1. AOTW: No one really stood out this week--on land, sea, air--so I will present the award to the default winner: me. I do AOTW-worthy things every week--might as well reap the benefit!
2. A sad day yesterday. I drove over to Amherst, Ohio, for the burial ceremony for a former student who'd been in my first class at Aurora Middle School--7th grade, 1966-67. His name was Dave Prittie--and he was a wonder. Artist, scholar, writer, singer, actor--he could do it all. He helped found the Aurora Youth Theater with his BF at the time, John Mlinek (whom I also taught my first year), and these two gifted young men wrote plays together, made films. Off they went to Kent State, where I saw them both in Hamlet--John in the title role, Dave as Laertes. After graduation, their roads diverged. Dave went to Yale Drama School, then to New York, where he continued his career in theater and in commercial art. I have so many fond memories of Dave--and of his siblings (whom I saw yesterday for the first time in nearly half a century). His absence is an irreparable tear in the fabric of the world.
Here's a link to a tribute to Dave from the Flea Theater in NYC, a theater he helped establish.
3. I finished two books this week.
- The first was by Ken Bruen, author of a series about Jack Taylor, a rough PI in Galway, Ireland. (There was a TV series about him, too--which we streamed--which I loved.) I'm reading the books now in the order that he wrote them, and this one is The Devil (2010), a novel that's more allegorical, I think, than the previous ones. Taylor--who battles alcohol addiction and a number of other demons--encounters what appears to be the Big Guy in this one--the Real Demon--the Devil (see title!).
So grotesque deaths occur; Taylor resolves to remedy them; and ... ? Guess what?
These books are fun to read (if a bit wrenching at times), and Taylor is a literate narrator (he loves to read). Interesting here to see his "demon battle" become almost apocalyptic.
I've already got Headstone (2011), the next one, ready to go on my trusty Kindle!
- I recently read Rachel Kushner's most recent novel--The Mars Room (2018)--and was so impressed with this two-time nominee for the National Book Award that I resolved to read her earlier books, in order. And so this past week I read her first novel, Telex from Cuba (2008), a novel whose setting (Cuba in the late 50s as Battista is falling, Castro is rising) is based somewhat on Kushner's own mother's experiences of living in an American enclave in Cuba at the time.
The book is a dazzler. Firmly grounded in Caribbean history, the story shifts points-of-view (and even narrators) throughout--from young American kids growing up there to a mercenary Frenchman who becomes enchanted with an exotic dancer named ... Rachel K!
Years go by, too--and we also get glimpses of Hemingway in Cuba--some mention of Sartre, too. And--a funny look at Fidel Castro's sex life.
It was hard for me to believe that this grounded, clever (okay, brilliant) novel was Kushner's first time out. Can't wait to read the subsequent ones. (As I write, The Flamethrowers (2013) is on the way!)
4. Didn't go to a movie this week--but we learned from a friend that Endeavour (a favorite!) is back on PBS, so I fired up our PBS app and watched the 1st episode last night.
5. Later this afternoon, I'll be driving over to Welshfield for my 56th high school reunion: Hiram High School, 1962. The school itself is long gone (there's a new park there now on the site), but memories? Never! (Pic is of HHS, 1961.) Fifty-six years ... impossible ...
6. Last word: A word I liked this week from one of my various online word-of-the-day providers:
- from Oxford English Dictionary
boation, n. (boh-A-shun) bellowing, roaring; a loud bellowing noise. (arch. and rare after early 18th cent.)
Origin: A borrowing from Latin. Etymons: Latin boation-, boatio.
Etymology: < post-classical Latin boation-, boatio (1629 or earlier) < classical Latin boāt-, past participial stem of boāre to bellow ( < ancient Greek βοᾶν to shout, roar, of uncertain origin) + -iō -ion suffix1.
1646 Sir T. Browne Pseudodoxia Epidemica iii. xxvii. 142 Whether the large perforations..may not much assist this mugiency or boation.
1663 J. Heath Chron. Late Intestine War iv. 812 The Thunder intermitting, as if it staid to receive and answer the reciprocated and ecchoed Boation and clashes of the Guns.
1713 W. Derham Physico-theol. iv. iii. 134 To send their Mind at great Distances, in a short time, in loud Boations.
1844 S. K. Hoshour Lett. to Esq. Pedant xi. 33 Lachrymations and boations became ubiquitous.
1989 Advertising Age(Nexis) 17 July 52 Bo is a bolide, a brilliant shooting star, making a boation, a thunderous noise.