Ai Weiwei Returns to DC

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Ai Weiwei — the prolific Chinese dissident artist — returns to Washington in the sense that his latest creations are once again on display at the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden in DC. (See my 2012 post: Ai Weiwei: Today’s Most Powerful Artist? about one of his earlier exhibits here.)

Since that previous show of his work, I’ve followed this contemporary artist (sculptor, architect, photographer, painter, performer, woodworker, potter, activist, protester…) and continue to be fascinated by his creativity and his ability to express his views about art and society in a way that is immediately understandable to the viewer.

The current exhibit — Ai Weiwi: Trace at Hirshhorn — consists of just two pieces of work, spread over four or so rooms at the museum. The first work is two sets of wallpaper composition titled The Plain Version of the Animal That Looks Like a Llama but is Really an Alpaca. It covers much of the circular wall space on the second floor of the museum. One is produced in a gold colored print, and the second is a black and white version of the same wallpaper. When you first see the wallpaper, especially from a distance, it appear simply to be a traditional wallpaper pattern that repeats itself. As you begin to examine it more closely, you discover that it is something quite different. You realize that it is about “surveillance cameras, handcuffs, and Twitter bird logos, which allude to Ai Weiwei’s tweets challenging authority. Together, the massive works span nearly 700 feet around the Hirshhorn’s Outer Ring galleries.”

The wallpaper is actually background for the major part of the exhibit, Trace, which “features 176 portraits of people around the world whom the artist considers activists, prisoners of conscience, or advocates of free speech. Each of the portraits is made of thousands of plastic LEGO bricks, assembled by hand and laid out on the floor. This piece was originally commissioned in 2014 as a site-specific installation at the former Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary. It was commissioned by FOR-SITE Foundation, and became a collaboration of the National Park Service and the Golden Gate Park Conservancy. It reportedly drew nearly 1 million visitors.”

The individuals portrayed on the floor of the various rooms at the Hirshhorn with the LEGO creations (using 1.2 million individual LEGOS) are generally grouped around regions of the world from where the individuals have lived, worked, and/or been imprisoned. Each room has an easily accessible video display where visitors can learn details about the activism of each individual. Some of the highly pixellated portraits are in black and white, and some in colors — often colors associated with the country from where the activist/dissident lives/lived. Each of the LEGO portraits is based on actual photographs of the dissidents, often their “mug shot.”

Ai Weiwei has said that he wants his “art to be fresh and understandable” by all, including children. This exhibit certainly accomplishes that goal. As you walk through the six or eight sections, you likely recognize a number of the names — Edward Snowden, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandala, Aung San Suu Kyi. But there are many more that I suspect you only vaguely know about or don’t know at all. The list of those he included was inspired by a Amnesty International list of individuals targeted by their governments for their activism.

The impact of these portraits is important: The portraits represent people from all over the world — every continent — and dissidents from countries with both authoritarian and democratic governments. It is clear what Ai Weiwei wants us to understand.

And finally, the scope of the project, in its creation, in its political audaciousness, and in its execution (number of people involved in putting it together and the length of time to do so) along with the process of transportation and installation is simply mind-boggling.

It will remain at the Hirshhorn until Jan. 1, 2018 where you can view it free of charge between 10 AM and 5:30 PM every day except Dec. 25.

“America Has Spoken: The Yankees Are the Worst” – 538

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Well, something that we Sox fans have known from our first scrape with the Evil Empire has now been verified. While you-know-who-might call it fake news or question the source of this information and article (FiveThirtyEight), it is comforting to have ‘verification’ of what some of us have long known.

Check out this article which also includes ‘info’ on which teams are most liked and lots of other useful/useless information:

America Has Spoken: The Yankees Are the Worst (and the nation mostly agrees the Cubs are pretty cool), by Harry Enten, 538, July 20, 2017.

Books Favored by MillersTime Readers – Jan.-July 2017

“A Best Friend Is Someone Who Gives Me a Book I’ve Never Read”- A. Lincoln

Here are all, in one place, the 2017 mid-year favorite books by MillersTime readers. There are 205 titles, 115 fiction and 90 nonfiction. Fifty readers contributed to this wonderful list.

