Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Leavetakings, Part II

In some ways, I'm still having trouble believing that I'm writing such a similar essay just a few months after writing about my mother's death.

Mom had been kind of frail for a long time, was diagnosed with terminal cancer February 2016 and died in late July 2016. During those months, I drove up from Pittsburgh five times to visit her. Would also visit my Dad (they were long divorced but friendly and he lived nearby). He was a little low about my mother's illness and had some minor memory lapses, but still lived on his own and hung out at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where he'd worked for many years, as often as he could. Yes, he had a persistent cough but he had some tests and they kept telling him not cancer, which was great news. We spent a few hours together in mid-February just after Boskone, chatting and looking at some old photos.

So as older people often do, he wound up briefly in and out of the hospital a few times. We finally understood there was really nothing that could be done for him. He went to stay in my mother's old apartment (off the back of my brother and sister-in-law's house), where they took care of him. But it didn't sound immediately bad, and we thought he had months left. As sometimes happens with elderly people, even Energizer bunnies (as my other sister-in-law called him), things can go terribly wrong terribly fast. My brother messaged me on a Sunday morning to come up right away. I made the drive in 11 hours and found Dad asleep. I did get to talk to him very briefly Monday morning (and heard one last Tuna-ism "Beggers can't be choosers"), but later that day he slipped into a comatose state. He died early the following Saturday morning. He had amazing care from my brother and sister-in-law and Robin and Melissa and the Worcester Jewish Home Hospice. His body just quit after an interesting and active 87 years.

Other than his brother who's 90, Dad had lived longer that any of his family for at least 4 generations. In many ways he had characteristics of an SF fan - book collector (mostly mysteries but I found a copy of V in his library and he also had the first legit edition of Lord of the Rings published in the US), non-standard dresser (wore the same pair of casual shoes for over 40 years, eschewed shoe laces) and had over 200 t-shirts from various college events. He and Mom were married for 31 years, divorced for 31 years and died 8 months apart. I'd hoped he would die like Dave Kyle, in his 90s after attending one last party. But I'm glad he was playing cards with friends up until about a week ago and he died at home.

Dad, AKA Tuna, was a huge fixture at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The whole community really reached out. Especially on Facebook, people posted pictures and told funny stories. You can check his Facebook page (he last posted there 12 days before his death) - Tuna Trask, or check the support page some students set up for him - Bill "Tuna" Trask - Make him smile! Some students also organized a card signing which were delivered to the house and the family really appreciated all of these things. Over 200 hundred WPI students came to his funeral (which was on April Fool's Day--I suspect he would have been amused by that); the church was SRO. Dad's WPI obituary, and the newspaper obituary I wrote for him.

The best Tuna-ism now: "You only live once and you ain't coming back so you may as well live with all the gusto you have!" And he did.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Remember When 45 Said...

I did not write this, but I completely agree with it. We must keep track.

Remember when 45 said...

  • ...he was going to donate his salary? Well he just accepted his second paycheck
  • ...Mexico was going to pay for the wall? He has asked Congress to appropriate the $25 billion of taxpayer money to cover costs
  • ...he was going to divest from his businesses? Changed his mind
  • ...he was going to release his tax returns? Changed his mind
  • ...he wasn't going to go on vacation or play golf? 5 of the last 7 weekends he went on vacation and played golf, costing taxpayers $11.1 million
  • ...he was going to use American steel to build these dangerous pipelines? Russian steel arrived last week for the Keystone Pipeline XL
  • ...he said would defeat ISIS in 30 days? He still doesn't even have a plan
  • ...he said he was going to appropriate money to HBCUs? He lied to get a photo-op
  • ...he was going to drain the swamp of Washington insiders? His cabinet is filled with lobbyists, oil and Wall Street executives
  • ...he wasn't going to cut social security and Medicare? The Republican bill does just this
  • ...he said that nobody on his campaign has any communications with Russian govt? 7 of his people have now admitted they spoke and/or met with Russian officials, AFTER they lied and got caught
  • ...he said that the Obamacare replacement would cover more people at lower cost? The AHCA that the GOP and 45 are now pushing; they now admit will cover fewer people at a higher cost

Share so everyone can remember what a liar this so-called president (45) truly is. If you agree, please copy and paste this to your timeline or at least link to it.


