2 movies

Desperately trying to move away from this shaming Beach Detective addiction, I managed to find 2 movies which were–moderately–entertaining.
Now, be aware that these are fairly OLD movies. Netflix is POWERFUL, the voice of Netflix is full of majesty. Netflix does not lightly give away what it can get good money for.
The first was a modest but comely little piece, Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing and Charm School, with Robert Carlyle–AKA Hamish Macbeth, the whimsical Scottish policeman–as a heartbroken recently widowed baker, who comes across a dying man (John Goodman) and makes him a promise to go to the dancing studio–and, he finds comfort there, and manages to escape despair. YES, this movie is sentimental. But Carlyle has such a sweet face, and he plays a good man. There could have been a little less time spent gazing up John Goodman’s nostrils as he talks about his boyhood, but as I said–entertaining.

The second movie is much less virtuous.
Because, Hugh Grant. I know duty demands that we despise the man, so silly, so foolishly charming. But, there it is, he IS charming. This ancient movie (2002) concerns a VERRA wealthy man, and a VERRA worthy woman. Things happen, they battle, they encounter distressing events, and in the end–they admit that they love each other. Sigh. I can’t resist this kind of movie. It’s called Two Weeks Notice.

OK, back to beach detective now.


Well done that woman!

Being a good citizen sometimes requires extraordinary diligence.
Had it NOT been raining, the day would have been a little less heinous–the short walk to the polling center could have been pleasant had the sun shone, and waiting in the line outside a mere expenditure of time.
Instead of which it was tense exercise in tricky umbrella wielding.
However, I waited my turn, eventually entered the church hall, and cast my vote, leaving that place to return to my commute. And there was the bus clipping along merrily on the other, unreachable side of the avenue–heavy unrelenting traffic would not let this good citizen pass. Not to worry! There is a traffic light at the corner, and a covered bus stop! However, as I waited to cross, the SECOND bus whisked by. They have ardent vows, to follow each other closely. So I finally waded across Mass Avenue and achieved the haven, a dry spot with a benevolent bench. And then the THIRD bus darted by, ignoring my frantic shouts and umbrella wavings. I will own that some bad words passed these saintly lips. The FOURTH bus grudgingly came to a halt and soon enough I was putting my little brown bag into the office refrigerator and settling down to work.
A little damp, but with a fine feeling of duty done.

Detective on the Beach

I have settled into to watching an apparently endless detective series, which manages to keep within the rather strict limits I have set for such fripperies: not too violent, and not too sad. The Death in Paradise series is fairly restrained–no severed limbs, no buckets of blood-and the good hearted Caribbean vibe keeps things cheery. We have an awkward British detective who longs for the frosty land he’s left behind and who has very poor social skills–but who is of course a BRILLIANT detective. His team are a bunch of lovable natives, one of whom has the most adorable accent, really, it gives me joy just to hear him. AND of course one of them is a VERY beautiful lady. Disreputable people do various wacko things, there is puzzlement, there is a lizard nipping about (CGI), there is a certain amount of drinking, and it is all worked out in an hour and a half.
The charming actor who played the befuddled Brit had to desert the series–his wife was having a baby. SO–he was killed off. THAT was the mystery that week, who killed him? With an ICE PICK no less. It made me very sad, no matter how carefully the writers dealt with it. And then, ANOTHER clueless Brit came clomping in, this time as played by Kris Marshall, known to us all as the pathetic Colin in Love Actually who goes to "a fantastic place called Wisconsin" and finds FOUR American Dream Goddesses to bring home with him. I preferred his predecessor, but there, one can’t always have what one wants. And the lovely lady’s grief at the loss of her previous colleague has begun to diminish, I can’t help but notice.