The first eight below ‘arrived’ in the last week or so and were not in earlier posts. They are followed by all the ones I posted earlier.

Enjoy.

Final Additions to the List:

Kathleen Kroos:

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (F).

Setting Free the Kites by Alex George (F).

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson (NF), my summer project…

Charles Tilis:

Giant of the Senate by Al Franken (NF) is likely a “must read” for progressives and a “never read” for conservatives. Senator Franken exposes the seedier side of politics today with a unique combination of wit and self-reflection of which both are needed to remain sane in today’s polarized environment. He does bring to life the rigors of big-league politics with the need for fundraising and impact on families. One thing is clear though—Senator Franken has the chops to aspire to greater office.

Land Wayland:

The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story by Douglas Preston (NF), about the 10 day visit in 2015 to the (non-Mayan) City of the Monkey God by a team of archaeologists, film makers, photographers and writers who traveled to a lonely, lonely, lonely area of Honduras called La Mosquitias, where no human has been seen for about 500 years…a city, indeed an entire civilization of 30,000–100,000, was abandoned due to the arrival of a parasite that causes the lips and nose to develop huge ulcers and eventually causes the person’s face to erode or waste away. The infection is exceedingly difficult to (1) detect and (2) treat and 8 out of 10 team members got it (they all survived) but it will never be out of their system, as it waits for a breakdown in their immune system to finish the job.

Before they walked away, the inhabitants carefully placed their entire civilization’s cache of sacred objects, including a number of sculptures of monkeys, in the main square.  And even though these these items would be worth millions of dollars to tomb-raiders, they were still in-situ 500 years later.  No one had been there.

What they found in 2015 is like all of the best jungle exploration stories of all time—even better. Beautiful quiet rivers surrounded by towering mountains and riotous jungle with bugs and butterflies and dragonflies and frogs never seen before.  Strange noises all night long including the sounds of big animals moving through the camp. They had multiple encounters with 7 foot jaguars and 6 foot deadly aggressive fer-de-lance snakes. It rarely stopped raining. And there were no paths of even the smallest kind and every step had to macheted into submission  There were deep quicksand pits, and thousands of serious big stinging ants waiting on trees to drop off onto your skin, and ticks, ticks, ticks and deadly spiders, spiders, spiders. And the ground was very literally covered with cockroaches at night. You could get lost 15 feet in the jungle from your group. The most important piece of equipment each person carried was their cell phone with a GPS  system that was accurate within one foot  Without it on and working (double checked) you did not dare step 3 inches outside the camp boundaries.

This is a book to read while seated in a chair with its legs in buckets of bug killer, covered with three layers of the finest grade bug netting, every part, every part, every part  of your entire body slathered in DEET, breathing through grade 7 nose filters and wearing swim goggles to keep the deadly no-see-ums out of your eyes, having blood samples drawn every hour to pick up the first signs of kidney or liver failure, and tuned by radio to the priest or rabbi back home who is sending constant prayers up in your behalf because the doctor;s are praying you don’t come back and bring stuff with you that will destroy their hospital’s  plan for dealing with exotic infectious diseases. And no I don’t exaggerate  nearly enough.

Elizabeth Tilis:

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda (F). Your yearly mystery thriller a la Girl on the Train, Gone Girl, etc, but with a twist – the story is written backwards!

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (F). A fun, light and quick read. I also enjoyed the HBO miniseries based on the book that came out this winter.

David P. Stang:

House of Names by Colm Toibin (F).

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (F).

(Please see the Guest Post: Thank You George Saunders & Colm Toibin, wherein David Stang delves into aspects of these two outstanding novels that were not evident to me when I read them.)

