Mitchell School, Racine, Wisconsin, November 1, 2023
November 1, 2023, 7:38 a.m.: Mitchell School in Racine, Wisconsin after a Halloween night snowstorm.

Another Week: Number 45

by | November 5, 2023

You know how it can take some very careful adjustment to bring a touchy scale into balance, or to get a pendulum to keep proper time? Taking care of Amy has been like tweaking a whole Rubik’s Cube of Swiss-made triple-beam balances.

There’s her 4 x 7 pill box and all the medications in it, each with two names. Some of the medications cause constipation, so there are also laxatives to counteract that. There are her headaches, and the cold pack rotation in our freezer to numb them. There are vomit bags kept at the ready for any spontaneous nausea, which has thankfully lessened of late. I rack my brain to offer suggestions from a narrow menu of tiny food portions, and sometimes the suggestion alone prompts puking. 

Most importantly, there are her two strong chemotherapies — one via the shunt in her head, and the other through the port in her chest to thwart spots in her pelvic bone and liver.

On Monday, Amy’s 7 a.m. blood test showed her to be neutropenic and borderline anemic, so she was unable to receive either of her chemo treatments, because they would further knock down her blood counts. Instead, on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, she injected herself with Neupogen to boost her neutrophils.

As I have said previously, it’s a chess match.

Amy is fairly weak, and she’s been in bed sleeping more than usual. When awake, she’s been working her way through all five seasons of Fixer Upper on Max — and I’ve been out in the garage breaking drill bits on the old screws rusted into the holes where our new license plates need to be mounted.


Now and Then — The Last Beatles Song

First I heard that a “new Beatles song” was coming and that it was produced through AI, and I thought it was an awful idea.

Then I heard that the song was an old demo written by John Lennon and that AI was only used to isolate and enhance his voice, and I thought that was probably permissible.

Then we watched the short documentary that served as a trailer for the song, and I soured on the experiment. They were trying to breathe life into an unfinished, unremarkable scrap by stitching it together with a Beatle-esque orchestra and somebody’s slide guitar in the style of George and the off-again, on-again contributions of Paul and Ringo.

For what? The world didn’t need this Frankenstein’s monster.

Then we watched the music video, and it was depressing. It’s a bleary, melancholy vocal accompanied by wacky, superimposed Beatle antics.

What were they all thinking?

This project should serve as a lesson to creative people everywhere that, no matter who you are, not everything you produce is brilliant. Sometimes you put a lot of effort into something, but you still do not succeed. Nobody’s perfect.

But somebody has to have the clarity and the courage to call a turd a turd and bag it — not promote it worldwide as a miraculous treat. Unfortunately, the person who likely would have done that here was Lennon.


Bosch: Legacy (Season 2)

The Bosch saga on Amazon Prime Video is a peculiar yarn that we have been following like transfixed kitty cats into what is now a ninth season.

Based on Michael Connelly‘s 24-volume series of detective novels that we have not read, Bosch is a Los Angeles-based police drama that feels like any number of semi-cheesy cop shows from the 1970s, but with swearing and smartphones. It stars Titus Welliver as Detective Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch, a Vietnam vet turned L.A. cop, turned private detective in the two most recent seasons (now named Bosch: Legacy for whatever legal reasons).

It’s not a great show. The acting can be spotty. The plots become convoluted. The dialogue is clipped and jargon-laden as in most TV police stories.

But somehow, it’s still incredibly compelling. We love Bosch’s midcentury, cantilevered home perched on a cliff overlooking the Sunset Strip. We love his reverent references to rare jazz recordings and his dog Coltrane. We delight in his sweaty moral anguish when weighing retribution against legal justice.

I imagine a lot of people must watch Bosch, but very few seem to talk about it. I almost busted my gut a year or so ago hearing an interview with John Mulaney, who described sitting on the sofa with his infant son and the two of them watching Bosch.

This latest season started off on the cliffhanger kidnapping of Harry’s daughter Maddie, herself now an L.A. cop (hence the “Legacy”), but now it’s plunged into a complicated storyline from the previous season involving prominent defense attorney Honey Chandler (Mimi Rogers) that we barely remember.

We don’t know exactly what’s going on, and we don’t care all that much. There’s something comforting in Honey Chandler’s furrowed brow, Mo Bassi’s technology hacking, and J. Edgar’s quiet restraint that keeps us coming back.


Feud: Bette and Joan

For some reason, it’s been taking us forever to complete this 2017 series currently streaming on Hulu. We started it some time ago, wandered away, came back, re-started it, and still haven’t watched the final episode.

Feud depicts the behind-the-scenes war between actresses Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, which was exacerbated by the pair co-starring in 1962’s What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Fortunately, we had recently watched that movie before beginning this series, because it’s a key event.

There’s a certain magic that happens when a period piece gets the sets, the costumes, and the dialog correct enough to make you feel transported back in time. The Feud does this reasonably well. It’s also anchored by two strong performances by Jessica Lange (as Crawford) and  Susan Sarandon (Davis).

The story does not require eight episodes of 45 minutes each. Rather than the cathartic catfight you might expect from the title, the refined hostilities between the two stars add up to a pathetic pettiness.

Still, it’s a diverting chapter of Hollywood history with a few fictional artifacts.



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