1. AOTW: Can't really identify anyone in particular ... oh, well, there's one guy, but I'll not mention him and what he does to ANNOY. Let's just say ... he can ANNOY me in ways that few others have managed to accomplish in my life.
2. Our older grandson, Logan (just turned 12), broke his leg out in California while he and the family were there on spring vacation. Surfing. He's now in Arizona for a bit (with his other grandparents) and will be home in the next few days, we're all hoping--as soon as he's able to travel. There are few feelings worse than those caused by an injury to a child you love.
3. I finished three books this week.
- I've been slowly reading--via Kindle--the novels (in order of publication) by Craig Johnson, all featuring Walt Longmire, a contemporary Wyoming sheriff. Longmire is also a Netflix series now, and although I like the guy who plays Longmire (Robert Taylor--no, not that Robert Taylor from Ivanhoe days!), the stories don't really resemble the novels too much. So I'm in that odd position of liking both the series and the books, treating them as separate entities.
Anyway, the one I finished this week--As the Crow Flies (2012)--involves an opening horror: a mother and her small child go off a cliff. Why? Who? Etc.? Touchy scene at the end when Longmire and another are trapped in a basement with gas leaking--danger of explosion, bad guy with fire--etc. Fun to read these books.
- I also finished a new book, Ice Ghosts (2017), by Paul Watson. It's the story of several voyages of discovery. The first--those nineteenth-century attempts by the Brits (and others) to find the Northwest Passage. The book focuses on one of those most spectacular--and mysterious--attempts, the Franklin Expedition (1845-46), led by Sir John Franklin, a journey that cost everyone his life and that has remained, in some ways, a mystery ever since. What happened to his ships? There were two--Erebus and Terror--and both were just gone.
Not no more they ain't.
Canadian teams found both in the past few years (Watson was there for one of them). Exciting story--with lots of history and geography and the kind of quotidian detail that can bring people and their era to life. And a strong portrayal of Lady Franklin, who would not give up, who prodded reluctant (male) authorities to do something, the sorts of (male) authorities who thought women belonged back at home ... you know.
We saw//heard Watson at the Hudson Library last week. He had a PowerPoint and talked lucidly and smoothly, sans notes, about the expeditions, the discoveries, the science involved (remember science?), and the reasons the ships were lost for so long. One reason: The white explorers did not believe the tales of the local Inuit, who, you know, were primitive. What could they know? Quite a bit, it turns out.
- I also finished Julian Barnes' The Sense of an Ending (2011), a short novel about an older man who realizes that memory is fallible (and self-protective). I like Barnes but had not read this one but decided to do so when, a couple of weeks ago, Joyce and I saw the recent film (2017) based on the book, a flim starring the great Jim Broadbent (I first noticed him in Iris, 2001, a film about novelist Iris Murdoch and her losing battle with dementia; Broadbent was dazzling as her husband) and featuring Charlotte Rampling, whose work I've enjoyed since I first saw her (I think) in Farewell My Lovely back in 1975! (Link to trailer for film.)
In The Guardian yesterday, there was a long piece about how Barnes told the filmmakers, basically, to do just what they wanted with the book--and they did. (Link to Guardian piece.) There are quite a few differences--from minor to major (in the book, for example, the narrator/protagonist does not own a camera store; book dialogue is sometimes in the mouth of a different character; Broadbent does not "stalk" Rampling to find out where she lives; and on and on). But the flow remains the same--the guilt for grievances committed, the regret, the tactful forgetting of the ills we've done.
I love this--which begins Part Two of the book: Later on in life, you expect a bit of rest, don't you? You think you deserve it. I did, anyway. But then you begin to understand that the reward of merit is not life's business (65).
I did find the novel a little ... repetitive. Numerous observations about memory and time--that sort of thing. But I really liked both the film and the book: Both found ways to slice open the human heart to reveal that regret and dismay live there, as well.
4. I got a note from Netflix this week: Season 19 of Midsomer Murders is available to stream. He's got a new junior detective with him, too (see image). I don't know why I feel so compelled to watch all of these--I don't really think they're very good. But it's one of those habits--like snack food, like cigarettes, etc.--and I just can't shake it, though I've been sorely tempted--though not so sorely tempted as Joyce, who groans when she hears the theme music. So should I. Instead, I watch on and on and on and on and ...
5. Final words: words I enjoyed this week from my various online word-of-the-day services.
- from the Oxford English Dictionary--a word with two quite different (and amusingly different) meanings.
Origin: Formed within English, by compounding. Etymons: bracket n., -ology comb. form.
Etymology: < bracket n. + -ology comb. form.
1. The action or practice of augmenting a manuscript text with passages known or thought to be missing, enclosed in brackets. nonce-use.
1983 J. M. Duban Anc. & Mod. Images Sappho 2 The translator of Greek lyric poetry, when not dutifully bracketing lacunae (‘bracketology’)..can as readily be found converting fancy to context.
2. U.S. The activity of predicting the participating teams in a tournament (typically the NCAA basketball tournament) and the winners of the competition's stages, as depicted in a diagram representing the sequence of matches. Also as a count noun: a set of such predictions.
1997 Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio) 10 Mar. 1c, Every student of bracketology knows the NCAA Selection Committee's seeding process can lead to some success in picking winners, but it's the daring choice of a surprise first- or second-round winner that earns the respect of one's co-workers.
2000 Montgomery (Alabama) Advertiser 12 Mar. e6/1 Over-the-edge fans study Advanced Bracketology to prepare for today's events.
2007 Wisconsin State Jrnl. 28 Dec. d4/4 A lot of things can happen, so I try not to get too caught up in the bracketologies.
2012 D. P. Gallagher & J. Costal Self-aware Leader x. 147 ESPN adopted Joe's bracketology system and marketed it to millions of sports fans.
- from wordsmith.org (I like the metaphorical meanings possible for this one)
noun: The shedding of an outer layer: molting.
From Greek ekdysis, from ekdyein (to take off), from ek- (out, off) + dyein (to put on). A related word is ecdysiast. Earliest documented use: 1867.
“George Osborne became a junior Opposition Whip in 2003, a Shadow Treasury spokesman the following year, and in 2005 Shadow Chancellor -- multiple ecdysis possible only in times of political defeat.”
Quentin Letts; The Next Prime Minister?; Daily Mail (London, UK); Jul 9, 2015.