Brandt Tilis:

The Cubs Way: The Zen of Building the Best Team in Baseball and Breaking the Curse by Tom Verducci (NF). It’s almost like reading a Moneyball sequel 15 years later after most teams caught up to that line of thinking.  How do the smartest Front Offices stay on the cutting edge of building a winner? As a bonus, we get to see the stories behind the characters that broke the Cubs’ curse (not just Theo Epstein but also Joe Maddon, Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber, etc). You don’t have to be a baseball fan to like this book, but you probably have to have enjoyed the Cubs’ run last year. There is some “Smartest Guys in the Room” BS that goes along with the book when reading it through the prism of some of the Cubs’ struggles this year, but that existed in Moneyball too.

Dixon Butler:

Ike and McCarthy by David A. Nichols (NF). The McCarthy era poisoned American life from 1950 – 1954. This book provides a thorough and quite readable history of Eisenhower’s role in bringing this reign of anticommunist demagoguery to an end. It transformed my view of Eisenhower.

Edan Orgad:

The North Water by Ian McGuire (F) is an incredible book to listen to. I hope they make a movie. Great recommendation (h/t EllnMllr).

 Previously Posted:

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Understanding Others: Tone More Than Policies?

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In the past eight months, I have never heard anybody express regret for voting for Donald Trump. If anything, investigations into the Trump campaign’s connections with Russia have made supporters only more faithful. “I’m loving it—I hope they keep going down the Russia rabbit hole,” Matt Patterson told me, in June. He believes that Democrats are banking on an impeachment instead of doing the hard work of trying to connect with voters. “They didn’t even get rid of their leadership after the election,” he said.

and

We were at a coffee shop, and Patterson wore his goth look: silver jewelry, painted nails. “I’ve never been this emotionally invested in a political leader in my life,” he said. “The more they hate him, the more I want him to succeed. Because what they hate about him is what they hate about me.

— from Peter Hessler’s New Yorker article, Follow the Leader: How residents of a rural area started copying the President.

I suspect some readers of this blog site mirror, to some degree, my difficulty in understanding the continuing appeal of President Trump to those “Outside the Beltway” — the title of this particular category of MillersTime’s posts.

Peter Hessler, the author of the article above, is someone I have read for years. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer who wrote one of the best Peace Corps books/memoirs I’ve ever read, River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze. He followed that up with Oracle Bones, then China’s Lost Cities, and Country Driving: A Chinese Road Trip. He has been a staff writer for the New Yorker since 2000 reporting from China and Egypt. In 2007 he moved to rural south west Colorado.

If the two quotes above have interest for you, check out the article from which they are quoted. Hessler has spent at least eight months listening to people in rural Colorado (and elsewhere?) and currently lives Ridgeway, CO,

Guest Post: “Thank You George Saunders & Colm Toibin”

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(Ed. Note: David Stang, one of my dear friends (with whom I disagree on many issues), has long been interested in the concepts of an afterlife, the spirit, the soul, and the disincarnate, all of which are foreign to me. Nevertheless, we continue to meet and talk and exchange views about many things. Today, this Guest Post is spurred by David’s reading of two recent novels which have received strong reviews, including ones by MillersTime readers.)

The Literary Resurrection of Spirits in George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo and Colm Toibin’s House of Names

by David Stang

 

Introduction:

One powerful dogma of Science for well over a century has been only what is material or measurable with scientific instruments may legitimately be considered real and therefore any notion of spirit, soul, afterlife consciousness or disincarnate beings – or even that is possible for humans to communicate with such entities – is necessarily a hallucination or a delusion most likely arising out of a mental disorder. In place of religion Science offered us Darwinism, followed by Neo-Darwinism, the present day majority view. There are no deities. There was no Creation. There is no afterlife. There is only evolution and adaptations. Our only purpose for being alive is to propagate and perpetuate our species.

In addition to the attacks on anyone who questions Neo-Darwinist theory, there have often been attacks from the Christian Church on those who seek to make connections with spirit realm entities. Mediums, also called necromancers, who communicated with dis-incarnate spirits and other world entities have for centuries been accused by the Church of doing the work of the Devil.

