Friday, January 22, 2021


It was dry when I went out to pick up our weekly grocery order, but otherwise today it rained a lot, first heavy rain of the season. This followed a couple days of blustery winds, which knocked another slat out of the fence around our front porch. I tucked it back into place, where it will probably stay until the next high wind.

Still working on a large bag of lemons we were given as a casual gift. (And what's the next post on the neighborhood association list? Someone giving away free lemons!) Having had success with a lemon-butter sauce on chicken, this time I tried a lemon-cream sauce on the same chicken. I very much like the way of cooking chicken, by the way: slice a breast fillet into two thin pieces, season and coat lightly with flour, and pan fry on medium in an even mixture of butter and olive oil for 4 minutes a side. Take the chicken out, leave the drippings in, and cook the sauce in the same pan. It also works with winglets.

I am vastly amused by the distress of the QAnon people who were utterly convinced that DT was going to stage a military coup at 12 noon on Wednesday, that being the last possible moment he could have done it. Why do they think he would have waited so long? I guess only because he never did it earlier, when it would have made more sense if any of the conspiracies had been true. When asked about it, DT would indicate that he was aware that QAnon considered him their savior, but he seemed vague about what they expected him to do about it. Possibly they thought he was mounting the ultimate stealth operation, or maybe they just ignored what he said, which anybody considering him either sane or competent would have to do.

A few orders of books have come in:

Dan Ackerman, The Tetris Effect: The Game That Hypnotized the World
Not a gaming book, but a business book, because the process of marketing this thing and sorting out the rights was far more complicated than anything about inventing it, let alone playing it. Though I did like the story about showing the game to one software marketing CEO and having to pry him away from the computer six hours later.

Roger Angell, This Old Man
I like Roger Angell's writing, even when too much of it is about baseball. He is a worthy successor to his stepfather, E.B. White.

Christopher Fifield, The German Symphony between Beethoven and Brahms
Will tell you all about composers you've never heard of, like Woldemar Bargiel (Clara Schumann's brother, bet you didn't know that) and Felix Draeseke, and even some composers I'd never heard of, like Franz Xaver Schnyder von Wartensee (what a moniker) or Julius Otto Grimm.

Gary Krist, The Mirage Factory
The making of Los Angeles, 1900-1930, by which date it was well on its way to being a great metropolis, and also by which date the careers of all three of the book's protagonists - William Mulholland, D.W. Griffith, and Aimee Semple McPherson - had crashed and burned.

J.R.R. Tolkien, Letters from Father Christmas
A new "deluxe edition," more physically readable than the 1999 edition with the text overprinted on the illustrations, but they still haven't managed to accurately transcribe the letters, even the ones actually shown in the illustrations. This is vexing.

Anthony Tommasini, The Indispensable Composers: A Personal Guide
Never mind that I consider half of the 17 composers covered in this book to be eminently dispensable, though I am distressed by Tommasini's extremely traditional modernist limitation of what constitutes 20th century greatness. "Personal" means a lot of reminiscences of what particular compositions meant to him, especially piano works from his early career as a budding pianist. The book was redeemed by its Epilogue, which stoutly says yes, the serialist hegemony was a real thing, and more of a blight for its awful rhetoric than its music, which modernist Tommasini finds valuable.

and two movies:

Even though I don't care for jazz, certainly not this guy's jazz, I was beginning to get caught up in this story of a man who's trying to make it as a musician and escape from the drudgery of teaching high school band, when all of a sudden the plot made a left turn and became a remake of Defending Your Life, a movie I disliked and not just because it starred Albert Brooks.

The Vast of Night
Demonstration that you can't make an effective movie out of people talking nonstop, or at least these people can't. Hushed accounts of mysterious happenings and conspiracies don't cut the mustard. I'd just say "uh-huh" and back slowly away.

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