I’m not in the mood to write this post. The weather has been gross for days on end. Monday is starting off with a whole bunch of stuff at work that I don’t want to deal with and shouldn’t be my job except that we can’t hire anyone to actually do this job so it’s mine for the moment. It’s probably the perfect time to remind myself that there are better things in the world. The first couple are more contemplative than joyful, but I think they fit in what I’m trying to do here.
- As I mentioned in my New Music Friday post last week, the woman who has been the worship leader at my church passed away last week. There will be an actual viewing and a homegoing service for her next week, but our Sunday service this week was in honor of her. My church does not have an actual building. We rent space from other places, usually in Baltimore City Schools. Once COVID hit and the schools closed that obviously wasn’t possible, so we’ve been renting space at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. Between about Easter and mid-October we’ve rented space in their Pavilion the past few years. When the weather is nice you can’t beat meeting there with a view of the harbor. This weekend wasn’t nice. We’re still a few weeks away from our contract for the cold winter months moving back into Federal Hill Prep after many years elsewhere. So that is to say even though the weather was drizzly, windy, and chilly we still had to meet outside. Usually on those sorts of days the number of people attending in person drops drastically with a lot of people opting to view online from home. I’m 100% guilty of this. Despite the weather people showed up to celebrate Paula. The pavilion was fuller than it is on most Sundays, even the really nice ones. It was definitely the only reason I dragged myself out to church in person. I will never understand why someone with such a beautiful spirit and who dedicated her life to lifting other people up was taken so young while there are plenty of awful people just out there sowing division and hatred who live to a ripe old age. All I know is that Paula was apparently at peace with it, saying “all shall be well” to the very end. And all I can say is that it’s far better to spend your life in such a way that people are going to come out to sit in terrible weather conditions brought on by the remnants of a hurricane to celebrate the light you were in the world.
- Ed Yong’s writing about COVID has been a lifeline for me throughout this pandemic. He rightly won a Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism for his work. He’s done a lot of long form writing and gone in deep with people who are being unequally affected by the pandemic from health care workers, to immunocompromised people, to now people suffering from long COVID. His writing has made me feel seen at so many times where it felt like no one cared. I have so many of his stories saved to reread. He has expressed on Twitter how much of a mental toll doing the research and writing these stories has taken. This week he announced that he is taking a 6 month sabbatical to refresh and hopefully avoid burnout so that he can continue his work, something he recognizes is a real privilege to do. I am very much going to miss his writing, but I wish him the best and thank him for being a voice to people society wants to sweep aside because it’s easier, and his call for the United States to do better. His final article in The Atlantic this past week “The Pandemic’s Legacy is Already Clear” is a great encapsulation of all the work he’s done over the past three years.
- On my walk the other day I was stopped at an intersection waiting to cross the street, and there was a woman diagonally across from me also waiting and while doing so was really getting down to whatever she was listening to on her headphones. It amused me.
- We got dinner from Amicci’s, a restaurant in Baltimore’s Little Italy, on Thursday. Whenever we do that it also means that I get dessert from Vacarro’s, which is a delicious Italian pastry shop. I always get their chocolate vanilla Napolean. It was delicious as always.
- Back when the tv show Community was on they were often on the bubble of getting renewed. At some point in the one the later seasons a hashtag for #sixseasonsandamovie sprung up to get NBC to renew them. I don’t remember all the details about what seasons everything went down, but I know that against all odds with a final sixth season pickup by Yahoo! tv, I think. they made it to the six seasons part of that hashtag. Peacock announced this week that they would be fulfilling the movie part of it. I loved Community when it was first on. It did get not so great in some of the latter seasons. I’m honestly not sure how well it would hold up these days, so I have never rewatched it. I do appreciate that this random hashtag has come to fruition, and I probably will subscribe to Peacock for a month to watch it whenever it comes out.
- I discovered this week that the first two seasons of the Great British Baking Show never aired in the United States and that they are now currently streaming on the Roku Channel along with the remainder of the BBC version of the show with Mary Berry, Mel, and Sue. The first season is kind of crazy in that they literally move around the UK each episode and 2 people are eliminated each week. I guess that’s why they bake in a tent. They used to have to move the set, and then since it was already established they kept it even once they stayed put in one location. I miss Mel and Sue a lot. I can’t stand Matt as a host. I miss when the show was less schticky than it is now and the challenges were more about the baking than people being able to create elaborate works out of baked goods. I do think it was the right call to get rid of the history segments though and just focus on the bakers. If I was smart I would be saving these seasons to fill the GBBS void after the season that is currently airing is over, but apparently I am not smart.
- My friend and I went to see Our Town at Baltimore Center Stage this past weekend. We used to have season tickets before the pandemic, and had not renewed them since then. I had never seen Our Town before and it felt like a big hole in my theatre going life, so I asked if she wanted to go to that one show with me. I have nothing to compare it to, but it was an interesting production with the set and costumes all contemporary Baltimore life with a largely Black cast even though the setting is still Grover’s Corner, New Hampshire at the beginning of the 1900s. An interesting juxtaposition and I think something that speaks to commonality of human existence that I think is the whole point of the play. I also appreciated that Center Stage was still requiring people to mask. I was going to wear mine regardless, but it was nice that the entire audience was masked and not just me because masks work best when we’re all doing it.
- Rolling Stone recently did an article on the Top 100 TV Shows of all Time where they polled a bunch of critics and asked them to provide their to 50 and then calculated the responses. Apparently they got one very unusual ballot response, which is just a real joy to read.
- The Netflix is a Joke Twitter account had a robot watch Cobra Kai and then write an episode of the show. This couple minute animated short version of an episode is both utterly ridiculous and entirely accurate.
And now for your musical delights:
- I honestly don’t think I need to include the Lizzo/Library of Congress flute story because I’m pretty sure everyone in the world has seen it, but it made me and a lot of people happy this week so it must be mentioned.
- I spent some time this weekend livestreaming the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival. I takes place in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. I have friends that live in San Francisco. I should totally go visit them one year and go to this festival. For now, it’s nice that you can stream it for free. I watched Joy Oladakun, Allison Russell, Lucius, and Marcus Mumford. All of them were great and collaborated with other artists at the festival, which is one of my favorite things that happens at the Newport Folk Festival, so I was happy to see it happening here too.