The effect of the Church coupled with attacks from science adversely affected those persons engaged in the Arts who had interest into delving into matters involving deity, soul, spirit and the afterlife. Artists were intimidated from writing plays, novels, film scripts, short stories almost any other kind of fiction which showed sympathy or acceptance of such other worldly phenomena. In time the artists caught on and stopped writing novels, short stories and film scripts about the spirit realm and all of its varied denizens. But in recent years there have been signs that the pendulum was about ready to start swinging in the other direction.

Within the first six months of calendar year 2017 two novels with a heavy duty emphasis on necromancy have been published with little apparent risk that their authors would be subjected to defamation, scorn and other such as punishments. This year George Saunders (author of Lincoln In The Bardo) and Colm Toibin (author of House Of Names) each jumped fearlessly into the spirit realm with both feet. The term Bardo, based upon Buddhist tradition, is best defined as a state or states of being or consciousness following death.

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Baseball Imitates Life, cont.

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Or is it life imitates baseball?

I’m never sure.

A friend (Harry S) sent me a link to the column below by (another) one of my favorite sports’ writers, Doug Glanville. He’s such a human guy.

It’s toward the end of the article that I was once again reminded how much in common there is between baseball and what happens in our lives.

See: What Makes (and Unmakes) an All Star by Doug Glanville, NYTimes.

And as I posted a couple of days ago, we have a winner for Contest #5 of the MillersTime baseball foolishness.

Now, on to the second half of the beisbol season. It’s all going too fast.

1st MillersTime Baseball Contest Winner

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Update July 12, 2017: Congrats to Brent Schultz. See below.

When the MLB All Star game concludes tomorrow night, we’ll have our first winner of the 2017 MillersTime Baseball Contests.

Contest #5 asked you to predict who would win that game. Seventy-three per cent of you said the American League would continue its dominance. Twenty-seven per cent said the NL would triumph this year.

There was a Tie-Breaker question that asked which player would get the most votes in the AL & the NL. Most of you thought Mike Trout and Bryce Harper would be the league leaders. In fact, Harper did lead the NL with 3.6+ million votes. However, no one named Aaron Judge (3.4+ million votes) to lead in the AL. Jose Altuve was second in the AL with 2.9+ million, followed by Mike Trout with 2.5+ million.

So, if the AL wins the All Star game, Brent Schultz will be this year’s Contest #5 winner as he had Harper and AL Runner-Up Altuve . Jesse Maniff and Todd Endo both had the AL and Trout and Harper. Close, but not close enough.

If the NL wins, there’s a tie between eight of you who had the NL and Trout and Harper – none had Altuve – (Nicholas Dent, Land/Dawn Wayland-Wilson, Jerome Green, Annie Orgad, Sam Poland, Steven Begleiter, Nellie Romero, Nicholas Lamanna). In that case, because his submission came in first, Nicholas Dent will win.

Prize: Winner will join me to see a Nats’ game in wonderful seats. If the winner doesn’t live in the DC area, can’t get here, or doesn’t want to come to DC, he can give his prize to someone who can get here, or I can take a kid to a game in the winner’s place.

And, of course, the best prize of all, he will get the rare and valuable MillersTime Winner T-Shirt.

Watch, Listen, and Then Read

In a series of videos and articles, the Washington Post this morning lays out details not previously disclosed about what Russia was up to in the 2016 US elections and how Pres. Obama did and didn’t respond.

While the articles focus primarily on the Obama’s administration’s handling of what was occurring, it also gives the reader background and information about the role of others in Washington and Moscow – the intelligence agencies, candidate Trump, Majority Leader McConnell, President Putin, etc.

No matter whether you are a Democrat (I am) or a Republican, no matter your views of Obama, Trump, Putin, US Intelligence agencies, the Washington Post, or the media, there is information here that we all must know and understand.

Start with the 10:43 video overview by clicking on the link below. Then, if you want to know more of the details of this morning’s Washington Post investigation, continue with the written parts of the article:

“In political terms, Russia’s interference was the crime of the century…” Wash. Post, 6/23/17

Final Edition: MillersTime Readers Favorite Books Mid-Year 2017

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“A Best Friend Is Someone Who Gives Me a Book I’ve Never Read”- A. Lincoln

Here are all, in one place, the 2017 mid-year favorite books by MillersTime readers.

