Oh well. It was a blessed summer, with an added month thrown in when May became as warm and sunny as July. But all that was so last season. Fall has landed, with duvet-nights, sooner-sunsets, anti-vaxxers pricking the body politic, and a sense that September is now the New Year for work and life. So, let’s start the fall by going down these beguiling rabbit-holes.
1. End of Summer. French film director Eric Rohmer captures the passing of the seasons exquisitely in Tales of the Four Seasons, a quartet of comedies about beautiful people in languid places, filmed between 1989 and 1998. You can see their previews here.
3. Bad news, good news, great news. A group of science communicators in Australia chronicle stories of human progress to balance that vague sense of collapse you might be feeling.
4. Free digital online puzzles. Here are 70 of them from the Toronto Public Library’s huge collection of digital photos, maps, books and more. They’ve transformed 70 of them into online jigsaw puzzles, from maps of North America, to Humane Society dogs, the 1901 Royal Visit, and an 1856 shipwreck off Toronto Island. No wonder Toronto has the busiest public library system in the world.
5. Encounter with a glass octopus. In the annals of odd animals, nothing beats this nearly transparent species whose only visible features are its optic nerve, eyeballs and digestive tract.
6. LGBT people don’t actually exist. They’re just an ideology according to towns across Poland who are creating Anti-LGBT Ideology Zones. They’re simply formalizing that country’s hard-earned record as one of the most homophobic and anti-semitic in Europe.
7. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be. As Adam Kirsch points out, worshipping the past is a guaranteed way to cut yourself off from the present. “Preferring things that are old, distant, and difficult to those that are immediate and ubiquitous means alienating oneself from one’s community, in some cases from one’s own family. It is at best an inexplicable quirk, at worst a form of antisocial arrogance.” See here.
8. Department of Corrections (opera house division). Last week, I reported that the San Francisco Opera is installing new ‘bariatric seats’ for patrons who weigh up to 300 pounds. I was wrong. As my source, the New York Times, reported in a correction, “they are designed to hold weights of up to 600 pounds.”
9. Charlie Watts lives. The Paris Review published this wonderful interview with the Rolling Stones’ late drummer by his biographer Mike Edison. It seems that drumming greatness, like God, is in the details.
10. Abba regroups, records and is reborn. Not only have they come together after 40 years apart, they’ve got a new album, a new show in a purpose-built London Theatre, and a new name. All wonderful (including the new songs you can hear here), except the name. Their concert is called Abba-tar, which is a bit too close to abattoir for my liking.
Forbidden Words: The phrase we can no longer use in polite company is “gifted programs.”