Tom Wolfe was a writer, of both non-fiction (the new journalism) and fiction. I’d say he was, in general, better at the former, but his novel The Bonfire of the Vanities did have some marvelous writing. I particularly liked the description of a certain class of women as "social x-rays."
Work is Crazy Busy: My corporate boss is now on vacation. The process of him getting ready to leave, meant I had to finish a point paper and develop briefing slides on another subject, all while having a two-day meeting to handle at the same time. In theory, things should be slower over the next two weeks – but my government boss is back after being out for a combination of training, vacation, and minor surgery, so I am sure I will need to spend some time catching him up on some things.
It’s a pity that I am addicted to a middle-class lifestyle, which work enables.
Seeing Paul Simon in Oregon: I rushed out of the office on Friday afternoon and headed to IAD. I was off to PDX. Portland is a city I have deeply mixed feelings about. There’s natural beauty in the surroundings, but the city itself is architecturally undistinguished and full of a disturbing mix of smug hipsters and homeless people. On the plus side, it has an excellent rose garden. And Powell’s.
I had a nice long chat with my cousin, visited the Jewish Museum of Oregon, and, yes, got sucked into Powell’s. I escaped for a mere 10 bucks, largely because I have too much of a book backlog as it is. My purchases included Comrade Don Camillo, a book I have been looking for for 20+ years. (I should note that my favorite of Guareschi’s books is a non-series one, The House That Nino Built. But I am a completist. Or obsessive. Or both.)
But the whole reason for the trip was that I decided I really had to see Paul Simon during his final tour and this was the concert date that worked best for my schedule. Yes, it is crazy to fly cross-country for such things, but it’s not like it’s the first time I’ve done such a thing. The concert was at the Moda Center, which is conveniently accessible via light rail. I don’t normally go to shows at big venues, so it was an unusual event for me. But it was definitely worth it. From the opening moments, when he sang "America," I was swept up in his poetry and nostalgia for so many songs over so many years. Here’s a set list (copied from a review on-line because I tried scribbling notes but it was dark in the arena and I got C's in penmanship all through elementary school, so I couldn’t read half of my handwriting):
2.50 Ways to Leave Your Lover
3.The Boy in the Bubble
5.That Was Your Mother
7.Mother and Child Reunion
8.Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard
9.Rene and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After the War
10.Can’t Run But
13.The Obvious Child
14.The Cool, Cool River
15.The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)
16.Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes
17.You Can Call Me Al
20.Still Crazy After All These Years
24.Late in the Evening
25.Questions for the Angels
26.The Sound of Silence
By the way, he did "Feelin’ Groovy," which he said he loathes, to punish himself for forgetting the lyrics to "The Cool, Cool, River." Yeah, it’s a dumb song, but I defy you to cross the 59th Street Bridge without getting it stuck in your head.
It was a great mix of familiar and un, with excellent back-up musicians. Overall, well worth the trip.
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