The first ten in this list were not in earlier posts. They are followed by the ones I posted earlier.

Enjoy.

New Additions to the List:

Jane Bradley:

I’ve enjoyed many of the same books already listed by others, including:

The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story by Douglas Preston (NF).

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (NF).

Between Them: Remembering My Parents by Richard Ford (NF). [audiobook]

A Gentleman in Moscow: A Novel by Amor Towles (F). [audiobook]

Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag (F). [audiobook]

Swing Time by Zadie Smith (F).

Moonglow by Michael Chabon (F). [audiobook]

Two biographies that have captivated me are Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow (NF) [audiobook]; and Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt by H.W. Brands (NF), which I’m still reading.

A novelist new to me this year is Rachel Cusk, author of a trilogy about a British writer whom we get to know mostly through her encounters with others.  The first two novels in the trilogy are Outline by Rachel Cusk (F); and Transit by Rachel Cusk (F), and I’m looking forward to the third.

Chris Rothenberger:

This year I have read many of the books written by Lisa See, a Chinese-American author of historical fiction.  She has written numerous books highlighting stories about Chinese characters and culture, and illuminating the strong bonds between women.   Her stories are in depth and fascinating and shine the light on little known topics, and a culture that proves fascinating.  Her research is impeccable, and deep, including travel to China to remote areas to research her stories. She has won numerous awards and is a NY Times Bestselling author.  The books are both engaging and characters well developed; at times the stories are painful and sad, but culturally revealing.

Books I’ve read so far are: Sun Flower and the Secret Fan,   Shanghai Girls, Dreams of Joy, China Dolls by Lisa See (All F).

Killing the Rising Sun by Bill O’Reilly & Martin Dugard (NF). It’s a story every American should read.   Like his other books, it does not disappoint.  The background of the dropping of the Atomic Bomb to end WW2 is riveting, and the sequence of events carefully shared.  I learned volumes about our history, as I have in his other books.

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly (F). It’s the story of 3 women whose lives converge during WW2.  It highlights actual events in US and Germany during the wartime and provides a different perspective about war through the female viewpoint whose lives were impacted by war. Their destinies converged around Ravensbruk, Hilter’s Concentration Camp for women. The story is based on the lives of real people and highlights love, redemption and years of secrets.

Garland Standrod:

The Garden of the Finzi-Continis by Giorgio Bassani (F). A novel about a man’s fascination with the garden of an eccentric Jewish family in Italy just prior to WWII. The novel’s tension results from the knowledge by the reader that the family will end up in a concentration camp. Published some time ago but an Italian classic.

Robert Lowell: Setting the River on Fire by Kay Redfield Jamison (NF). Thus study, although overlong, is a fascinating study of bipolar disease combined with poetic genius, by the author of An Unquiet Mind.

Linda Rothenberg:

I loved The Rent Collector by Camron Wright (F).

Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift (F) was good.

Let There Be Water by (NF) is a good read.

Dave Katten:

I just wrapped up 3 audiobooks I’d been working on all year:

Americanah by Chimananda Ngozi Adichie (F) was another read in my quest to understand/fathom race in America, esp. blackness in America. I actually prefer fiction as the vehicle for that, over non-fiction, since fundamentally I’m looking for stories over data (which is not typical for me). Anyone who reads this should get the audiobook version, just so they can hear the narrator’s delightful Nigerian-American English, as well as the correct pronunciation of Igbo.

I didn’t like Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance (NF) at first and put it on pause for some time. Most people I talked to said the first part was the most interesting, but I was more taken by the middle/final parts. Again, the stories here are more interesting than the data, but Vance does a good job of weaving them together. As a side note, I thought it was interesting that his advisor at Yale law was Amy Chua, she of the Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, who convinced him to write the book. I think I saw a joint interview with them in The Atlantic. However, while I expected to come away with more empathy for rural working class folks, I found the internal contradictions that Vance lays out to be really frustrating, rather than relatable. That is unusual for me.

