Celebrity Death Watch: Thomas Foley was once Speaker of the House. Ike Skelton was an ordinary Congresscritter. Marcia Wallace was a television actress. Ovadia Yosef was the Sephardic chief rabbi if Israel. Tom Clancy wrote thrillers. Marcella Hazan’s books thrilled those who like Italian cooking. Lou Reed walked on the wild side (musically, at least. I can’t speak for his personal life.)
The two celebrity deaths I particularly want to highlight are Dov Noy and Robert Barnard. The former was the best known folklorist in Israel, and more or less the Jewish equivalent of Stith Thompson. (He actually studied under Thompson at Indiana University. I didn’t know that until I looked up his bio in Encyclopedia Judaica.) He wrote a large number of books, some of which are available in English.
Robert Barnard was one of my favorite "cozy" mystery writers and a winner of the Diamond Dagger from the (British) Crime Writers’ Association. He was at his best in his non-series works, in my opinion, and I never completely warmed up to the bizarreness of the Charlie Peace novels. I particularly recommend his short story, "My Last Girlfriend," but it helps to have read a particular (obvious) Robert Browning poem.
Non-human Deaths: I am not an opera person, but I am saddened by the demise of the New York City Opera. On an entirely different note, I saw that The Proud Bird is closing. That restaurant was the site of many a retirement party and various other assorted meal-related events when I lived in Los Angeles. Eras end, alas.
Baseball Post-Season: Ah, how I love sitting at home watching the Red Sox in the World Series. Just like the Yankees. Seriously, it was a slightly bizarre series (obstruction? And, yeah, I realize it was a legitimate call, but how often do you see that?) Thanks to David Ortiz and Koji Uehara (among others), my boys won.
Events I Shouldn’t Go To: I had an Oktoberfest happy hour to go to early in the month. I have no issues with the beer or the conversation, but it was very loud and crowded and not really my scene. I believe this is further proof that I am getting old.
Anchorage Mileage Run: I flew all the way to Anchorage, had a drink with a friend at the airport, and flew back. This is crazy, but it helped towards status and the fare was good. The only part that was actually unpleasant was the overnight leg from ANC to SEA. The plane was completely full, the guy in the middle seat had a bad case of Giant Invisible Penis Syndrome (i.e. he spread his legs wide enough to take up a third of my aisle seat), and there was an extraordinarily loud screaming lap infant immediately behind me, who coupled the volume with kicking my seat. Of course, that is also not a long enough flight to get a decent amount of sleep, even under optimal conditions.
Assorted Storytelling: I was just audience, but Jane Dorfman and Cricket Parmalee did a fine job of telling middle eastern stories at Tales in the Village. As for things I was actually telling at, we had a swap focused on European stories at the South Bowie library. For that, I told the Grimm story, "Clever Greta." Finally, we had our annual Halloween concert, which I organized and at which I told an urban legend.
Sister Act: I went to see Sister Act at the Kennedy Center on Wednesday night. It was reasonably amusing, albeit predictable. The best thing was the performance of Florrie Bagel as Sister Mary Patrick. The worst thing was the two women sitting behind me who were, apparently, unaware that a theatre is not the same as one’s own living room. The music was better than I expected. (To be fair, I should have expected better, since Alan Mencken did write the music for Little Shop of Horrors, which I like. ) The choreography was, alas, unimpressive. All in all, it was worth seeing with a discounted ticket. Perhaps a B+ grade.