Book Corner 2020.22


Bending Reality by Bernice Kelman

Really Chris?  You read a book mostly dictated by an energy force calling himself “Sir Garrod”?

Well, a lot of it, yes, I did.

Because it was given to me by my neighbor, the author, Bernice, with whom I’ve lately set up a weekly grocery shopping date.

And at least half of it, I skimmed or skipped.  Not of interest.  And yet… the underlying message is nothing wacky, nothing hard to get behind, nothing more simple than… love.

And I like that she – or, she would correct me, he/she/it, Sir Garrod – supports the theory of parallel universes, a favorite of mine.  To wit:
“Consider that this is a central path and that as you move along this path, every time you come to a decision-making point, you are at a crossroad where you create alternate versions of yourself that each explore a different decision.”

There is stuff in physics that suggests that indeed every ‘decision’ made by a quantum particle simultaneously goes both one way and the other, forking off an infinite number of universes.  So you see, scientific basis!

Seriously, it’s just a vision I like… it gives me a calm feeling to envision the dominoes of the universe all hitting each other, my path just being one path of dominoes among infinitely many.  Maybe this is what “belief” is, or spirituality, or somesuch.  Do I “believe” this?  What does “believe” mean?  That word has always rubbed me the wrong way because in practice it always seems to mean, “I aver this is true even without evidence.”  If you had evidence, you wouldn’t say “I believe…” you’d just say the fact that’s true.

All I can say about my parallel universe theory is that it could be true and I like to think about it.  Whatever that makes me – spiritual, wack – is what I am, so whatever.

But this is my own sidetrack, and not the central message of the book.  The central message is what Jesus was trying and failing to get us to do from the beginning: love one another.  Just love.

Gives me a warm rosy glow when I’m tipsy just before bed, but so hard to do in the glare of the morning.



Things to Do When Coronavirus Is No More

  • Make a rez at Trattoria D’Elia
  • Stop in at Pizzeria Verita
  • Visit VPB
  • Chow down at El Cortijo
  • Saunter down Church St
  •  . . .

All right, basically visit every restaurant & bar in creation.

  • Visit Montreal & see Cirque du Soleil every year for my birthday
  • Bike the Chambly Canal
  • Go to Bar Harbor/Acadia every September
  • Go to the Caribbean every March

Restaurants and travel.  Yummmmm…..

1-May 2-May 3-May 4-May 5-May 6-May 7-May 8-May 9-May 10-May 11-May 12-May 13-May
Chittenden Positive test results 419 422 423 425 425 426 431 431 431 432 432 432 432
Vermont Positive test results* 879 886 897 902 907 908 916 919 921 927 926 927 929
Total tests conducted 16,233 16,591 16,954 17,332 17,518 17,867 18,451 19,008 19,527 20,048 20,871 21,262 21,676
Deaths+ 50 51 52 52 52 52 53 53 53 53 53 53 53
People being monitored 20 15 12 12 20 20 23 24 27 24 23 25 27
People who have completed monitoring 833 838 841 841 840 841 841 842 842 845 846 849 849
Hospitalized patients with COVID-19 11 11 10 8 8 6 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
Hospitalized patients under investigation for COVID-19 8 9 9 7 25 20 9 10 16 16 9 13 12

These numbers are spectacular.  New cases & deaths barely even nudge lately.


Book Corner 2020.21



I really enjoyed this. The protagonist is a 60-something-year-old male recently retired and divorced. He spends his time in his char, drinking beers, watching bad TV, eating horribly unhealthy foods by the sackful, and avoiding people. He dislikes his ex-brother-in-law who insists on visiting him, and seriously considers changing his phone number to avoid his daughter. His life turns around when he impulsively adopts a dog. I just really loved this story. ( )

PS  I own it physically and am willing to lend.

Book Corner 2020.20


Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli

This was very tough to get into, and I’d say for the first 25% I was ready to abandon it. It started out very thinky and talky and I was afraid there’d be little plot. I kept giving it another shot because it was for book club. I felt like she felt about reading Kerouac on page 76: “I read like I had to finish an infinite bowl of lukewarm soup.” It was the kind of book that would throw a word at you like “edulcorated.” I’m 50 and I’ve polished off a fair number of books. This was a new one on me.

I’d say about halfway through, the plot got strong. About 75% of the way through, though, I wasn’t at all sure anymore. But at the end, I just said: Wow. It was just plain beautiful and powerful.

Do you want the plot? Couple, 10-year-old boy, and 5-year-old girl drive from NYC to the southwest for the father’s research project on Apaches and the mother’s attempts to help an immigrant locate her two missing undocumented little girls. First half or so is narrated by the mother. The ‘marriage is ending’ – this plot point is part of what gave me intense dislike in the first 25%, but let me not start complaining about that. Second half or so is narrated by the boy. I don’t think I’ll give away any spoilers, but things do happen.

I have to on balance give it only 3 stars because it threatened to lose me so often. ( )


I think X and I are getting along better than ever during quarantine.  I think the basic reason is because we have to.

It used to be I’d spend a lot of the workweek here alone, trying to make things neat and tidy, annoyed at things that he left untidy or that just will never be tidy while he lives here.  I’d also be simultaneously annoyed when he wouldn’t come home till late, not caring about me; and annoyed when he DID come home before late, wrecking my solitude.

Now he’s just always there.  I don’t have to adjust between being alone and not being alone, and I can just plain give up on tidiness.  The dining room is an example.  It’s his home office now, and his computer and stuff are there on one end of the table.  No picture-perfect dining room with a vase of tulips in the center of the table for me.  So I don’t even try.  So I end up less frustrated.

Also he is less tired and more happy.  Less tired from not commuting.  Happier, I don’t know why; being less tired, for one, but also, I think he kind of thrives on uncertain crises just like this one.  He knows he can’t do anything about it, so he just whistles through the shitstorm as best he can.


Dye Season Inaugurated


After shearing I could hardly wait to wash and dye (and spin) Janet.  So I started the very next day!  I didn’t like the saturation levels of my results.  I was using formulas from Greener Shades and being very exact, and I double-double-checked the formulas, so I don’t know why they came out so pale.  What you see above was doctored with additional yellow (on the left) and orange (on the right).  The one on the left has some severe splotches, but I blended up the one on the right a bit better.

I really didn’t like either color at first, even after the doctoring, but they’ve grown on me a little.

You can see in the background that biking season has been inaugurated as well as dyeing season.

No new COVID deaths were reported in Vermont today, and the number hospitalized has dropped to single-digits.


Book Corner 2020.19


Emma by Jane Austen

Write a review of EMMA? Well, as long as I am permitted to write three very dull things indeed, I should have no problem. Why, I am as sure to write three dull things the moment my fingers touch the keyboard, am I right?

Austen’s best story, IMHO. The annotated edition from Harvard is as usual superb. I absolutely love how he makes frequent reference to both the excellent Gwyneth Paltrow 1990s movie version, as well as CLUELESS from the same decade, the latter being for sure my favorite Austen adaptation ever. I know there is a new 2019 movie adaptation as well which I must see for completeness’ sake – somehow, as I don’t stream and they don’t seem to make DVD’s anymore.

Two of my favorite quotes from this work:

“Oh, Miss Woodhouse, for the pleasure of sometimes being alone!”

And, “One half the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other half” – I had that on a t-shirt once. ( )