NYC in August

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It was Ellen’s idea.

“Let’s plan a trip in August to NYC,” she said. “It’ll be similar to our one-week-a-year trips to a foreign city.”

I was skeptical: “NYC in August?”

But then I”m a married man, and so we headed to NYC last Friday, returning home today, five nights, six days later.

Three plays, all thoroughly entertaining (Once, Beautiful, and Kinky Boots)

Two movies, one good (Abuse of Weakness), one bad (Frank).

Two museums, both shows excellent (Pace Gallery’s digital Ever Blossoming Life-Dark and the Metropolitan’s Garry Winograd’s Photography and a return to see the reopened wonderful Chinese scholar’s garden, The Astor Court). Plus, we saw lots of street ‘art.’

Walking, walking, walking, including daughter Elizabeth’s hour and 15 minute trek from our hotel on 54th to a restaurant in the village. (“It only took that long,” she said, “because I got distracted by a Lululemon store.”)

Shopping, shopping, shopping, must have been successful as four packages have already been delivered to our house, and we’ve only been home a few hours.

Good food, topped by two old favorites, steak at Peter Luger’s and dim sum at Nom Wah Tea Parlor.

Nostalgic ‘returns’ to where we were married, to where Elizabeth use to live, to Central Park, and to the Plaza, where we celebrated our marriage. Alas, no sign of Izzy Izkowitz’s feather quilts on the Lower East Side. And what happened to all those barrels of pickles?

Weather, simply delightful, better than Bora Bora, DC, KC, according to Weather.com.

The Best: Dinners with friends and family, including a 50-year reunion with two college friends and their wives, an evening with part of our Indian family, an evening with a longtime friend and colleague, and numerous meals and time together with our daughter Elizabeth, some of her friends, including her recently acquired brother-in-law and sister-in-law.

Below, some pictures, mostly taken with Ellen’s iPhone:

Kinky Boots Carole King

Chinese Garden

Japense

Street Art

Beth

Nom Wah

PL2

PL

ESM2

sunset

Once again, Ellen was right.

Films vs Books…Documentaries vs Memoirs

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Thank you to friend and MillersTime reader Elliott Trommald for his Comment (which I only just saw this morning) on my post on the film Life Itself. He wrote:

I don’t know Diane or Janet, but I think I feel what they are feeling. Certainly “Life Itself” made me feel my sister’s life and my own as I was feeling Roger’s. And Ebert made me understand the power of a movie and the relationship I seem to have with movies. We do live our lives as a movie.

Richard, you write that almost always, you find the book better than the film version. I used to agree. Now I find this less true. Take “The Fault in our Stars” — I think the movie as good as the book, actually better. The reason for me is that both work on me in a different way.

When I read a book, I control the action and the color and the emotion. The intellect is engaged; I read; I stop and muse or reread a beautiful line; I consider whether I feel as the author feels or whether the author’s story is believable. I might even critique the book as I read. All of that is enjoyable.

In a film, I am sucked into the story for better or worse and feel it, I can’t go back and reconsider what I just saw; I am carried along sometimes against my will. I am bothered, angry, enlightened, exhilarated. (“Snowpiercer” as film was more troubling for me than the book. After feeling and living the film (in the caboose and the engine room) — then comes the intellectual, rational, critical considerations.

For me, its the difference between being in a film and reading a book. Watching a good movie: for a short while my life is taken emotionally where I have not been; its different with a book. One is not necessarily better, just delightfully different. I cry easier as I age, and far more often when involved with a film than with a book. Maybe I should see “On Golden Pond” again.

I wonder what other MillersTime readers think of what Elliot writes.

My own response can be read here.

Stepping Back from the Precipice…for the Moment.

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sox

Twenty-four hours ago I asked my wife Ellen to lock up all the sharp knives and put a barrier across the stairs to the third floor.

It was clear to me that the Sox were about to explode, that GM Ben Cherington was about to cast off, minimally, our two top pitchers and one of our top relievers.

For what? A bunch of prospects?

My well being was threatened, and I needed protection from acting impulsively.

