Another Week: Number 32
Amy spent most of Sunday asleep or in pain. By Tuesday, she was back in town and getting a haircut. By Thursday, she was experiencing her first headache-free hours since March. By Friday, we were together at home without a single medical interruption all day.
You become very grateful for little things — laughing at a TV show together, a perfect bowl of popcorn — after realizing you might never share them again.
Bluetooth earbuds — soundcore by Anker: Space A40
With all the commuting back and forth between Racine and Milwaukee, my previous Bluetooth earbuds — 1MORE Piston Fit BT — were getting more use than usual, and the insulation on their connecting cable began to tear.
To replace them, I went with the soundcore by Anker: Space A40 set. After a week, they seem pretty good. The sound quality is great, the iPhone app is comprehensive, and the switchable ANC noise reduction or transparency modes are decent.
Battery endurance is excellent. You get 8-10 hours of playtime in the earbuds themselves, and 50 hours total in the case. Just 10 minutes of charging will get you 4 hours of use, with a maximum 3-hour charge time for the whole unit.
The only minor issue I am having is with the fit. I can twist-lock them behind my antitragus as instructed, but they gradually loosen with time and activity, and have even fallen out on a couple of occasions, so I’m experimenting with the five pairs of different-sized rubber ears tips included in the box.
For now, I have used the app to mostly disable the control buttons on each earbud to avoid triggering them when I resecure the buds in my ears — and I do not feel super-confident wearing them while standing over a toilet.
Trump indicted for conspiring to steal 2020 election
After days of anticipation, Donald Trump was finally indicted again late Tuesday afternoon — this time for his failed conspiracy to steal the 2020 election after losing it to Joe Biden.
The indictment is razor-sharp. It is clear and lean and grave.
After years of wondering how someone could break so many laws and get away with it all, this feels like something is beginning to be put right at last.
The Quiet Girl (2022)
It had been sitting in our Hulu “My Stuff” list for about a month now, so on Thursday night I clicked on The Quiet Girl, a subtle Irish drama about a nine-year-old girl, her negligent parents, and the relatives she is sent to live with.
The 94-minute film is set in rural Ireland in 1981 and stars Carrie Crowley as the distant cousin and Catherine Clinch as the young girl. The dialogue is almost all in Irish with English subtitles, and most of the turmoil is below the surface.
I was hoping this would be a movie Amy would enjoy, and she was following it closely as it unfolded — but only as it ended did she proclaim it great. I enjoyed it very much too. There’s a certain kind of quiet, rural movie that can be very arresting if viewed at the right time, and this is one of those.
Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi
Anthony Bourdain revolutionized food/travel shows, then kept pushing boundaries and ultimately turned his show into art before his suicide in 2018. Since then, a number of food aficionados have embarked upon the food/travel path, and while no one has come near producing Bourdain-level work, some shows are better than others.
Among the better ones is Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi on Hulu. Lakshmi, of course, starred as a host of Top Chef for 20 seasons. She has also published six books, been a world-class fashion model, and was married to novelist Salman Rushdie.
In Taste the Nation, she travels the United States and focuses on immigrants, meeting people of various ethnicities in their U.S. enclaves and celebrating their food traditions while telling the story of one culture — whether Mexican, German, Gullah Geechee, Jewish, Wampanoag, Ukrainian, Appalachian and so on in each 30-some minute episode. Over two seasons plus a four-episode “holiday edition” in between, 24 episodes have been released so far.
The show has an inclusive, liberal perspective. Lakshmi meets interesting people and samples or helps prepare some of their key dishes. The American “melting pot” is shown to contain a rich and delicious stew.
We typically watch while we’re eating dinner.
Rock Hudson: All That Heaven Allowed (2023)
Whenever a bio-documentary like this is released, it automatically looks promising because the subject is familiar. So Rock Hudson: All That Heaven Allowed has been sitting on our Max “My Stuff” list since it became available on June 28.
You probably know that Rock Hudson was a movie star and that he was gay.
Know it or not, this film spends its first 40 minutes making those revelations over and over again. There is not a lot of background about Hudson (born Roy Harold Scherer Jr. in Winnetka, Illinois) nor much insight into his psyche. Instead, there is a barrage of photos of him smiling his stock, ambiguous movie star smile, often bare-chested, while we are told that he was gay — which was forbidden in the movie business, and at the same time widely understood.
The most annoying gimmick in this film is the use of countless short clips from Hudson’s movies, each chosen to showcase a line that can be taken as a double entendre referring to Hudson’s gayness. Before long, you’re begging for these to stop, but they won’t.
In the documentary’s middle section, we do meet a number of Hudson’s gay friends, who offer some glimpses into his private life, along with a few snapshots and home movie clips — finally building a rough sketch of his personality.
But then, of course, Hudson contracts AIDS and steadily declines in private, involuntarily becoming an icon of the disease even though he was no activist.
When the hour and three-quarters are through, you feel like you’ve flipped through a hundred photo albums — and Rock Hudson remains an inscrutably smiling sphinx.