Friday, March 27, 2020

Report from Quarantine: Week 1

Since (and because) I returned from Africa via Jo'burg and Heathrow, my wife and I have been in self-quarantine.  Here is my self-absorbed, self-quarantine report, week 1.

What I'm Reading

Moshin Hamid, Exit West (2017) (Amazon).  Hamid is best known for his 2007 novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Amazon), basis of the 2012 film.  This book offers an intimate character study of a couple who flees civil war in an anonymous homeland, as they experience displacement amid western cultures. I care for neither romances nor narrative demagoguery, but this book, colored with a shade of magic realism, is more complex than the former and more crafty than the latter. Thoroughly compelling recommendation from Dean Peltz-Steele.
Charles Serio, The Legend of the Blue Cloud (2019) (Amazon).  Shout out to my uncle, who authored this book.  London based, Charles Serio is an accomplished playwright and communication consultant.  His debut novel was the quasi-autobiographical The Lies I've Told (Amazon).  In this book, he fully embraces fiction, spinning the yarn of young adults in the American West who must combat an evil force that seeks to unleash itself on our earthly realm. The book might best be billed as a YA thriller, though its portrayal of the antagonist has a mature edge. Better than I could write, it's sometimes rough around the edges, but I was engaged to the end to find out what would happen to my heroes.
James D. Zirin, Plaintiff in Chief: A Portrait of Donald Trump in 3,500 Lawsuits (2019) (Amazon).  I started planning my Trump Litigation Seminar for fall 2020 before I knew this book was coming out.  My goal was to use Trump case stories as a vehicle to teach tort law and litigation skills.  Now I plan to assign this book, too, which adds a rich policy dimension to the subject.  What Zirin illustrates is frightening:  You be the judge of the President; what I find frightening is the sorry state of our justice system, for its vulnerability to exploitation by the ruthless.
Book of Judges (Bible Study Tools).  In my on-again-off-again flight from Africa, I admit, I lost the thread of my church's yearlong Bible-reading study.  But let's be honest, who hasn't lost the thread in Numbers?  I was back in the saddle for Joshua, and now, in Judges, Deborah has summoned Barak to the Palm.  No spoilers!

What I'm Watching

Toy Story 4 (2019) (IMDb).  It would have been hard to top Toy Story 3, and 4 does not.  That said, 4 is a well worthwhile frolic and welcome opportunity to see what became of our beloved characters after Andy.  Key and Peele are delightful additions to the cast as Ducky and Bunny, and Keanu Reeves is downright brilliant as Duke Caboom.  Yes, we Can-ada!
Star Trek: Picard s1 (2020) (CBS trailer, IMDb).  This worthy new entry in the history of the franchise shows Star Trek to be in good hands at CBS.  Patrick Stewart said he would not appear again as Jean-Luc Picard after Nemesis.  But even he could not resist the siren call of the pen of Akiva Goldsman and Michael Chabon, whose writing is inspired.  Make it so.

Avenue 5 s1 (2020) (HBO trailer, IMDb).  Not every joke lands, but those that do more than make up the difference.  Hugh Laurie is characteristically fabulous.  And I adore Nikki Amuka-Bird, who, as Rav Mulcair, steals every short scene she's in.  Fly safe, fly true.

Letterkenny s6 (2018) (IMDb).  I had tickets to the live show in Portland, Maine, in March: postponed indefinitely for coronavirus.  So I slowed my viewing to savor seasons 6 and 7.  Pitter-patter.

What I'm Eating

Crepelicious, Barrington, RI, USA.  A scrumptious ham, egg, and cheese crepe like this one could be yours for curbside pickup from locally owned Crepelicious.  Please, if you are in a position to do so, support your local restaurants and retail!
Whole Foods Market.  Guilty as charged.  In my defense, we're not breaking quarantine to go to the grocery store, which seems to me the weak link in the whole flatten-the-curve effort.

What I'm Drinking

Jamestown Coffee (Facebook).  Made in Ghana, fruit of my recent travels.  Smooth and tasty.
Highclere Castle Gin.  You watched the TV show and the movie; now try the gin.  A smooth London dry with a hint of lavender, it's made with botanicals from Highclere Garden and the imprimatur of real-life Lord and Lady Carnarvon.

What I'm Hoarding

We just received an aid package from my sister- and brother-in-law in Atlanta, where, apparently, this stuff grows on trees.  Before you get any ideas: My house is protected by Smith & Wesson.

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