Friday fanfare: “Iko Iko”

Here’s another piece from the inaugural Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band tour: Dr. John leading the gang in a rendition of the N’awlins standard “Iko Iko.” I don’t know what I love best, the Doctor’s superlative piano work, Garth Hudson’s accordion, Nils Lofgren’s guitar, Clarence Clemons’s sax, or that magnificent headdress that Dr. John wears throughout. Well, okay, I do know what I love most: Rick Danko’s soulful bass solo, magnificently backed up by all three drummers, Levon Helm, Jim Keltner, and Ringo himself. Just bliss.

Star Trek: Picard‘s “Hide and Seek”

We get the entire story of Picard’s childhood trauma, we find out the source of some of Seven’s adult trauma, and the Borg Queen undergoes a sea change. My review of the penultimate episode of Star Trek: Picard‘s sophomore season, “Hide and Seek.”

An excerpt:

Probably the biggest recurring theme this season has been characters making a speech that changes someone’s life and outlook—and those speeches also not convincing me in the slightest. First we had Picard unconvincingly getting Renee not to back out of the Europa mission. Then we had Picard even less convincingly getting Agent Wells to stop being suspicious of aliens invading Earth by telling him that the aliens he encountered as a youth tried to erase his memories without his consent. And now we have Jurati convincing the Borg Queen to be a kinder, gentler assimilator, to only absorb cultures that need help. To be a true collective, one that is cooperative.

One that might even go through a rift in space and ask to join the Federation

Mind you, I love this result. It’s a very Star Trek solution to the Borg, one that opens up all kinds of possibilities. But I just didn’t entirely buy how we got there.

stocking up on antibodies

Wrenn and I are both over 50 and got our first COVID-19 vaccine booster shot in October of 2021, so we decided to get our second booster today. Given that everyone’s decided masks are for wussies, and there’s been a slow uptick in cases since the mask mandates were dropped/lightened, I’m very happy to give myself every possible defense against this……

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Fallen Hero”

Tucker in a Hawai’ian shirt! Fionnula Flanagan as a Vulcan ambassador! And after Enterprise being called a “Warp 5” engine for 20+ episodes, the ship actually hits warp five for the first time. (I guess “Warp 4.5 engine” doesn’t sound as cool.) The Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch observes a “Fallen Hero.”

An excerpt:

It helps that [Jolene] Blalock has an actor of Fionnula Flanagan’s high calibre to play off of. Flanagan gives us in V’Lar a lovely character who is still very much a Vulcan, but not the stiff that far too many guest Vulcans do, nor does she go for the deadpan sass that Leonard Nimoy did so well and that Mark Lenard, Tim Russ, and Blalock all emulated. Instead, she shows a diplomat’s curiosity about other cultures—actually embracing IDIC overtly—and also never loses sight of her mission. She has a certain charm while still maintaining the repression of emotions. It’s a fantastic performance, showing a greater range of personality types among Vulcans that has been rare even on this show that has given us so many of them.

Monday music: “Up on Cripple Creek”

Here’s another great version of a Band song from Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band in 1989: “Up on Cripple Creek,” which has great guitar solos by Nils Lofgren and Joe Walsh, nifty sax riffing by Clarence Clemons, and Billy Preston trying to re-create the jaws-harp-ish sound Garth Hudson did on the original.

Also, I love the fact that the band has three drummers: Levon, Ringo, and Jim Keltner. (When Ringo’s up front, his son Zak Starkey takes over on the third drumkit.)

a lovely fifth anniversary

On Friday, Wrenn and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary by going back to City Island. This time we spent some time wandering up and down City Island Avenue and checking out the little shops. (I even bought a book, a tome filled with Bronx-based ghost stories that should be useful stuff to mine for the Bram Gold Adventures.) City island is a lovely little New England-style fishing village sitting off the east coast of the Bronx.

Then we had an amazeballs dinner at the Black Whale. I’ve been going to the Black Whale since I was a kid. It’s a charming little place decorated like an antiques shop, with little tchotchkes all over the place. When I was a kid, before my mother developed a sensitivity to seafood that curtailed her dining options on City Island, we used to go out to dinner there a lot, and we would often go to the Black Whale for dessert. (I would almost always have a root beer float.)

The outside of the Black Whale (picture snurched from Google Images)

However, they are also a full-on restaurant with very yummy food. We ate in the courtyard out back and had an absolutely magnificent meal. It was lovely and yummy and the perfect way to celebrate our anniversary. (Also, how the hell has it been five years? On the other hand, has it really only been five years? Seems like forever, at least partly because the last two years have been so awful.)

The courtyard behind the restaurant, where we actually ate. (Picture snurched from Google Images.)
A black whale compass — very fitting, no? It was next to our table….
They gave us garlic bread! It was yummy!
I had a glass of Montelpulciano.
Our appetizers included mussels for Wrenn and fried calamari for me, though we each partook of the other’s….
Our entrees: Wrenn had ravioli stuffed with mushrooms and feta cheese, in a cheesy sauce, and I had herb-crusted cod that melted in my mouth.
Wrenn’s favorite thing at the Black Whale is their hot chocolate, which is overwhelmingly fabulous.
Our desserts: Wrenn had creme brulee, I had a hot fudge sundae and my inevitable root beer float.
My lovely wife.
Me, happy. (Picture by Wrenn.)

Happy anniversary to us!

talkin’ physical activity and writing on Russ’s Rockin’ Rollercoaster

If you missed it last Wednesday, fear not! The latest episode of Russ’s Rockin’ Rollercoaster has been archived on the Tube of You!

Host Russ Colchamiro has me (martial arts), Teel James Glenn (stunt work and stage combat), and Mary Fan (circus performing on silks) talking about how these very physical activities affect our writing and our lives.

Check it out!

Friday fanfare: happy 5th anniversary to me & Wrenn!

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the day Wrenn and I got married. One of the many billions of fond memories I have of our relationship — which goes back to 2009 — is seeing Big Bad Voodoo Daddy at BB King’s in Times Square in 2018. To our joy, they played first her favorite song of theirs, followed immediately by my favorite song of theirs. And here they are….

Happy anniversary, love!