La Straniero

Saturday is of course OPERA day, though we are still listening to various previously recorded and eminently worthy operas–because why? Because the Met Season has not yet begun. Today was La Straniera, one of Bellini’s lyrical pieces–lovely music, beautifully sung.
However–the story.
Every review of this piece politely indicates that while the plot is of course–so very exciting–it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. La Straniero (=the STRANGER) is a beauteous lady living as a HERMIT in a hut by the lake. The local villagers think she is a WITCH. The tenor, Arturo, is all set to get married to Isoletta, but is entranced by the lovely hermit. Isoletta’s papa is worried, but NOT TO WORRY, says his friend Osburgo, he will set Arturo to rights. Of course, he fails, and meanwhile, Valdeburgo, the baritone is causing unbearable pangs of jealousy in Arturo–but the baritone is La Straniero’s brother! Except before Arturo finds this out they fight a terrible duel! One of them falls in the lake, I forget which, but neither is killed for the time being. So then La Straniero INSISTS that the wedding take place, pushing Arturo and Isoletto into the church, EVEN THOUGH her heart is breaking ("I have abandoned, not love, but hope", she cries. (Aria: Ciel pietoso, in sì crudo momento, / Al mio labbro perdona un lamento ). Very SAD indeed–but Arturo bursts from the church, he CAN’T DO IT, he wants La Straniero–except then, the Prior appears to announce that La Straniero is…QUEEN AGNES. And she must now return to the King. So Arturo KILLS HIMSELF.
End of opera.
One of the reviews reminded us that after all, Darth Vader is revealed to be Luke’s dad, and this ridiculous plot device is beloved by all the world, so stop being so harsh to Bellini for heaven’s sake.

Consider thy servant Job

Friendship Heights, where I enter the Metro each morning, has been undergoing disfiguring bodily trauma for months–perhaps years? The escalators hidden away behind unsightly partitions, huge structures covering up the entrances and exits, and even the bus station joining in with its own movings and shakings. One doesn’t want to COMPLAIN of course, and I understand it is all in pursuit of future perfection. So the stalwart commuters tromped down the dusty stairs, through the constricted corridors to the trains as the weeks and months went by.
And then–miracolo!–one by one the ghastly intervening structures were removed! Revealing the spare beautiful form of the original vision; the grand concourse, the high domed ceiling, the mighty trio of escalators surging down to the trains. Not perhaps as stunning as Paris or Moscow, but really, elegant and to the point. Each time I enter, there is a moment of thankfulness for that open space, free of hindrance.
Today as I left work and entered the Judiciary Square Metro to go home, I was horrified to see a sign saying that BOTH escalators were being replaced–my entrance would be closed for months.
Really, the Evil One is at work in our city.

Trick or Treat!

Happy Halloween dear friends! The last day of the month, how the year is rushing by. A lovely holiday, Halloween, what with all the little children exulting in their unwonted freedom and access to normally forbidden treats. There was, I own, a moment of rage this evening when MY DAMN SMART LIGHT wouldn’t turn on thus possibly causing a black out in my front yard so that no little ones would drop by and I would be left with NINE Pounds of rather ghastly candy.
HOWEVER, not so. And a stream of excited children came rushing to the door, many of whom were enchanted to see Bertie regarding them with deep suspicion from a safe distance behind the piano. A group of little girls told me that their mom was allergic to cats, and they gazed with particular longing at the exotic creature. And though Bertie appeared to be taking part in the festivities, I could not but feel that he was readying himself for an escape out into the night, which somewhat vitiated my joyful welcome to the celebrating children.
9 pounds of candy distributed. And now perhaps a little dinner!

Today was my first Kennedy Center ballet of the season! Washington is pleased to welcome the San Francisco Ballet, an extremely acrobatic and fabulously strong group of dancers. (NOTE: Be aware that despite the name, very few of them actually come from San Francisco–one of the adorable young men is Estonian, in fact).
They were doing a series of lively pieces which some might find a tad precious but I was entertained enough. Well, well–the last one was not my favorite; they dismissed the orchestra in favor of recorded music by M83 ("Synth-pop, Shoegazing") and the dancers all wore sneakers. The playbill somewhat desperately went on about how the footwear "added an expansiveness to the ballet" which however did not entirely convince. However we of course clapped like billy-o, particularly as it was the last dance and we could go home now.
The first piece, called the Infinite Ocean, was lovely, with a gorgeous duet ending in a simply spectacular lift–I have searched in vain for a picture, a description–she was lying between his feet, and somehow he tenderly slid her up into a triumphant pose high in the air–many people exclaimed in wonder, including me. Heart breakingly beautiful, really.
The middle piece was a version of Ethan Frome, sans sled.There were mysterious dancers being snow and cold, and the three doomed characters. Well done, PLUS one of the snow-and-cold dancers trained at my ballet school –a lanky fellow I remember as a little boy–YAY team!

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