Saturday, January 25, 2020

I Got Nuthin'

I spent part of yesterday reading at my desk. What a job, right?! I'm working on "M.C. Higgins, the Great," which won the Newbery in 1975. It's an odd book, sort of surreal -- and one of the big ones, at 278 pages.

It's about a boy living in a poor mountain community who routinely shimmies up a 40-foot vertical steel pole in his yard and sits on a bicycle seat at the top, surveying his domain. It seems an unlikely premise, frankly, but there's a lot of other stuff going on too and somehow the atmosphere of magical realism in the book makes it all feasible.

I've had a range of reactions from kids to my Newbery reading project. Some of them are impressed: "You're reading ALL those books?!" Some of them are dismissive: "But the Newbery is for kids' books, isn't it?" The editor of the student newspaper said he wanted to write something about it, but I haven't heard back from him, so who knows whether that will actually happen. And one of my co-workers in the admissions office said she's going to join me.

The library wasn't too busy yesterday or Thursday. We had a few classes in, but most of the high-schoolers were on an altered schedule to make room for special events and presentations dedicated to human rights issues. We're back to our normal schedule on Monday.

Some kid left a lunchbox behind in the library at the beginning of the week, and I put it in the Lost & Found bin. It was still there Friday, so I opened it, and of course it was full of moldering food. I threw all the food away and brought home the plastic containers to run them through the dishwasher. Hopefully the kid will reclaim it at some point.

Dave and I started watching "Schitt's Creek" on Netflix last night. I kind of like it, but Dave wasn't impressed. I think it might be one of those shows that I have to watch when I'm alone. (And that rarely happens!) I was surprised, because he loves those Christopher Guest movies like "Best in Show" and "Waiting for Guffman" that star some of the same people. We also watched the new "Star Trek" series, "Picard," and he seemed to like that more. He's a big fan of "The Next Generation," so it's fun for him to reconnect with those characters, while for me "Star Trek" means Shatner and Nimoy and those classic red, gold and blue uniforms.

I am not paying any attention to the impeachment. I know it won't go anywhere and I just don't have the stomach to even endure the process. I'm not too worried about coronavirus, either -- it sounds like it's mostly just a bad flu, unless a person has underlying health issues, which is true for all flu bugs. And although I think Harry may eventually regret giving up his royal duties, I certainly don't begrudge him moving to Canada to be with Meghan and Archie. The British public has a lot invested in him, but he's ultimately entitled to a life, isn't he?

(Photo: Colorful buildings in St. Giles, London.)


crafty cat corner said...

We have recently indulged in 'Messiah' and 'You' on netflix. We enjoyed both of these but hate the wait for the next series. We tried the schitts but like Dave were not impressed
Have a good weekend Steve.

Marty said...

Love the lunchbox story - you taking it home to clean it up.
Most of the world- kids especially- never realizes all the extra things school staffs do for the students.
If this happened at a business, I doubt you would have bothered.

Colette said...

Outstanding picture with today's post! In fact, this post was chock full of interesting tings. From reading challenges to Harry and Meagan.

Ms. Moon said...

For me, it took awhile to really become fond of Schitt's Creek. I think it rather started in one direction and then slowly, went into another which was far more about the family as a family, rather than just a bunch of weird people thrown together by circumstance. I have truly enjoyed it.

robin andrea said...

We tried to watch Schitt's Creek, but it didn't appeal to us. Maybe we should try again. We haven't watched any of the impeachment hearings either. I may listen to Adam Schiff's closing statement, which I've heard is really well done. That photograph is quite beautiful.

Red said...

I don't think Harry will stay long in Canada. There isn't much here for him.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

I think that Trump should rename his Mar-a-Lago estate "Schitt's Creek" but without the first "c" and the second "t". As for Harry and Meghan they went about their withdrawal in a foolish manner but I guess that that is what one should expect from a pair of self-absorbed fools.

Vivian Swift said...

I would hate to be a royal, and have everyone feel entitled to have an opinion about your life.

I love the first photo in today's post.

As far as your reading material, the '70s were such a dreary decade that I would hesitate to read any literature from it. Has it aged well? Or is it very '70s, like Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance? What a stupid book.

Sharon said...

I LOVE that photo. The reflections are wonderful.
I tried to watch Schitts Creek but only got to three episodes before I stopped. My friend David said I should give it more time. He likes it. I haven't see Picard yet but I do love Jean Luc. The series I'm watching now is called "Episodes", a sitcom starring Matt LeBlanc in a fictional version of himself.
I've only heard bits and pieces from the impeachment trial but have been surprised at some of the new things I learned. They have made a very strong case. Now the other side will fabricate and whine their way out of it and we all know the result.
I can totally understand Harry's dislike of the press. He is a lot like his mother.

Catalyst said...

That photo is a wonderment. I'm reading a book my wife recommended - "Nothing More Dangerous" by Allen Eskins, but it's about a small town in Missouri and racism. A sophisticated black family has moved to the town and there's a sense of foreboding that something bad is going to happen to them. I find it unsettling but I'm sticking with it.

