Happy New Year

My strategy to guarantee a Thanksgiving at home facilitated me work shifts on both Christmas and New Year’s Day. No full weekends for two weeks is kind of obnoxious, but at least it’s a few extra dollars and scores a few points as well.

I gallumped out of bed just as Turner Classic Movies was running Fiddler on the Roof. After, they ran one of the great weird but prescient films, A Face in the Crowd, in which Andy Griffith plays a jailed drifter who happens into a stint as a media sensation and, eventually, as a political player who is eventually poised to become a presidential advisor of sorts. In the film, though, unlike life, they manage to pull the plug on ol’ Lonesome Rhodes. Of the film, screenwriter Elia Kazan said he and Budd Schulberg were trying to warn “of the power TV would have in the political life of the nation.”

Ya think?

Here’s a brutal little reminder from today’s news:

There’s another great reason for me to no longer take the elevator in my building.

PSA: 117th Congress, 2nd Session. The Senate convenes Monday, Jan. 3. The House convenes Jan. 10.

Monday Already?

It was a good weekend I reckon, though not as productive as one might have liked. This seems common. I mean, sometimes, you just have to nap, I guess.

Dad came over for lunch Saturday, and we gave Joker another try. He brought ribs and sides from Sticky lips, and I had beer. I was pleased he finally got to enjoy the brilliance of this film.

Dude also brought me a cornucopia:

Believe me, half those tomatoes are already eaten and will probably be gone by day’s end. This morning will include a trip to Palmer’s for bacon and ham-hock and to Lori’s for pan loaf and ogrets. I think a B-T sandwich is in order, and the ham-hock will be used in the stewed beans recipe below. And yes, there was a bag of basil as well, so there will have to be pesto.

Later that day, I took delivery of my Ooma, two days early. So now that big red phone actually has a dial tone.

Unfortunately, the first test—my weekly marathon call with my Mother—was not necessarily a success. I dropped her call twice. I am thinking it is because I used the 2.4 GHz rather than the 5 GHz on my home network. I was using the Ooma app so I could still access my airpods, and it just dropped the call. We’ll test it again next week.

The idea of this is to re-establish a “home phone” line in my abode. Too often, someone calls, and I flat-out miss the call because my iPhone is on a desk over there, or the ringer is off, or it requires a charge. A good old-fashioned analog phone won’t lead to the same problem. I mean, it actually rings and everything, which just tickles me way too much.

There is more testing to be done before I disseminate the new number widely. I think we’ll get there.

Farter’s Day

This is Fred. He was kind enough to pose for me yesterday as I enjoyed a Ruck’s Pizza Kitchen Italian Sub (Amiel’s never answered the phone) on the deck yesterday. Yes, after more than 90 days in self-imposed isolation due to the SARS CoV 2, I ventured over to visit the folks for the famous Father’s Day. It was good to break this routine, great to see family, and, certainly, it was wonderful to get some doggo time.

As stolen directly from MeFi… “Shostakovich’s first opera is a surrealist piece about a man who wakes up one day to discover his nose is missing. It features tap dancing noses.”

I am not making this up.

84 days

It was March 19 when I started working from the home office and have been on essentially necessity-only excursions, which means trips to the grocery and booze stores. I walk around sometimes, and I try to get the car around the block once in a while to make sure it still goes. That’s 84 days between now and then.

The first week of June was paid time off for me. Had to take it, it’s use-before-July-1-or-lose time. The normal plan would be to drive three hours west of here and enjoy the small, spring-fed lake that is my life’s touchstone. Such a trip would mean trusting the state of New York to manage its rest areas reasonably enough so I could stop to pee without contracting the SARS-CoV-2, this risk taken for a few measly days away. I opted to stay in Rochester.

It was a good staycation. Aspects of the apartment have not been working, and I worked to improve some of this. I watched some good movies, most specifically a six-hour block of Marx Brothers movies on Friday.

The first line of Monkey Business is what struck me most hilarious this time around. It’s always something new with a Marx Brothers film. The line:

Officer: Sorry to report there are four stowaways in the forward hatch!
Captain: Stowaways! How do you know there are four of ’em?
Officer: Why, they were singing “Sweet Adeline.”

Be careful when you wear novelty comic mustache glasses. They can leave Groucho marks.

I attended an online panel discussion proctored by Sinbad … wait, easier to copy and paste: “Featuring Brent Fischer, Dr. Clare Fischer’s son and Grammy award winning Producer; St. Paul Peterson of The Family/ Fdeluxe; #1 Hit Song Producer David Z; and Arne Frager, owner of the legendary @ThePlantStudio that produced over 50 #1 hit songs during his tenure.” Five bucks was admission. For that I guess I could not have expected to get to ask a question, which would have been that I notice that Jill Jones’ album benefits from a few Clare Fischer tracks, and did any other ingenue projects get the same benefit?

It was a fine presentation, and Brent has many stories.

I think I fell asleep.

So I started doing an Internet radio station again. That’s how bored I’ve been. I felt the need again to make a vanity radio station nobody will ever listen to for a blog nobody reads. It’s at 8wkradio.me , by the way. I am still learning the software and building the playlists. It is currently weighted toward 80s tunes, but that is likely to change.

I went on an Obama nostalgia tour on YouTube. That can sure be devastating.

