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September 19, 2020:

ROSH HASHANAH OR THE JEWISH NEW YEAR

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I am sitting here like so much fish, listening to Prokofiev’s piano concertos, all marvelous or, as Pamela Tiffin would say, marvy, drinking some water, which I don’t care for but am told is important to do, and pondering some imponderables in a ponderous way, which is really the only way to ponder the imponderables when you think about it.  Also, I’ve been informed by those in the know that it is the Jewish New Year so a very happy Jewish New Year to all my Jewish brethren and sistren.  I suppose I should eat some brisket and kugel and matzoh, oh my, but in order to do so one would actually have to have those items.  I do not have those items.  I will tell you that no matter what issues I had with my mother she made the best brisket there will ever be.  That was her special dish.  She was a pretty good cook, actually.  I think the regular meals in our house were, of course, the brisket on special occasions, meatloaf, pepper steak, lamb chops, her 1000-Island dressing was great, and I can’t remember what all else.  We did eat out a lot, too, more than most families, I think, with frequent outings to Gaby’s Coffee Shop, Stat’s Coffee Shop, Pete ‘n’ Percy’s barbecue, Kelbo’s, Casa Cienega, Dick Webster’s (home of the lemon meringue pie), and other jernts in our neighborhood.  Ironically, other than going to The Bagel when my grandpa Sam was alive (he died in 1955, I think), I don’t think we ever went to a deli, even though we had so many near us. Now, my mother’s sister, my Aunt Lily, was also a great cook and my favorite dinners at her home were always her incredible fried filet o’ sole and her mac-and-cheese, which was the best.  I once had a recipe for it, but I think the ex-wife got it in the divorce.  Maybe I’ll drop her an e-mail and see if she still has it. Of all the things listed above, the two things I have not had for over sixty years are lamb chops and pepper steak.  Why am I going on about food all of a sudden?  Now I’m hungry and I mustn’t be hungry, and I shan’t succumb to said hunger because I am a man on a mission of 1000 calories a day, give or take a few on either side. I now have to stop talking about food as I’m in danger of eating this keyboard.

Yesterday wasn’t much of a day, other than no little miracles presented themselves, which is now becoming a large problem.  I got seven-and-a-half hours of sleep, arising around eleven.  I’d pre-ordered food so I didn’t have to think about that, so I did stuff that needed doing, mostly answering e-mails and such, and trying to puzzle out a few things.  I also talked to the claims department at the bank, explained everything, and it all got sorted out in just a few minutes and my five bucks will be in the account on Monday morning.

Food arrived about fifteen minutes earlier than scheduled, which was good since I was starving.  I had the chicken wrap I like along with the tiny side of chicken pasta salad, which I always save for a snack later in the day or early evening. The wrap is very consistently good – I wish their roast chicken was, too, but one time it will be fantastic and the next time it will be too “wet” and undercooked, which I hate.  After the food, I did some work on the computer, then sat on my couch like so much fish and fell asleep for an hour.

Then I finished watching the 1969 version of Goodbye, Mr. Chips.  Peter O’Toole’s performance is fascinating actually.  He’s weird in the first forty minutes of the film and not really likeable, but after that it kind of pays off as he softens throughout the film and he’s actually terrific in it.  Petula is delightful, but her role is part of the film’s problem – the love interest in the original book and first movie isn’t around that long, but in this film she’s really the focal point of much of the film, along with Mr. O’Toole.  They made her a performer so they could shoehorn in a couple of performance numbers, only one of which really works.  But you don’t really get to the school stuff for a very long time.  Also, director Herbert Ross can’t decide whether he wants the songs as interior monologues where you hear them, but the characters aren’t actually singing them (most of the numbers) or if they are singing them onscreen.  And his choices of when that happens makes no real sense.  Michael Redgrave is always a pleasure to watch and the supporting players are all fine. But really, the film’s biggest issues are Mr. Ross, who just didn’t know what he was doing – his direction is just plain awful and not a moment of it works, the bloated length of the film, the pacing, and giving Mr. O’Toole two or three songs – Mr. Chips, as a character, would not sing, it’s that simple.  If Ms. Clark were the only one who sung that would make some kind of sense.  And what Mr. O’Toole has to sing, song-wise, is just not “A” material, I’m afraid and it’s all about a minute long.  Cameraman Oswald Morris has so much diffusion going on that much of the film looks out of focus.  Goodbye, Mr. Chips was not crying out to be a musical – it’s a small story, not a roadshow event film, which is why it tanked at the box-office.  But as with all mediocre or bad film musicals, of course there is a cult around the film – it literally happens with every single one.  They LOVE it probably because it WAS a roadshow film they saw at a young age, just like Lost Horizon has actual fans who LOVE it.  Ironically, that film suffers from terrible direction, too.  But in the end, thanks to O’Toole, some of Mr. Chips is quite moving, although Mr. Ross consistently then blows those moments by not going to the right scene at the right time.  I don’t actually think I’d ever seen the thing all the way through.  I think they also put back a number that wasn’t in the original release, and if so, they shouldn’t have because it’s one of those things that blows the emotion of cutting from a very good scene directly to the final scene.

After that, I ate the tiny side of chicken pasta salad, and then began watching Mr. Alfred Hitchcock’s film, I Confess.  I confess I’ve always liked I Confess – it’s not perfect – it spends a little too much time in flashbacks with Anne Baxter and Montgomery Clift pre his becoming a priest, but the central plot is not only compelling but contains a fascinating dilemma for Clift’s character.  The supporting players are great, the Dimitri Tiomkin score is not as bombastic as some of his scores, which is a good thing.  I’ll finish it up this evening.

Then, since I hadn’t been out all day, I took a drive over to the mail place to see if anything was there.  There was a package, and despite it being way after closing time, one of the gals was there working, so I was able to retrieve it.  It was a box filled with sugar free little dark chocolate squares of forty calories each, which is great if one needs just the taste of a sweet to satisfy that craving.  It was from our very own dear reader Jeanne and was very much appreciated by the likes of me.

Then I came home, listened to music (I’ve been nuking a lot of stuff I don’t ever listen to out of iTunes, trying to free up just a bit more room on the computer), and relaxed.

Today, I’ll be up when I’m up, I’ll do whatever needs doing, I’ll eat something fun (undecided whether I’ll make something here or pick up something), I’ll hopefully pick up some packages or mail, and then in the early evening I have a phoner about this upcoming Partridge Family stuff.  Then I’ll watch, listen, and relax.

Tomorrow can be a ME day, and then next week I have a ton of stuff to start planning should I survive until then sans some little miracles.

Let’s all put on our pointy party hats and our colored tights and pantaloons, let’s all break out the cheese slices and ham chunks, let’s dance the Hora or the Wah Watusi, for today is the birthday of our very own dear reader elmore.  So, let’s give a big haineshisway.com birthday cheer to our very own dear reader elmore.  On the count of three: One, two, three – A BIG HAINESHISWAY.COM BIRTHDAY CHEER TO OUR VERY OWN DEAR READER ELMORE!!!

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, do whatever needs doing, eat, hopefully pick up packages and mail, have a phoner, and then watch, listen, and relax.  Today’s topic of discussion: What are your all-time favorite Petula Clark songs?  Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, as we welcome in the Jewish New Year, aka Rosh Hashanah.

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