We’re not supposed to be surprised that Ernest Elbert Midkiff has died, which he did last Wednesday. He was, after all, 99 years old. He would have turned 100 on Veterans Day.
Though it’s not true all over the country, here in southeastern Ohio we are enjoying an early spring. As I write this, the forecast for today, Wednesday, has a high of 63 degrees, with plenty of recent days having reached 70 and above. A year ago today it only got to 46 degrees here.
For the last little while I've been watching a remarkable program, "Wonder Egg Priority," that adopts an unconventional fantasy approach in considering the tragedy of child suicides. Before that, I watched and very much enjoyed a series, "Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai," which despite the weird title takes a metaphysical view of adolescent issues. My favorite movie is the highly praised "Your Name," a comedy-romance-thriller-mystery.
I don’t want to step on Mr. Powell’s toes, or encroach upon his territory as OFB’s crackpot-at-large, but I’ve got a splinter in my brain, and we’re going to talk about it. I’ve had one of those 1200-watt microwaves for ages. I used to call it “Satan’s microwave,” because if I followed the instructions on any package of food, I would be waiting 5 to 7 minutes minimum before I could reasonably attempt to eat whatever I put in there. You can adjust the cooking time, as is often advised, but you are playing with fire, or ice, as the case may be.
I am not a music critic, nor am I educated in the science of making music. I am just a guy who likes popular music. The genius of Taylor Swift is in putting words to intense feelings and experiences, even if other people think those feelings and experiences are silly or insignificant. I guess the knock on her was that she always wrote songs about romantic relationships, but listen, my friends: we wouldn’t even have popular music of any sort, if we didn’t have romantic relationships.
What is grief, but love persevering? Disney+’s WandaVision is one of the best series I can recall gracing the small screen in decades and that question posed by the Vision (Paul Bettany) captures so much about what allows the show to be profound beyond the strictures of either of its roots: classic sitcoms and Marvel Cinematic Universe.
I watched this film for the first time on Ash Wednesday. In the context of the present pandemic and its deadly effect on our lives, it is all the more compelling to view this film at this time. Also, as any good Catholic on that day, I was hungry, hoping to kill time until I could eat a hamburger or something. The Black Death served as part of the setting, and even as we are thankful that the present crisis is not of the magnitude as that, it was hard not to notice the existential dread, and to recognize that we are living with it, just as these characters were.
On the release anniversary of one of my favorite Robin Williams films, I want to revisit that film and two other underappreciated films in his career. These films may have been missed by large portions of the viewing audience and so I commend them to your viewing.
Stuart A. Thompson and Charlie Warzel write for the New York Times:
If you own a mobile phone, its every move is logged and tracked by dozens of companies. No one is beyond the reach of this constant digital surveillance. Not even the president of the United States.
The interactive graphic at the top of the article is enough to show just how alarmingly accurate tracking data on cell phones can be. If the president can be tracked this easily, it should be a sober reminder to all of us to care more about electronic privacy.
A couple of holiday commercials released this week pull all the right levers to make them tear-worthy and, really, almost mini-Christmas specials. If you are looking for a short break from the hustle and bustle this weekend, check out these two instant classics from Comcast and Apple.