Sunday, February 26, 2017

My 2017 Oscar Predictions

I'm running very late with this. I have seen most of the nominated movies (except for Hacksaw Ridge and Hell or High Water). I liked many movies I saw this year, but I didn't have the same "This is a classic!" response the way I did when I saw Spotlight last year.

So, quickly:

Film

Will win: LaLaLand
Should win: Moonlight
Winner:

My favorite movie of last year was Arrival, but it may have flown over the heads of many Oscar voters as it's intellectual science fiction. It's a brilliant piece of work, but the nominators also failed to even nominate Amy Adams. LaLaLand was pleasant but not great. Moonlight is an amazingly-good movie that I found quite moving and it just took a bunch of Independent Spirit Awards. I loved Hidden Figures but it may be a bit "movie of the week" to be an Oscar winner. Lion had great photography and a couple of great kid actors. Liked Fences very much. Manchester by the Sea has its moments but also wound up as a very overrated flick. In the "damaged men" trope for this year, Moonlight was the best; it was the movie that MBTS really wanted to be.

Leading Actor

Will win: Casey Affleck
Should win: Viggo Mortensen
Winner:

Viggo was brilliant in Captain Fantastic, and the casting of his kids was outstanding. Casey was good but not quite great. Denzel could also possibly pull this one out as he was very good and didn't get a Best Director nomination for Fences

Leading Actress

Will win: Emma Stone
Should win: Natalie Portman
Winner:
I've loved Emma Stone in almost everything she's done, but feel LaLaLand is quite overrated. Natalie Portman was perfect in Jackie. I did not see Elle.

Supporting Actor

Will win: Mahershala Ali
Should win: Mahershala Ali
Winner:
Ali was brilliant, but Lucas and Dev were also extreme good (didn't see Hell or Nocturnal)

Supporting Actress

Will win: Viola Davis
Should win: Viola Davis
Winner:
The women were great. I wouldn't be surprised if Naomie Harris won.

I don't have time to complete this today. Will be out most of the rest of today. But here's the rest of the list:



ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

Kubo and the Two Strings

Moana

My Life as a Zucchini

The Red Turtle

Zootopia

=============================

CINEMATOGRAPHY

Arrival

La La Land

Lion

Moonlight

Silence

=============================

COSTUME DESIGN

Allied

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Florence Foster Jenkins

Jackie

La La Land

=============================

DIRECTING

Arrival

Hacksaw Ridge

La La Land

Manchester by the Sea

Moonlight

=============================

DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE)

Fire at Sea

I Am Not Your Negro

Life, Animated

O.J.: Made in America

13th

=============================

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)

Extremis

4.1 Miles

Joe’s Violin

Watani: My Homeland

The White Helmets

=============================

FILM EDITING

Arrival

Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

La La Land

Moonlight

=============================

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Land of Mine

A Man Called Ove

The Salesman

Tanna

Toni Erdmann

=============================

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

A Man Called Ove

Star Trek Beyond

Suicide Squad

=============================

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)

Jackie

La La Land

Lion

Moonlight

Passengers

=============================

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)

"Audition (The Fools Who Dream)" from La La Land

Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

"Can’t Stop The Feeling" from Trolls

Music and Lyric by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin and Karl Johan Schuster

"City Of Stars" from La La Land

Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

"The Empty Chair" from Jim: The James Foley Story

Music and Lyric by J. Ralph and Sting

"How Far I’ll Go" from Moana

Music and Lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda

=============================

PRODUCTION DESIGN

Arrival

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Hail, Caesar!

La La Land

Passengers

=============================

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)

Blind Vaysha

Borrowed Time

Pear Cider and Cigarettes

Pearl

Piper

=============================

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)

Ennemis Intérieurs

La Femme et le TGV

Silent Nights

Sing

Timecode

=============================

SOUND EDITING

Arrival

Deepwater Horizon

Hacksaw Ridge

La La Land

Sully

=============================

SOUND MIXING

Arrival

Hacksaw Ridge

La La Land

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

=============================

VISUAL EFFECTS

Deepwater Horizon

Doctor Strange

The Jungle Book

Kubo and the Two Strings

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

=============================

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)

Arrival

Fences

Hidden Figures

Lion

Moonlight

=============================

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)

Hell or High Water

La La Land

The Lobster

Manchester by the Sea

20th Century Women