I picked up The Idiot by Elif Batuman (F) because I heard it was about a college student studying linguistics at an elite private school in the mid-90s, which is *almost* me. It was surreal – I was interested, I was engaged, but the plot didn’t really develop. Nobody wanted anything, everything just happened, for no discernible reason. Then the protagonist’s freshman year was over. There were a few insights on the immigrant experience, but overall, things just “were” or “happened”, but I still wanted to finish. Not typical for me.

Lydia Hill Slaby:

How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barret (NF). I’ve been reading and enjoying this one. Otherwise, it’s been a quiet year in Lake Wobegon.

Chris McCleary:

I strongly recommend folks check out Andrew Mayne (the most recent book of his that I read was Orbital (F), and I gave it 4 of 5 stars. It was a sequel to an earlier novel: Station Breaker (F). He has written a wide variety of books, across genres, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every single one of his books that I’ve read (I think I’ve read his entire bibliography except two so far).  So I’d like to recommend folks check out anything by him.

Jim Kilby:

Bad Blood by John Sanford (F). Murder mystery.

Fatso. Story by and about Art Donovan (NF). Ex Baltimore Colt lineman. “When Men Were Men.”

Uh-Oh: Some Observations From Both Sides of the Refrigerator Door by Robert Fulghum (NF). The guy who learned everything he needed, in kindergarten.

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (F). Life through the eyes of an African intellectual.

The Greatest Stories Never Told by Rick Byer (NF). The real strange true history, about how the world’s events unfolded.

Five Easy Decades by Dennis McDougal (NF). How Jack Nicholson became the world’s biggest movie star.

General Richard Montgomery and the American Revolution: From Redcoat to Rebel by Hal T. Shelton (NF). A book that would only interest me about Gen. Montgomery, a friend of George Washington, killed in the Revolutionary War, and an  ancestor of my mother.

Gabi Beaumont:

Faithful Place (three stars) and The Secret Place (four stars) both by Tanya French and both (NF).

Currently reading Into the Water by Paula Hawkings (F) which I would recommend, but so far it is about 3 stars.

Bina Shah:

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (F).
 

The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison (F).

Tanya Chernov Smith:

I only have one recommendation that isn’t a “how-to-get-your-baby-to-sleep” guide:

The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert (NF). At a time when American politics have many of us considering life off the grid, this true story of a mountain man provides a special brand of comfort. Eustace Conway left his comfortable suburban home at 17 to move into the Appalachian Mountains, where he has since lived off the land. A charismatic and romantic figure, both brilliant and tormented, brave and contradictory, restless and ambitious, Conway has always seen himself as a “Man of Destiny” whose goal is to convince modern Americans to give up their materialistic lifestyles and return with him back to nature.

Kathy Camicia:

Madness, Rack, and Honey by Mary Ruggle (NF).   This was a NYTimes rec for the previous year. The author is a poet and her observations are written in a beautiful style and language.

The Best American Essays 2016  Ed.  by Jonathan Franzen (NF). Not the best year but they are always good; not that many from the New Yorker

Landscapes by John Berger (NF).  My favorite art critic who recently died. A collection of his essays on art, travel and the world.

A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women by Siri Hustvedt (NF). Very interesting essays on art and feminism by this author who is also a novelist and scholar. The second half of the book focuses on neuroscience and perception.

Known and Strange Things by Tegu Cole (NF). This is my favorite book of essays, and one I recommend highly. If you aren’t familiar with the author, it will be worth your while. He writes for the NYTimes Sunday magazine on photography and art. The book includes other topics such as travel, literature, history and politics.

Novels:

Commonwealth by Anne Patchett (F). Good.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (F). Good.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (F). Very good and still creepy.

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff  (F). Very good.

Any Human Heart by William Boyd (F).  Excellent.

