Notes on Thanksgiving

      Notes on Thanksgiving:

     I had the misfortune of squandering almost three hours of my life watching the new movie Lincoln with my mother and her friend.  I am only telling you this because I want you to avoid making the same mistake that I did, gentle reader.  May you never have to endure what I endured.   

      I will not torture you with a full review.  Suffice it to say that the film was cloyingly sentimental, transparently manipulative, and historically inaccurate all at once. I knew it was going to be bad five minutes in, when star-struck army soldiers meet Lincoln after a battle and start reciting The Gettysburg Address by heart. 

      Nobody liked that speech when he made it!  They thought it was a snoozer!  The newspapers hardly even commented on it!  What the fuck?  

      I am done with Steven Spielberg, man. Munich cannot absolve him of his many crimes against his audience.  Done, done, done. 

       If you want to see Lincoln, do yourself a favor and just watch Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, the anamatronic ride at Disneyland:


     The best part of going to the movies that day was seeing the enormous boxes of movie popcorn “butter” being stocked in the supply closet after the show.  I thought that was so gross and funny that I took a photo of it:

“Butter”

     My mother got a new dog–a dachshund puppy!  She hasn’t had a dog since our old one, Pepper, died a few years ago.  This new one is probably the cutest puppy in North America.  I usually prefer somewhat larger dogs–whippets and sighthounds, in particular–but this dog is so lovable that I wanted to steal her and take her home with me in my suitcase (joke).  She’s calm and quiet for a dachshund, too.  All she wants to do is snuggle and play with her stuffed toys.  She has silky fur and the cutest little face! 

      I’d post a photo, but I don’t want to invade my mother’s privacy on this blog.  Here’s a stock photo of a dog that looks kinda like Mom’s:

Yes, I am the cutest dog in the world!

      Here’s the apple pie I made for Thanksgiving (Mom made the pumpkin).  The picture doesn’t do it justice.  It turned out perfectly.  I cooked the apples in brown sugar and butter before I baked them in the crust.  The pie was devoured within 48 hours.  I regret to report that I ate more of it than I should have.  


      I found these paintings for sale in airport gallery during my layover.  For some reason, I thought they were weird.  Tell me: who would buy an oil painting of The Lion King?  It’s well-executed, I guess, but what the heck are you going to do with it?  Display it in your living room?  

     
        Little Mermaid fans need not despair!

    
        I wonder: do you think the artist paints these things just to pay the bills, or do you think he (or she) is painting the rainbow there in the Little Mermaid piece and going “I’m brilliant!  It’s my masterpiece!”  

       Speaking of art, I’m reading a new book: Caravaggio, a Life Sacred and Profane, by Andrew Graham-Dixon


      I finished a third of it on the airplane.  It’s pretty good and I’m learning a lot about the artist and his time (the history actually interests me more than the biographical content, and the author does an excellent job putting Caravaggio’s life into context).  

       I always appreciated Caravaggio, but I was never a huge fan.  Interestingly, I couldn’t put my finger on why, because the subject matter of his art is right up my ally.  The man goes big, he doesn’t mess around.  But it’s not that he’s too melodramatic for me…there’s something about his technique.  It’s almost too smooth.

       Here is a painting of Caravaggio’s that I like called The Cardsharps  1594 (click to enlarge):


          What makes this so fascinating to me is the tension between the two hustlers.  The young one is concentrating hard, tightly wound, but it’s the older one is back, with the torn glove, who is really interesting.  If you enlarge the picture, you can see the touch of desperation in his eyes.  These two are not cheating just for fun–they really need to win.  The wealthy youth they’re trying to fleece will go home broke and wiser, but otherwise none worse for wear.  The cheaters are playing for much higher stakes.  

       What do you think about it?

       That’s all for now–time the bake cookies and go to my Sunday AA meeting!  

    P.S.  I had a moment of not-serenity at a meeting recently over–get this–my coffee.  I have a service commitment to make coffee, right?  So I got everything ready and laid out the cups and milk and sugar and everything. I was waiting for the machine to get the water hot enough so that I could brew the coffee.  

     The woman comes up to me.  “Are you the person doing the coffee?”

      “Yes.  Sorry, it’s not ready.  It has to finish getting hot.”

       She looked at me like I was speaking Esperanto.  “It’s not hot yet?”

      “No, sorry.  Five more minutes.”  

       “Is it turned on?”

       “Yes, I turned it on twenty minutes ago.  It’s not ready.”

       Woman moves past me and pushes the “BREW” button.  Then she says, “There!  Now it’s on!  I told you it wasn’t on!” 

       Dude, I am trying not to be territorial of a goddamn coffee machine–it’s not MY machine–but for christ’s sake…!

      “You can’t brew it yet!  The water’s not hot!”  I had to unplug the machine to keep it from brewing lukewarm coffee.  

      The woman just stood there, like I was imposing on her.  “I don’t understand why the water’s not hot.”  

      ARRRRRGHHH!!!!  What is there to understand?  The water’s not hot because the machine hasn’t heated it sufficiently!  What else is there?  

     In retrospect, it was kinda funny.
       


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