Saturday, August 08, 2015

Motzai Shabbos Musings

Was with dad for Shabbos and am staying over tonight.  Told him about Phoenix (trailer / Wikipedia) and he was very interested.  He said, "Leave it to Germany to think of making that movie." Not sure what he meant.  He was very taken by the story of it.  Dad left Germany in 1937 at 7 years old.

Surreal reading Donal Hall's Essays After Eighty while staying over for some forty plus hours with my over eighty dad at his assisted living place.  He is smart and funny.  He wrote about getting a National Medal of Arts from President Obama.  A blogger named Alexandra Petri poked fun of him (he is old and has a wild beard and long hair) (link is to one of the many conservatives who ironically defended Hall). He observes that, "With our increasing longevity, Ms. Petri should live to be a hundred. May she grow a beard."  In one essay about the pros and cons of growing older he spends a lot of time describing beautifully the birds, squirrels, and snow and then adds in a bit about how people can be condescending to older people.  He describes how a guard at the National Gallery of Art in Washington saw him being pushed in a wheelchair and felt compelled to tell him who the sculptor was of the art he was looking at.  (It was Henry Moore, who Hall wrote a book about and knew personally.) Later the guard sees him with his companion and asked him, "Did we have a nice din-din?" In the next piece in the book he says that, "Contradiction is the cellular structure of life. Sometimes north dominates, sometimes south- but if the essay doesn't include contraries, however small they be, the essay fails." And he goes on to say that the previous essay resonated with people and brought him a lot of feedback only because he added in the part about " a goon's baby talk."


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