The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster (F).  Excellent but not for everyone; post-modern

The Little Red Chairs by Edna O ‘Brien (F).

The Blue Guitar by John Banville (F). Good and always a pleasure to read.

The Secret Chord by Gerald Brooks (F). Very good.

The Making of Zombie Wars by Aleksandar Hemon (F). OK, but the author writes so well that I will read anything from him.

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Ten Movies to Keep in Mind

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More films to keep in mind.

Most of these we saw at an excellent Jewish Film Festival (our first) in Washington several weeks ago.

Since I didn’t keep notes or write mini-reviews shortly after the seeing these films, there are only ratings (one to five stars) and a sentence or two from both Ellen and myself on each one of the ten films in this post. f

The first two below are in theaters in DC now. The following eight are all from the 27th Jewish Film Festival. Hopefully, some will make it to theaters over the next year.

Definitely consider:

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See a Nats’ Game – Free If You Take a Kid or an Elder

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I have tickets available for ten Washington Nationals’ games in July through mid-August, most of which I cannot attend because of  summer commitments. The seats are good ones, Section 127, Row Z, Seats 1 & 2, 20 rows off the field, between the catcher and Nats’ dugout.

So, here’s the deal:

*For each of the games below that have two tickets available, they are free to you if you take a kid (broadly defined) or an older person (broadly defined). Otherwise, your ticket is free but you will have to pay me my cost of $60 for the second one.

*For the two games I think I can attend, your ticket is free.

*Tickets will go first to anyone who has not already gotten tickets from me this year. (Even if you’ve attended a game already, still make a request.)

*Give me two choices of games you are interested in attending so that I can juggle various requests.

Games Available

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Father Knows Best?

                                     (Brandt and Samantha prior to their four day solo.)

Our ‘second’ son-in-law, Brandt, had the pleasure/duty to take care of our fourth grandchild (his first child) for almost four days by himself as our second daughter, his wife, was away for a long deserved break. I asked him to keep careful notes and to write something when and if he and she (Samantha) survived. (Note: Brandt’s own parental unit and his siblings would readily say that child care is not exactly Brandt’s primary strength.)

When the ‘trial’ was over, I received the following two photos from Brandt. The first is in our daughter’s handwriting and so apparently must have been a reminder list for what to feed the young princess.

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Even More Mid-Year Favorite Books (#16-29)

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“A Best Friend Is Someone Who Gives Me a Book I’ve Never Read”- A. Lincoln

Not wanting to wait until December to report what books various MillersTime readers are enjoying so far this year, here is the third posting of mid-year favorites which adds 15 more to the two previous posts (1st: Ellen and My Favorites and 2nd: 15 from MillersTime Contributors)

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“The Greatest Sportswriter There Ever Was”

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Frank Deford died on Sunday at the age 78. For sports fans (not just baseball fans) of my generation, both his writing and his speaking about sports was as good as you could get. His ability to put you at the scene of an event, to explain the importance of a moment or something larger, and his use of language to do so was, for me, mesmerizing.

There have been a number of articles and tributes to him already, and I suspect many  more will be written over the days to come. This one, by Joe Posnanski, tells about the impact Deford had on one of our current best sports writers (in my opinion) and why he believes “Frank was the greatest sportswriter there ever was.”

A Toast to the Best, by Joe Posnanski, May 29 on the death of Frank Deford.

Update 9 PM, 5/30 – For those who want to know more about Deford, see this NPR post: The Best of Frank Deford, According to Frank Deford.

More Mid-Year Favorite Reads (#1-15)

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“A Best Friend Is Someone Who Gives Me a Book I’ve Never Read”- A. Lincoln

Not wanting to wait until December to report what books various MillersTime readers are enjoying so far this year, I asked all those who have contributed over the years to  ‘Favorite Reads’ to send me the titles and a few sentences about what they’ve been reading and enjoying in the first half of 2017.

Here are the 15 results so far. I say “so far” as I hope this post will encourage others of you to send in what’s brought you reading pleasure over the last five or six months. When I get another batch of responses, I’ll post those too.

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