I sorted through old newspaper clips and memories and also had days where I just sat for an hour. I dreamed and plotted my increasingly feckless, long-standing dream to move closer to that little lake, and turned up to the fact that even if I had the means, the logistics, the will to try to finally claim a placid lake life, I could not. It took me some time to translate that to the actual reality in front of me.

I am doing the best that I can. And I mean that quite in every sense of the word, to the extent that every word in that sentence buckles out and shines. I am doing the best that I can. I have maintained my income and my health. So far for 84 days. I don’t think I’ve ever typed “I am doing the best that I can” and ever meant it so nakedly.

Also, Maria DeCotis did another thing. Laugh now.

U Don’t Have 2 Watch Dynasty

Sirius/XM has decided that the coronavirus lockdown is a good time to produce a number of artist tribute channels, which is probably a good idea. The one I’ve been tuned to incessantly of course is Channel 30, the Prince channel. They also got one for David Bowie, Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, George Strait, Guns n’ Roses, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, and The Rolling Stones. I mean, why not, since we’re all home.

It should be noted that Sirius/XM radio has been made available to everyone for free in the month of May, so if you’ve got an old Delphi MyFi in a Best Buy shopping bag in the back of your closet or if you have a radio in your car, it’s time to tune in.

I do wish the Prince channel would dig a little deeper, though, but then again, I’m a downright relentless Prince nerd. I’ve heard a few things previously unfamiliar, though, such as Tina Turner’s rousing version of “Let’s Pretend We’re Married,” an ingenue band I’d never encountered called Tara Ma and The Seen, and some great live clips. Those live clips are what we’re listening for, programmers. And you can take the long-play version of “Kiss” off the rotation. That song is good due to its simplicity. I’ll never know what the man was thinking by adding tom-toms and all the rest of the performance in the “woman overboard” version. And I think I’ve heard “Scandalous” seven times now.

I have yet to hear “She’s Always In My Hair” (just heard it), “La, La, La, Tee, Hee, Hee,” “17 Days…” You get the idea. I think I’ve heard one track from the Hit & Run CDs. I would program this channel a bit more broadly. But I’m digging it nonetheless.

There is not much else to the weekend. Phone calls with Mom and then with Dad. A trip to the wine store yesterday and a grocery pickup at WalMart. I now have more bread products than I can eat and am glad I can again make a decent margarita. I took a nice walk. Saturday’s movie of the day was the masterpiece teenage romp Superbad. This is a good time to have options on the TV.

Now to go find some lunch and I may have something to write about “reopening.”

Hot Buttered Blues

I just got done putting a couple of bananas in the freezer. This is an odd thing to lead with, but I’ve been crazy about smoothies lately. I had an idea for a while that my Vitamix was broken and would require repair. It is still under warranty of course, but that would probably mean me boxing it up and sending it someplace, so I have been putting it off, and now of course that’s just downright impossible, what with the SARS-CoV-2 everywhere and such. Current circumstances made me get the thing out again and test it, and I discovered that I had a case of blender hypochondria. The thing works fine. So lately I’ve been all about smoothies and frothy boozy drinks. The basic smoothie of late is a cup of soymilk, approximately 3/4 cup of baby spinach, and blend these hard until it’s just green soymilk. Then throw in a frozen banana in pieces and whatever adjuncts you like in moderation. I have some flaxseed meal here for some reason (an insane trip to Niblacks I’m sure) and still a bunch of powder from my Huel craze days so in that goes, and a little orange juice and a little less lime juice for freshness.

That’s a nice smoothie.

Last weekend I upgraded the cable to silver service because I was climbing the walls and desperately wanted my Turner Classic Movies channel back. HBO and Showtime ain’t bad neither, and the Cooking Channel. I immediately dove into a Good Eats marathon followed by a Shameless binge and Face in the Crowd, which must be watched just to see another side of Andy Griffith’s skills. Then last night was an unexpected, weird little gem called “Aaron Loves Angela” (1975). This is the debut film of Irene Cara and Kevin Hooks, the latter you may know if you ever watched a little show called The White Shadow. This is a “blacksploitation” genre movie sort of, meant to be drawn on a Capulet-Montague template. Soundtrack by José Feliciano, by the way, who makes a lovely cameo in the film.

It was better than Birdman.

I cooked some salmon tails today and they were good. I ate them with some rice, which I made in my Zojirushi yesterday. It was nice to have something quick to nuke during my 45 minute lunch.

Also, they announced this today, and I am one eager Prince-person: “Starting this Friday, SiriusXM will host a new channel dedicated entirely to Prince. Stream for free until 5/31 and catch takeovers and special playlists from Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis , Sheila E. , and the debut of a never-before-heard radio show Prince created with Rashida Robinson in 2005.”

If what I heard on the promo on Sirius/XM earlier is accurate, this will be channel 30. In the meantime, you can always listen to Purple Current.

I took a walk this morning as it was nice out, but as I decided to give myself a nice cut on my heel the other day, I had to cut it a little short. Still, amid this madness, it is nice that the weather is improving. Who knows when any of us will ever haunt a gym again.

By the way, if you’re looking for something new on Spotify lately, make it the album The Black Gladiator by… wait for it… Bo Diddley. This thing had a spotty release history (1970), but is now easily accessible and flexes its guns. This ain’t Diddley Daddy. It smacks of blues and psychedelia and soul and rock and makes you have to squint to see Bo Diddley in there somewhere. This is hot. You should listen.

That is all I have for today. Tomorrow is ::checks notes:: Thursday.