It’s funny how some things play out. Elon Musk seems to be doing wonders in manufacturing environmentally friendly electric cars. Then there’s this head-scratching headline from that goes contrary to environmentalism: “German court allows Tesla to keep chopping down trees at its factory site.”

Some celebrities are poking fun at themselves by wearing designer sweatshirts that run from $225 — $695. Here is one version:

NYC drivers are well aware of the gangster-like shakedown perpetrated by politicians in the name of public safety regarding vehicles. Washington DC seems even worse, which is not surprising, given it’s the heart of the swamp. The District issued more than $1 billion in fines over a three-year period. AAA has dubbed it “predatory.” That is too mild a term. I saw a form of such tyranny this afternoon. A dweeb in a uniform looked over the little garden in the front corner of the Chase bank at Bay Parkway and 85th Street, went inside, emerged with a manager, and pointed out what he thought was a violation, whereupon the manager gave him a business card and went back to work. The tax collector typed into his handheld device, which spit out a notice, which he taped to the window of the ATM. I gave the garden a gander and saw only a black plastic shopping bag and a few little pieces of paper. Maybe the fine was for something else. Whatever it was it was bull.

Last night’s movie fix was interesting but unsatisfying. Cold War (2018) was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Director Pawel Pawlikowski, who co-wrote the screenplay, and cinematographer Lukasz Zal also received nods. It begins in 1949 and is the story of a Polish music director who discovers a talented singer during auditions he is holding for a show featuring the country’s folks songs. At least a decade older than her, he becomes obsessed and they begin a long relationship that is interrupted several times, the first being when she stands him up, leaving him to defect on his own. They meet in other countries through the years. Although each has had other lovers, their attraction is as strong as ever. If it were up to him, they would remain together. He is easily understood. The female is enigmatic. This is a case where the passion is intense despite an apparent mismatch. Maybe the viewer is to assume the woman is mentally ill, as she is responsible for the demise of a previous beau. Shot in black and white, subtitled (speed reading often required), it is skillfully done, and the characterizations are not off. I simply found it difficult to warm up to the pair, although Tomasz Kat and Joanna Kulig are excellent as the lovers. I thought the latter might be a budding star, but she has been around a while, having amassed 42 credits. Her counterpart has 49. 41,000+ users at IMDb have rated Cold War, forging to a consensus of 7.6 on a scale of ten. I wouldn’t go nearly that high, although I liked the music, especially that of the scenes in Paris. I find the title odd. It certainly doesn’t allude to the relationship and, although politics is a part of the narrative, the communism of Poland as portrayed here tends toward the silly rather than the sinister Russian version. I doubt the average moviegoer would like this flick, then again its rating at IMDb suggests otherwise. Here are the stars in character:

It was a gorgeous day, perfect for selling wares curbside. My thanks to the young man who bought Into Deep Space by Dom Testa and Strangers by Dean Koontz; and to Bill Brown, author of Words and Guitar: A History of Lou Reed’s Music, who took home Numero Zero by Umberto Eco; and to the folks who combined to purchase six books in Russian; and to the woman with the islands accent who bought Essentials of English and Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and into Your Life by Gary John Bishop. She thanked me profusely for helping her do what the title suggests, dropping the F-bomb several times, miffed at those who have screwed her, leaving me in stitches. There was also a first during today’s session. A young woman donated four books, two of which are in Farsi. My thanks, and also to the gentleman who donated books in Russian, and to the woman who donated two paperbacks.

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I was born in Brooklyn in 1950 to Sicilian immigrants. I’ve had more than 50 short stories published world wide. I have ten books in print.