and what’s not so much. I say again, there’s just too much to watch. All networks, big and small, are now making their own movies and series, and then there’s the streaming of original movies and series on Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix. We would need about a hundred hours a day to see all that’s worth seeing. My assessments will be directed mainly to the major networks with a little peak at TNT and FX. I watched the pilot of The Alienist on TNT and decided it was just too grimy and with dialogue too hard to understand. FX’s The Americans will soon return, but without me. I loved the show when it first came out, but then there was such a long time between its brief seasons that I forgot what was going on. I still have too much to watch without worrying about what Elizabeth, Phillip, and daughter Paige are doing. I no longer watch American Idol or The Voice because both seem to be more interested in the judges’ shenanigans than on the talent they’re supposed to be judging. Who needs it? ABC’s For the People, the latest law and lawyer show, has too many main characters with too many plot lines racing from one to another. Don’t need it. Deception on ABC has an FBI magician working his illusions to help solve various crimes. Don’t need this one either. Taken (NBC) is just too stupid to watch. All right, what are the good ones? The two new medicals, The Good Doctor (ABC) and The Resident (Fox), are excellent. On Fox, 9-1-1 keeps getting better and better with more and more complicated and interesting plot lines. The Seal Team (CBS) is good but still not as good as The Brave (NBC), which may not be renewed for a second season. Rise (NBC), the second coming of Glee (FOX), looks and sounds very good, but where Glee was in many ways a parody (think Jane Lynch as the too hateful Sue Sylvester) with an unrealistic cast of great singers, Rise is trying to show us a high school with vocal and dramatic talent that no high school could possibly have. I hope it has as much success as Glee had. We’ll see.
          Quick Trump comment. I read one of the letters to the editor in the Arizona Republic a few days ago that railed against the students at Stoneman Douglas High School, saying they were too young to realize what they were doing to the Second Amendment and his right to “bare arms.” Yupp, that sounds exactly like a Trump supporter who wants to keep his arms bare. Trump and his supporters apparently aren’t very good spellers. Trump recently tweeted that he’d like to create a space “core.” Donald and his tweets. Doesn’t he realize that what he writes shows the world how stupid he is? Apparently not.
          And finally, what’s up with Tiger. It now looks like he really can come back and win more PGA events as well as one or two or more majors. I and all other golfers hope so. He’s very good for the game. I can’t wait to see what he does at Augusta in April.

Blog Archive

Any comments? Write me at jertrav33@aol.com