Saturday, June 03, 2017

Saturday morning round-up: Of betrayal, downed tree limbs and fractured history

BREAKING: Trump still president. the world mourns (and guffaws)

ON "THE KEEPERS" AND BETRAYAL: I have been trying to write about the Netflix docuseries "The Keepers" for the past week. I've written plenty but can't seem to plumb my true feelings on betrayal and the Catholic Church. In 1969, was a Baltimore nun murdered because she threatened to expose a priest and his police buddies for their sexual abuse of students at a Catholic girls school? I don't know the answer, as I've seen only two episodes of "The Keepers" and may not watch the remaining five. I have watched other true crime shows such as "The People vs. O.J., Simpson" and "Amanda Knox." I read hard-boiled detective novels by the score. "Chinatown" is one of my favorite movies. Want to talk about betrayal? "Forget it, Jake, it's Chinatown." The Keepers" has affected me in a strange way. The murder took place in the year I graduated from a Catholic high school. I recognize the nuns and priests and female students from their photos in the school annual. I know how we respected and feared the nuns and priests. I know the heavy hand of the hierarchy that raised me and how it still operated when dogged reporters blew the lid off of the Boston clergy abuse scandals (as seen in "Spotlight"). It could have happened at my school. It didn't, as far as I know. But that's only as far as I know. Forget it, Mike, it's not Chinatown -- it's the Catholic Church.

AFTER THE DELUGE: Note to the City of Cheyenne -- I still have tree limbs out front waiting to be picked up and shredded. The limbs came down in the big May 18-19 snowstorm, which dumped three feet of heavy, wet snow. Three big limbs detached from my elm. With a handsaw, I cut them into shorter lengths and dragged them to my front yard. Now I hear that the city may not get to them for several more weeks. The brush piles will make nice birthing centers for local rabbits. My cat already seeks shelter there and birds land and perch. I may soon turn it into a public work of art. If that happens, you won't be able to touch it due to my artistic license, which never expires.

BOOKS AND HISTORY: If you think our politics are dysfunctional, you should read history. Reading is FUN-damental. Tell that to our president. I am reading "The Proud Tower" by Barbara Tuchman. The subtitle, "A Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890-1914," speaks volumes. The world was a mess before The Great War and possessed all of the elements that led us into the carnage of 1914-1918. Even though the book is packed with names and details and is a bit daunting at times, tension trembles on each page because we know what is coming. The world sets up its own disaster. It is traumatized by the results. We know the antiwar poetry of Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. But what propelled these British gentlemen to march off to battle, go home for shell-shock treatment, and then return, even when they suspected what the end would be? We are combative mammals that, apparently, never learn. If you think that we do, watch "War Machine" on Netflix. This recounts the reasons that we still are in Afghanistan, the "graveyard of empires."

DANCIN' ON THE PLAZA: Last night, Chris and I hung out at Depot Plaza with other music lovers to hear sounds from Soul-X and JJ and Wilito's Final Touch. Great music -- and free. Fun to dance to. We especially liked the Santana set by Final Touch. I moved around while Chris actually danced because she can. It was dark, so I felt secure that the crowd was not watching me but intent on the fine musicians on the lighted stage. This is summer, stuff we eagerly await all fall and winter and spring. Thanks to the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle for sponsoring Soul-X. Thanks for the organizers of the Cheyenne Hispanic Festival for bringing in Final Touch and other bands that will play at the plaza today. And thanks to the beer vendors, who staffed taps for the usual suspects and ones for Modelo, Stone IPA and New Belgium Watermelon/Lime ale.  Variety -- that's the ticket. I still have some beer tickets. See you next Friday.

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