RIP Foo Fighters’ drummer Taylor Hawkins, only 50. He joined the group after the release of its first album in 1997, leaving Alanis Morissette’s touring band. He has done nine albums with the Foos, and three under Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders. He has also done a disc that will be released posthumously, working with Jane’s Addiction members Dave Navarro and Chris Chaney, on which he does lead vocals as well as the drumming. In his early days he did an album each with two bands. In 2016 he did a solo EP, Kota. He is the father of two. It seems he suffered a heart attack. What a shame. Sometimes life is brutal even outside war zones.
Headline from nypost.com: “Harvard cancels a black academic who debunked woke orthodoxy.” Two-year suspension, access to campus blocked. What did him in were allegations of unwelcome conduct by four women, and another about questionable language by one he fired.
Also from NYP: “Russian colonel dies after being run over by own troops, officials say.” It may have been deliberate.
I fear China is dangerous. It is operating totalitarian capitalism, creating wealth that has lifted 800 million people out of poverty. It has money to burn and seems bent on misdeeds. Here’s a quote from an NYP article that illustrates its success: “Now, the private sector ‘accounts for 87 percent of urban employment in China, compared with 18 percent in 1995.’”
Friday night’s movie fix, courtesy of Netflix by mail, was interesting if not satisfying. The Card Counter (2021) is the story of a man who has just completed an eight-plus year stretch at Leavenworth. Through flashbacks, it is revealed that he was involved in the torture of terrorists. He made good use of his time in prison, learning his trade, keeping a journal. His goals are modest as he travels from venue to venue, motel to motel, accumulating more than enough to live comfortably. His life becomes complicated when a young man recognizes him from a newspaper photo, and a woman offers backing for larger stakes. Oscar Isaac low-keys it as the protagonist, as do Tye Sheridan and Tiffany Haddish in support. Willem Dafoe is the villain who trained men in the art of torture. I’ve always enjoyed flicks whose focus is gambling, but this one deviates from that to the larger issue. The gambler tries to prevent the young man from exacting vengeance against Dafoe’s character, deemed responsible for the suicide of the kid’s father. Written and directed by Paul Schrader, the narrative has similarities to his most famous screenplay, Taxi Driver (1976). The violence, however, occurs almost exclusively off-screen. As has often been the case with my viewing of Schrader’s work, something’s missing. Still, it’s a film to be proud of. 23,000+ users at IMDb have rated The Card Counter (2021), forging to a consensus of 6.3 on a scale of ten. It runs less than two hours. The pace is slow, the tone serious, a welcome change from the slam-bang that characterizes current cinema. Here’s a publicity still of Haddish, Isaac & Sheridan:
It was sprinkling as I walked to the car, so I headed home. While driving I noticed small patches of blue in the sky, so I decided to set up shop at the viaduct on Avenue Y, a spot that has not served me well despite its proximity to three large stores. I only had two customers, but each bought in bulk. My thanks to the elderly gentleman who purchased a large, beautifully illustrated kids book and four CDs, all in Russian; and to the young man who took home three books in Russian and a huge Chekhov bio in English.
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