Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sunday Sundries, 103

1. AOTW: There's really just one exercise bike I like to ride out at the health club--and there are only two of this particular style; the one I don't like is so for good reason(s): It's a piece of junk. Monday when I got there, I saw that some guy was on "mine," but then ... he got off! I walked over, and when he saw me coming he got right back on. "Doing thirty minutes more," he said. There is a 30-minute limit. He'd just done thirty, had stood up, taken two steps, then gone back and hopped on again. Although some poor soul (I) clearly wanted to use the machine, he figured he would get two 30-minute stints; I, none. So ... he's the AOTW!

2. Finished a book this week, Don DeLillo's new novel, Zero K (Scribner, 2016), a powerful and grim story about a facility that preserves you--in some separate pieces--after your death. Or, in case of imminent death, that facility will sort of ease you a little more quickly along your journey. The facility preserves you with intense cold (cryopreservation) and with some other techniques. Later, when the technology has advanced even more, the place will revive you, boot you up again.

The novel involves a young man, Jeffrey, whose father, Ross, enormously wealthy, has established this state-of-the-art facility somewhere in one of the former Soviet Socialist Republics. Ross' wife is dying (the narrator's stepmother), and they are preparing her.

Well, other things happen: Ross considers going with her; Jeffrey has memories of his birth mother. The novel is a graceful, imaginative riff on mortality, technology, family, and the question: Should we do something just because we can do it? Technically clever (as DeLillo has always been).

I think the first novel of his I read was End Zone (1972), a football novel that was far more than that, and I'm pretty sure I've read all of his others (well, maybe just most of them?). One of our great talents.

3. Friday night Joyce and I drove down to the Hanna Theater in downtown Cleveland to see the Great Lakes Theater Festival's production of The Fantasticks, which I don't think I've seen in nearly fifty years. The first thing I remember about that show? The Kingston Trio recorded "Try to Remember" on their 1973 album The Kingston Trio #16. Bob Shane sang it; the other two (Nick Reynolds, John Stewart) played their guitars. Here's a link to that performance.

Anyway, the GLTF production was excellent--strong players (a small group), excellent singing, and I'd like to give a shout-out to the sound engineer, who kept the singers sounding more or less natural instead of so heavily amplified that they sounded like Bad Guys in a sci-fi film. I was very moved several times, especially (of course) with "Try to Remember" (beautifully sung) and "They Were You"--a song that comes near the end when the estranged lovers realize ... well, look at the title of the song! (Here's a link to that song.)

4. Last night (Saturday) we went to see the new Shane Black film, The Nice Guys, with Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe (a chunky Russell Crowe--he must have eaten all the meat on the Ark--surprised we have any animals alive on earth now) playing a couple of fairly dim-bulb investigators in 1977 LA (loved the period stuff in the film) who are tangled up in a series of murders that are far more complicated than they thought. The film will remind viewers (in a good way) of Black's earlier film Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang (2005) with Robert Downey, Jr., and Val Kilmer in similar roles. (I loved that film so much I bought it--rare for me.)

What I liked: I was surprised every few minutes--very surprised--and I laughed throughout, even when I was ashamed of myself for doing so. (Joyce loved it too.) (Trailer for film.)

5. Final Word--This one can sound like complacent (pleased, especially with oneself or one's merits, advantages, situation, etc., often without awareness of some potential danger or defect; self-satisfied).

Complaisant \kuh m-PLEY-suh nt, -zuh nt, KOM-pluh-zant\

1. inclined or disposed to please; obliging; agreeable or gracious; compliant: the most complaisant child I've ever met.

Though I see an example of the horror facing people learning English: Definition 2 of complacent is ... complaisant. Read and weep ...

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