1. AOTW: The guy in the mega-pickup who was tailgating me yesterday, apparently deeply aggrieved that I was violating his Freedom to Speed because I was going a mere 5 mph above the limit. So he roared by me on a double yellow line. He showed me; now I'll show him by naming him the AOTW!
2. Recently, I found amid my pile of clipping-clutter (stories I have cut and/or torn out of newspapers and magazines, then piled on a stand beside my bed) a New Yorker story from a couple of years ago, a story by Jonathan Franzen, "The Republic of Bad Taste," from the June 18 & 15, 2015, issue. (Link to that story.) So, I thought, It's time to read this story. I started reading it. Then ... another thought: I've read this story before! Where? Then ... I realized it was an excerpt from his recent novel Purity (released in September 2015), a novel I read its very month of release. (Shall we debate the meaning of the word dotage?)
3. On Friday we saw the new film by Steven Soderbergh, Logan Lucky, and we both enjoyed the humor of yet another caper film by the guy who brought us some Ocean's films (there's even a joke here about Ocean's 7-11). Soderbergh had announced not long ago that he was not going to make any more films; I'm glad he lied. This one takes place in West Virginia, where things are not going well for the Logan brothers (Channing Tatum and Adam Driver) and their sister (Farrah Mackenzie--whom I didn't recall seeing before).
They decide to rip off the proceeds from a big NASCAR event, and away we go. James Bond--uh--Daniel Craig appears as an expert safe-cracker and has some moderate success doing a WV accent (had to laugh a few times).
A little too long--a bit (more than a bit) offensive to people from the Appalachian region (is there a cliche we don't see?)--but great to see Soderbergh back at work ... (Link to film trailer.)
4. I finished two books this week ...
- The first was the latest thriller by Michael Connelly, whose cop novels about Harry Bosch I've been reading for years (enjoy this Amazon series based on the books, too). In this one--The Late Show--he's created a new character, Det. Renée Ballard, a woman who's been "demoted" to the night shift (see title of book) because she filed a harassment claim (an authentic one) against a superior, who weaseled out of it. Anyway, she dives into a couple of cases (one of which nearly costs her own life). An interesting character--bright and impulsive (like Bosch). She likes the surf, lives near it, visits the Pacific every day. (Like the Bosch books, this involves the LAPD.)
Robert B. Parker (RIP) also created a woman detective near the end of his career (Sunny Randall), and she was okay. I hope Connelly does some more of these with Det. Ballard. Enjoyed it.
- The second was Mrs. Fletcher (2017), the latest by Tom Perrotta, whose works I've really enjoyed reading over the years. This one? Not so much. We follow several characters: Eve Fletcher (see title), a divorced late-30s woman whose son, Brendan (who actually narrates some sections; the rest of the book is in the 3rd person), is about to head off to college, where he does miserably in about every way and soon returns home. We also follow Amanda, who works at a local senior center and who is taking a gender-issues community college class with Eve; the teacher is a trans-sexual (man to woman).
The term MILF runs throughout (Mother I Would Like to F-word--check the Urban Dictionary online for some more, uh, detail), and Eve is clearly one. There are some erotic scenes, some embarrassing scenes, some very bad choices by the characters, some coincidence, some near-misses, social/cultural satire, but I felt it was all kind of tired and obvious. Perrotta's earlier books (e.g, Election, Little Children, The Abstinence Teacher, The Leftovers) also mined suburbia for gold. And found it. But here? As I said ... not so much. An average book from a gifted writer.
5. We stumbled on the Australian cop series The Doctor Blake Mysteries not long ago and have somewhat binged. Only two left. Sigh. And we're also streaming the most recent season available of Hinterland, which we also like a lot. One (annoying) coincidence: Both are dealing with internal investigations of the principal characters. (Yawn.)
6. Final Word: A word I liked this week from my various online word-of-the-day providers.
- from the OED ... what interests me here is not so much the word but how far back it goes--1942. That surprised me.
ginormous, adj. Very large, enormous; impressively or shockingly big.
Origin: Formed within English, by blending. Etymons: gigantic adj., enormous adj.
Etymology: Blend of gigantic adj. and enormous adj.
1942 Wings of War: Air Force Anthology v. 111 If you write a book or get your name in the paper that is a ‘ginormous line’, the strange word being evolved from gigantic and enormous.
1949 B. Burke With Feather on my Nose xiii. 174 Flo and Charles Dillingham had combined their resources to take over a new theater and to put on a ginormous production called Miss 1916.
1970 A. Reid Confessions of Hitch-hiker vi. 45 We went to a posh café…The prices were ginormous.
1986 Sunday Express Mag. 23 Mar. 70/3 Since Brands Hatch, doors have opened and it's possible to make gi-normous money.
2015 Time Out London 17 Mar. 11/2 Ever feel like London's just a bit too big? All those huge buildings, ginormous parks, the endless mass of people?