Weary Pilgrim - What to Watch at the Movies, Part 2 - January 2015

So while we’re all in a movie-going mood, here are my takes on some more films playing at your local theater – and don’t forget your local video store – films go to DVD much quicker than they did a few years ago, and your popcorn tastes better. Inherent Vice – set in the 70’s, this is the first film lifted from a book by Thomas Pynchon, and you can see why nobody ever tried that before. It stars a whole lot of people, with a plot that has more twists than a double-jointed pretzel ( which is how these people talk in this excuse for a real movie ). Everybody is stoned all the time, they mumble a lot, and they all act like people we don’t really want to care about – mostly it makes you really

Weary Pilgrim - What to Watch at the Movies, Part 1 - December 2014

As I am fond of observing, Hollywood likes to hold most of their quality films till what is known as academy season, on the theory that the 6000 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have zero chance of remembering anything before, say, last week. Basically, any film can qualify by playing for a week in both New York and LA – therefore some films get this so-called ‘academy release’ and then get yanked form the theaters, only to reappear early in the year. So here’s a snapshot of films I’ve seen and survived this season. My feeling is, reviews can often serve little purpose – they either tell you too much or too little – and any critic who spoils a movie should be cond

Weary Pilgrim - Dear Santa - December 2014

Santa: I now realize that last year’s request for a place in the Celtic’s starting lineup may have been over-reaching a bit ( in fact, they never even called ), so I’ve scaled things back a bit this year. Here goes: -I would really like Congress and the President to get along. Okay, okay, I’m pulling your leg – made you look! Compared to that, everything I really want is a piece of cake. -I want this Cuba thing to work out. I know the Castro’s are a couple of silly politicians masquerading as regular Joe’s, but the people of Cuba don’t deserve the brunt of a cruel policy that isn’t getting anybody anything good. For one thing, it sure hasn’t worked. For another, since the Soviets bugged o

Weary Pilgrim - After Long Absence - October 2014

First of all, what say we all agree on one thing: it was a spectacular summer. Granted, it followed the absolute worst-without-exception winter we can remember, so there’s some kind of karmic backlash-frontlash thing going on there, but hey, the sun just kept on shining, it had plenty of Camelot rain ( after sundown ), the stock market had a rocket tied to its tail, and everybody seemed healthy, wealthy, and wise enough to be thankful about it all. Exit summer, entrance autumn. Spectacular foliage this year – winter is indeed the price we pay for fall. And the word ‘fall’ says it all. The market still has a rocket on it, it’s just pointed in the other direction. Why? Well, never mind the m

Weary Pilgrim - March - 2014

I don’t know about you, but I find March frustrating. The third month of the year, March is to the year as 5AM is to the day - it’s dark, tiring, there’s not a whole lot really going on, and pretty much all you can think of is the coming daylight. The way I look at it, March is ‘black as the pit from pole to pole’, April is brown, and May…..May, thank God, is green. And Boy, oh Boy, this year is no exception. The Winter Without End, the Russians, Flight 370, spring training for the Red Sox without Jacob Ellsbury, spring training for the Yankees WITH Jacob Ellsbury, …..it doesn’t take a lot of explaining to figure out why the greatest betting event in the history of the world is a bunch of

The Weary Pilgrim - Hasta Luego - May 2013

So it’s time to go home – four months away from my friends, family and pooch is time enough for them to forgive me most of my sins – besides which, I’d kill for a great burger. Speaking of which, a list of things back home I miss most: decent burgers, decent hot dogs, raisin bran, decent donuts, strangers who pass you in the street and say ‘Hi’, decent cable TV, restaurants that serve dinner at 6PM, and just about anybody who’s reading this. List of things in Valencia I’ll miss the most : - Quiet traffic: it’s very rude to honk your horn – therefore, despite a robust morning commute, the traffic tends to glide around without audible drama. Add to this that most cabs are hybrids, and you

Weary Pilgrim - Fallas - March 29, 2013

Fallas is a festival celebrated in Valencia, Spain, originally intended to honor St. Joseph – technically it lasts five days, leading to the night of March 19th. I know this because I looked it up on Wickepedia. If you ask anybody here, they’ll tell you the simple truth – it’s a holiday which celebrates the eternal need to blow stuff up. Here’s a hint: last year they passed a law making it illegal for anyone under the age of eight to light off firecrackers. It’s not enforced. Think Mardi Gras in a free-fire zone. Think several weeks ( they like to get a jump on things ) of blowing enough stuff up to make the bombing of Dresden look like three kids with cherry bombs. The first night I heard

Weary Pilgrim- Devil's Ballroom - March 2013

Last week I went to Berlin to visit a couple of old friends, Marty and Kate. Many years ago I married them – no, really. Massachusetts has a lovely law which enables a private citizen to become a ‘Special Designee to Solemnize a Marriage’. You apply to the Secretary of State, and after a fair amount of paperwork ( remember, this is Massachusetts ), you get to be Vicar For a Day. It was one of my best days, I don’t mind telling you. This winter they are on sabbatical from Harvard and Wellesley, writing projects in Berlin, and invited me up for a few days. Berlin: a city not afraid of its history. The Devil came out to dance in Berlin in 1933 – that particular waltz lasted till 1945. Then Sta

Weary Pilgrim - Self Deportee

I’m not exactly sure what Mitt Romney meant when he recommended self-deportation for all the illegal immigrants – in the next breath he categorized about half of America as a group of indolent free-loaders waiting for their dole checks to arrive in the ( nearly free ) US post, so I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t mind if some or all of us ( I think he really meant whoever didn’t vote for him ) would get ourselves out of the country , pronto. So, I did. But I voted first. I write this from the amazing city of Valencia, Spain. I’m here for the staggering amount of four months, teaching at a new graduate program of Berklee College of Music. The school is located in the City of Arts and Sciences,

Weary Pilgrim - Dads

Many years ago I was telling my father about an upsetting phone call I had received when he interrupted me. “That’s nothing”, he said, “You want a bad phone call? Once we were dug in near the Ardennes, when the Division Commander called us on the field phone. “Listen to me” he said, “Drop back one hundred yards, dig in, and get a clear field of fire – in the opposite direction.” “What do you mean, the opposite direction?” Dad asked. “The Germans have broken through our lines,” his Commander said. “They’re behind you.” “You want a bad phone call?” Dad asked. “THAT is a bad phone call.” This was the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge. Fortunately for Dad and his 78th Recon Troop, Patt

Weary Pilgrim - I See A World

Where people are free to be with those they love. It amazes me that, while I barely have the energy to get my laundry done, never mind earn a living, treat my aging parents with the love and care they so desperately need and deserve, and spare a little time to laugh with my friends, there are people who actually have the energy to devote large amounts of time to preventing people from living in a married situation with those they love. Yes, I’m talking about the gay thing. The thing of it is, like a lot of straight guys, I used to be somewhat homophobic. I grew up in a locker room world where homosexuals were jeered at, where nobody ever actually confessed to be ‘queer’, because if you did,

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