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May 11, 2020:

THREE BALLS IN THE AIR

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I am sitting here like so much fish, listening to music, thinking thoughts, and now typing words.  Yes, I can do all three things at once, isn’t that marvelous?  I’m like a juggler with three balls in the air.  Have you ever had three balls in the air?  It’s quite exhilarating.  Some would call it multitasking.  I call it three balls in the air aka juggling.  Three balls in the air is not to be confused with three-card monte.  That reminds me of those crazy New York days when the con artists would just set up a table with either three-card monte or three cups with a ball under one.  I was fascinated with these people and they were very good.  They had shills who’d play and win, which would sucker in regular people who would, of course, always lose.  I admit here and now and also now and here that I was taken in by it once.  Just a few bucks but suckered, nonetheless.  As soon as they’d spy a cop coming, they were packed up and out of there so fast it was amazing.  I wonder at what point they had to give up their cons?  I’m guessing when Disney took over Forty-Second street and Times Square become Disneyland.  What the HELL am I talking about?  Three-card monte?  Balls in the air.  Three cups with one ball?  Cons?  Shills?  Times Square in the good old bad old days?  I have gone off on a tangent, dear readers, oh, yes, I have gone off on a tangent.

Yesterday, I got almost eight hours of sleep.  Once up, I had a telephonic conversation with the musical director, cleaning up some rhythms and wrong notes for one of the tracks.  We got that done and he got me the corrected track.  I answered e-mails of all shapes and sizes, and then I took part in a Zoom birthday partay for Adryan Russ.  That was amusing on some level and lasted about thirty minutes.  Once that was done, I had two tuna sandwiches and half of the Reese’s peanut butter cheesecake, which was excellent and very rich. Even a week ago, I would have downed the whole damn thing, but I’m trying to be good.  Then I sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched two motion pictures, one on DVD, one on Blu and Ray.  The motion picture on DVD was Man in the Vault, which I’d only seen once before when I got the DVD in 2006, part of the big Batjac release.  It’s a very low-budget affair, with an okay B-cast, and directed by Andrew McLaglen, his first film, I think.  Based on a novel by Frank Gruber, it’s a decent little programmer – certainly nothing to shout about other than the great location photography, shot all over LA and Hollywood.  Great shots of Santa Monica Blvd. circa 1955, as well as Hollywood and Highland and La Cienega.

Then I decided to watch The Ninth Gate, directed by Roman Polanski, from the novel The Club Dumas.  I enjoyed it the previous two times and thought it was a return to form for Mr. Polanski, after some not so interesting films.  Seeing it again, its problems were just too many for me to think it a great movie like The Ghost Writer.  Certainly, the subject matter is something I love – rare book collecting – but there is so much wrong with that aspect of the film, that it kills everything for me, even though there are sections I like very much.  The biggest issue is Johnny Depp, who’s just bad in it.  Whether it was his idea or Polanski’s to smoke around rare million-dollar books, it is ludicrous.  If it was Depp, I would have slapped him silly for not doing an iota of research in how a book scout would handle books.  And it is a million-dollar book that’s the focal point of the entire movie.  He keeps this super rare tome in his carry bag draped over his shoulder.  Most of the time he plops it in there it is not covered with anything, so heaven knows what would happen to it what with his keys and everything else being in the bag.

When he’s examining its pages, he does so in a way that would crack the spine of any book over two centuries old.  And he smokes constantly as he examines, something no knowledgeable book person would EVER do.  And then there’s the collector who’s not only smoking as he looks at this all-time rare book (only three copies exist), he drops ashes on it and wipes them away with nary a care. It’s just bad and one does ultimately have to put it on Mr. Polanski.  The film holds interest until it becomes completely ludicrous in its final fifteen minutes.  It does have a nice score, the other actors are decent and Mr. Polanski’s camera direction and staging are great.  This Blu-ray clearly sports a transfer done for DVD and it’s pretty awful-looking, IMO.

After that, I took a drive, came home, had a couple of pieces of toast for a snack, and did some work on the computer.

Today, I’ll be up when I’m up, and I’m pretty certain the hardcover books are coming, so when they do I’ll go get them, get them all signed with a musical quote, then the helper will come get them and we’ll get them all shipped, hopefully by mid-week. I’m so excited to get these to people.  I’ll do Kritzerland show stuff, of course, I’ll eat something, and then at some point I’ll watch, listen, and relax.

The rest of the week is all Kritzerland show stuff, and getting everyone their tracks to work with, and we may even have one Zoom rehearsal for the two numbers with multiple singers.  We want to get those two numbers done as early as possible, because they’re complicated and it’s best to get them out of the way, especially if we encounter problems.  Then I’ll make a show order and start writing the commentary.  I’m hoping to get to Casa Vega one day this week – you have to do curbside pick-up, which is fine, and I figure if I do it at three it won’t be too bad there.  I just have to find out how they paying part works.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, be up when I’m up, hopefully pick up the hardcover books and get them all signed, eat, hopefully get the helper over to pick up the books and get them shipped out, do Kritzerland show stuff, and then watch, listen, and relax.  Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite games of chance, and were you ever suckered into three-card monte or the cups with one ball cons?  Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, as I continue juggling with three balls in the air.

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