Haines Logo Text
Column Archive
May 6, 2017:

WHAT ARE THE ODDS?

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, it was a day of discombobulation around these here parts yesterday. That is because she of the Evil Eye came a day early and therefore my mind was a mass of discombobulation from morning till evening and all stops in between. I didn’t know if I was coming or going or going or coming, I didn’t know my left foot from my right, my hat from my glove but it wasn’t because I was misty and too much in love, it was because the natural order of things was thrown askew and confusion ran rampant and frankly rampant ran confusion because why should confusion always have the upper hand?

The day began with an early rising at eight and she of the Evil Eye arrived thirty minutes thereafter. I did stuff on the computer until about nine-thirty and then I went and did introductions for two people – an LACC student being interviewed as a production assistant on the musical I’m directing – she met with our general manager, who manages our generals, and I’m hoping they hit it off.   As soon as introductions were made, I beat a hasty retreat and then a hasty retreat beat me, just because. I went, or rather tried to go to Jerry’s Deli, but as soon as I passed Laurel Canyon I could see they’d closed the street two blocks down – tons of fire trucks and equipment. I later found out that it was a fire that involved two stores. I had two choices. I turned around, thought about the two choices (to go north to Moorpark or south and around to Whitsett, and I chose wrong (south) and what should have taken about three minutes took about twenty. I finally got there, settled in and had an omelet and a bagel. After that, I came back home to the clean home environment.

I then did some work on the computer and a little while later picked up a couple of packages, including Amazon pantry, wherein I got some foodstuffs that were cheap – cream of mushroom soup, some of those Campbell chunky soups, which are pretty calorie friendly, and some garlic/ranch baked chips and some new-fangled potato chip flavor called biscuits and gravy. I sampled one chip of the latter and boy is it odd, but not terrible. Then I began listening to a new Shostakovich cycle (new to me, that is) conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich, famous cellist and friend to Shostakovich. Here he’s the conductor – this set is mostly well thought of, but you find the usual one person who says Rostropovich is the most inept Shostokovich conductor. Everyone’s a critic and know-it-all. I either respond to the performance or I don’t, and I rather like what I’ve heard so far (the first four symphonies) – the sound is quite nice but the dynamic range is a little wide for my taste – the lows are frequently so low you almost can’t hear them at all, followed by loud bits that are almost too loud. Some people love that – I’m not one of them. This isn’t the concert hall, it’s a recording and we need to hear the damn music without fiddling with our volume knobs. Fiddling With Our Volume Knobs – that’s the title of my next novel. But the playing and performances are to my liking. They’re occasionally very different than my Rudolph Barshai set, which is fun to hear. The Barshai has better dynamics, but I think both are keepers, but we’ll see how the rest of the Rostropovich is. After that, I sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched a motion picture on the Flix of Net entitled A Kind of Murder, featuring a no-star cast that included Patrick Wilson and Jessica Biel. The first twenty minutes or so were kind of interesting and then it all went to hell, with characters behaving so stupidly that you want to hurl your shoe at them. And the ending was rather inane. But here’s why it was worth watching it: In the film, a character named Kimmel has perhaps killed his wife, Mrs. Kimmel. I thought to myself, myself isn’t it funny that when I was growing up there were only a handful of Kimmels in the phone directory, and now the name is as common as kale. So, I thought it was just the screenwriter’s hip attempt to have a Kimmel in the script (given Jimmy’s popularity). But I was very wrong. The film is based on a book by Patricia Highsmith, called The Blunderer, written in the very early 1950s, and the name is right there in the book. But here’s where it gets a little freaky and what are the odds of this: The Patricia Highsmith book prior to The Blunderer was entitled Strangers on a Train. So, in Strangers on a Train Miss Highsmith wrote a character called Guy Haines, and in her very next book she writes a character with the name Kimmel. I mean, what ARE the damn odds of that? Pretty cool, huh?

After that, I did a two-and-a-half mile jog, then watched a documentary on the Flix of Net entitled A Murder in the Park, an absolutely fantastic documentary about a double murder. A suspect was arrested, put on trial and found guilty – and put on death row. Then this professor at Northwestern and his journalism class began looking into the case. Two days before the guy was to be executed, they went public with their findings and not only was the execution stayed, the guy was let out of jail. The media had a field day, the professor and his private investigator and class were hailed as heroes. And all this happened without one person vetting their findings. Part of their compelling case is they found another suspect and in a video confession, he stated he did it. So, he was arrested and then convicted and sent to prison. But the police who were involved in the case and the first guy’s arrest and conviction weren’t buying any of it. And over the years, much came to light, including the fact that the professor manipulated everything, they withheld key information, the convicted man recanted and said he was coerced and practically forced into the confession (when you watch the video you can see he’s reading off a paper and you can also see he’s confused and dazed. It’s all really compelling and has more twists than the twistiest thriller. The police knew then and now they had the right guy the first time around – but he can’t be tried again. The second guy languished in prison for fifteen years or so before HIS legal team finally presented all this information that hadn’t been presented, and the second guy was released. Meanwhile, the professor had been let go from Northwestern for being caught in many lies and fabrications, not to mention he was a media whore, and the private investigator admitted in an interview that he lies, cheats, misrepresents, bullies and can do all that without a problem, as long as he gets what he wants. And the statute of limitations has long passed so neither of them can be brought up on charges, as much as the prosecutors would have liked to. The second man is suing Northwestern, the professor, the private investigator for forty million dollars. The PI countersued and his countersuit was thrown out of court, while the freed man’s suit is going forward. The film came out in 2014, but the suit trial has yet to begin. I recommend this very highly. It’s just beautifully done.

After that, I took a hot shower, listened to more music, and that was that.

Today, I’ll be up early as we have an eleven-thirty stumble-through. After that, I’ll do a jog, relax, and then be on my way to Westlake for this event that begins at six-thirty. I’m hoping I can be home no later than nine-thirty.

Tomorrow I’ll relax and then we have our sound check and then our show. Then this upcoming week I have to cast and plan the June Kritzerland, we’re having additional auditions for the lead in Dial ‘M’, and then it’s all prep work on the musical I’m directing, which begins rehearsals the following week.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things we do, I must, for example, have a stumble-through, jog, relax, and then attend an event. Today’s topic of discussion: What do you feel is the greatest miscarriage of justice in the past 100 years? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, still trying to figure out the odds on the Highsmith Hainsies/Kimlets thing.

Search BK's Notes Archive:
 
© 2001 - 2017 by Bruce Kimmel. All Rights Reserved