Linda Sue said...

I love the photo, it looks more glassy than usual and the

colors are wonderful. With
dave on opinion of Schitts
creek, disappointing though I love all of the actors.
The British folk have only themselves to blame for Harry's departure, Shame on them.

jenny_o said...

Hah! I'm the opposite on Schitt's Creek and the other movies some of the actors were in - couldn't stand Best In Show but love Schitt's Creek and am sad it's ending. I watch no other TV shows (an this one I watch online) but I loved this series. I find the characters wacky but endearing and the humour is right up my alley.

I can understand Harry and Meghan wanting a life unhounded by the press. I'm just afraid they aren't going to have it much better here in Canada than anywhere else. The tabloids in particular are so obstrusive. I would hate living in such a fishbowl. Why can't people just let them be? (I know, I know, it's for the money - it was a rhetorical question :))

A. Scott said...

I quite like your final paragraph. It sums up most of the reasons why I don't really bother watching the TV news any more. I also really like the photo.

Penelope said...

I hit the wall on politics and find listening to the so called impeachment proceedings would be an assault on my common sense.
I have never been interested in celebrity gossip before going down the fake Archie baby rabbit hole. It's like the old Dallas series of improbable plots and conspiracies. The photoshopped christening photo, the set up walk in the park with the dangling foot fake baby, the gamut. What fun! Much better than the rage I feel about the hearings. At least the Queen has some balls, unlike the senate. No, they don't get to make money off being royal and then demand privacy. Who needs fiction when reality is so much fun?

Edna B said...

I really love that photo of the buildings. The colors Are wonderful. And I think that was nice of you about the lunch box containers. I'm not impressed with most of what is on TV so I watch a lot of reruns of the old TV programs. You have a super evening. Hugs, Edna B.

Steve Reed said...

Briony: We tried "You" and gave up on it after a couple of episodes. We liked "Messiah" a lot, though. We've already finished it!

Marty: Yeah, that's true! At a business I'd just assume an adult could handle their own lunchbox cleanup.

Colette: Considering my mind was an utter blank when I sat down to write it, that's a compliment! Thanks.

Ms Moon: I can see already that the characters are becoming less of a caricature as time passes. I like the underlying theme of red-state and blue-state coexistence.

Robin: I think Schitt's DOES get better with time.

Red: Yeah, it will be interesting to see what happens there. I'm afraid he might wind up resenting Meghan for instigating this change. (Assuming she did, which seems like the case.)

YP: LOL! How do you REALLY feel?!

Vivian: Like any decade, the '70s had its ups and downs, I suppose. "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" was another low point.

Sharon: I don't know if we have that "Episodes" show here. I've never heard of it, in any case.

Catalyst: Sounds like an interesting book. I'll see if we have it in the library!

Linda Sue: Well, it's not even the British folk. It's the British tabloids. Which admittedly people buy, but the rapacious behavior of the paparazzi and the tabloid bosses is really to blame. They've taken "give the people what they want" to a ridiculous extreme.

Jenny-O: I think there's a somewhat legitimate feeling that the public is invested in them and therefore entitled to know about their lives. That's not entirely untrue, since the public pays many of their expenses. (Or has until now.) But yeah, the tabloids, as I said to Linda Sue above, have taken that sense of ownership to a ridiculous extreme.

Andrew: I do find the news exhausting these days. It's weird; I always used to like it. (And in fact worked in that industry for years.)

Penelope: Wait, what is this? A fake baby Archie? I haven't heard this theory!

Edna: I love reruns too. We watch quite a few of them! We don't get "Matlock," though. :)

Penelope said...

For more dirt on the Fake Baby Archie Theory, see (on YouTube), Tarot by Janine (she is fascinating) , Yankee Wally, Celt News, Murky Meg. Most theories say they used a surrogate, or two, and now do not have possession of the real babies so are using dolls. See Reborn Babies (Google). The christening photo is photoshopped. Plus, where is the Queen in that photo? Meghan has 200 copyrights, merching everything, so why is Archie not dressed up and photographed every day to sell baby clothes? The most recent walk in the park photos were shot at least three different times, with security with and without hats, and with one or two dogs. All bring attention to the carrier being used wrong with the baby not wearing a diaper, or moving (same at polo match) and more. When I say rabbit hole, I mean rabbit hole.

ellen abbott said...

you should probably put the lunch box on a counter somewhere so the kid can see it when s/he comes in. the kid will never look in the lost and found for it. the trial has been on here but just background. I've caught snippets. the chief justice should demand more phones, no toys, no leaving! I don't think Harry will regret it. He's so far from the throne so why play the game? and he remembers what it did to his mother.

37paddington said...

I am fully on the Harry and Meghan bandwagon. I cheer their escape from the suffocating and hateful and deeply unfair coverage they were receiving. I hope they live happily ever after wherever they choose to hang their hat.

Have you and Dave ever watched the Crown? Maybe you did and wrote about it, I can't recall. I think you'd find it interesting if you haven't, and I'd be curious to hear your thoughts (if I haven't).