The Corner

Catching Up On Life

So now that the book is really and for true out of my hands — at least until proofs or galleys come back — I’m actually able to devote some time and energy to other things. I was working on that book — or not working on it, but having it weigh on me — for roughly four years. Even when I felt fine about where I was — which wasn’t often — it still haunted me. I’m having a hard time adjusting. But it’s a good problem to have. One of the things I’ve been trying to do is catch up on things I wanted to read or see but just couldn’t get around to because of book or baby.

A few highlights from the last week:

I rented Children of Men, and while it almost didn’t live up to the hype, I thought it was great. Indeed, I bought the book. (More on that later).

I also picked up, on Nick Schulz’s recommendation, Cultural Amnesia by Clive James, which — so far — seems great. (More on that later, if warranted).

I also bought The Dark Knight Returns. I know it came out in 1986. And yes I read it back then, but not since then. I’d nearly forgotten the whole thing. Beside being a great comic, it’s an amazing historical document (definitely more on that later).

I re-bought The Looming Tower, which I somehow lost before I could finish it.

I watched Rocky Balboa. I liked it. Though it clearly should have been Rocky IV not Rocky MCCXXLMV or whatever it was. It was also surprisingly individualist/libertarian — even for a Rocky movie. This, in turn, required dropping a staple of the story arc of all the other Rocky movies: The Moment of Doubt. Since everybody thought Rocky couldn’t have a comeback, they had to make Rocky into his own booster. It was nice change, but it took about a half hour out of the movie and made it feel like a Movie of the Week.

I’ve caught up on most of this season’s 24, though not last night’s episode. I think it’s definitely slipping. One small observation. Not since nameless red-shirted security officers beamed down to planets with the top leadership of the Enterprise, only to meet certain death, has there been a staple character more destined for quick extermination that the assault team and extraction squad members who accompany Jack Bauer into enemy hideouts. It’s gotten so bad that even security officers don’t count as casualties to the characters on the show. When the Chinese assault team invaded CTU’s HQ, they killed several security guards. But when asked for a casualty count the acting director said there was only one casualty — the skate rat nerd boy. The hard-working lawmen who gave their lives didn’t even register as losses.

I finished watching, on iTunes, The Black Donnellys. I think it’s a real shame they canceled it. Though it had a deeply troubling, Sopranos-like, moral foundation, it was really compelling and interesting television. I have a theory that the reason it didn’t work on broadcast television is that the broadcast TV audience isn’t willing to make the sort of leap necessary to accepting bad guys as the protagonists in the numbers necessary to keep those shows afloat. People forget that for all of the buzz about The Sopranos, its audience is very selective.

Alas, I pretty much missed the entire last 2/3rds of this season’s Heroes.

More updates to come as I live them.