This morning I told Ellen she could unlock the knives and take down the barrier to the third floor.

For the moment at least, things didn’t seem so dire.

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Favorite Films from First Half of 2014

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Compiled below is the list of films I saw between Jan. 1, 2014 and July 31, 2014 that I rated from three and a half to five stars.

These categories are somewhat arbitrary, but generally the five and four and a half star films are pretty close, and I enjoyed those tremendously. The four star ones were all good, but I had some (minor) reservations. The three and half star ones were more problematical films but still worth checking out.

If a film did not make it into one of these categories, I did not write a review.

The ones listed below I recommend for your consideration.

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Looking for a Summer Read?

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Many of you know that each year readers of MillersTime succumb to my pleading and endless reminders to send in the titles of books they’ve most enjoyed reading in the past year, not necessarily new books, just ones that have been their favorite reads of the year.

If you are looking for something to read as the summer moves into August, click on the link below, and I’ll bet you can find some good reads.

The Books Most Enjoyed by “MillersTime” Readers in 2013

PS – I’m also taking this opportunity to remind you that I will again seek your favorites come December, 2014. So be warned.

Finally, if you have a particular book you have read recently that you would like to suggest now (and not wait until the end of the year), please put the title and perhaps a one or two sentence reason in the Comment section. You could also send me an email with the title, etc., and I can add it to the Comment section.

“Life Itself” – The Documentary and The Memoir

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Life Itself ****1/2

Often, a movie, particularly a documentary, sends me to the book upon which the film is based.

And usually, almost always, I find the written work better than the film version.

In fact, I don’t think I can name more than a handful of films that I found superior to the written ‘version.’

The current documentary, Life Itself, about the life and ultimately the death of Pulitzer Prize (1975) winning film critic (Chicago Sun-Times) Roger Ebert, is one of the instances in which I’d choose the film over the memoir.

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Summer Read(s)

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If you’re looking for a book or two to add to your summer book bag and travels, and if you enjoy thrillers/mysteries/crime/detective/whodunit stories, Robert Galbraith, who is actually J.K. Rowling, has a new one just out.

Yes. That J.K. Rowling, the Harry Potter lady.

If you missed it, Rowling has turned her pen (computer?) to detective stories, and The Silkworm is the second in a series (reported to number seven). I reviewed her first one, Cuckoo’s Calling, earlier on MillersTime and wrote:

It’s good.

Maybe not as good as an Agatha Christy mystery, but if you’re looking for something along the line of a Steig Larsson book, you’ll probably like it, tho it’s not quite as good as Larsson’s first one, The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo.

The Silkworm is perhaps a bit better than Cuckoo’s Nest, but then when one races through one of these page turners, I’m not sure it’s about good literature, but more about entertainment.

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Why Las Vegas?

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The most frequently asked question of Ellen and myself this wedding weekend: “Why was it happening in Vegas?”

Just as we’ve been clueless about a number of decisions in Beth’s (Elizabeth since ’98) life, we can only surmise.

So, I decided to ask MillersTime readers to use your knowledge of Beth and/or Brandt (as well as your imaginations) to list some possible reasons they chose Las Vegas as the site of their wedding.

To start you off, here are a few possibilities Ellen and I could think might have been in their minds:

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GrandPapa Wants to Know

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Eli arranging1. Grandson Eli starts the Memory game with me. (He likes to go first. And to make up the rules too.)

 

E winning, hands up2. Eli, legitimately, crushes me in the first game.

 

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3. In game two, Eli (barely) loses. Has minor ‘meltdown’ (formerly referred to as a ‘tantrum’).

(OK. The pictures aren’t as good as Ellen takes. But you get the point.)

My question is about winning and losing.

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“The Case Against 8″

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The Case Against 8 ****1/2

We didn’t know much about this documentary when we went to see it last night. We were just looking for a film that we’d enjoy.

When we left the theater, we felt as if we had hit the jackpot.

Not only were we totally absorbed by the almost two hour film, we happened to attend the night the two directors, Ben Cotner and Ryan White, and two of the four plaintiffs, Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, were present and answered audience questions about the film and about themselves.

First, the film.

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