I do feel that this isolation thing is a good opportunity to explore new experiences.
Today I decided I would try doing a load of laundry. I found an instruction video on YouTube. I’d start with something simple – maybe our bed sheets and those dark hiking socks I wear a lot. Bleach or no bleach ? I’m sure there’s no difference really. A cup of bleach will probably help kill viruses.
Much as I’d love this blog to be all about me it shouldn’t be. Send me your photos and tell me how you’re killing time. I need content.
I went golfing with three of my good friends today at Undermountain Golf Club. It’s a no pressure family owned nine hole course that can be played as eighteen. It’s off route 22 between Hillsdale and Millerton, and, as you may have guessed from the name, it’s under a mountain. Not a very big mountain, but there are some beautiful hikes up there that start close by the golf course. It’s part of the Taconic range. There were more people there hiking today than I’d seen before.
So my golf buddies. Trey is an ex Marine; Tim is an ex British army officer; Stephen was a troop commander in the Brownies and I was a captain in a brass band. Who would you want in a fight?
We four golfers greeted one another with distant blown kisses, despite a deep yearning to bro-hug.
It was a spectacular day on the course. There was only one other foursome behind us the whole afternoon. In order to maintain some semblance social distancing my group forced me to play off the ladies tees.
One of the only other four players behind did almost take off Steven’s head with an errant drive. Steven is the kind of person who would get killed by a golf ball during a pandemic. The offending golfer , did get drinks for us as an apology (kinda). He claimed he yelled fore. He must be hoarse. We didn’t hear him.
Tim squeaked out a 13 skin win in our match. We had a blast today. We had glorious weather and the course to ourselves. We’re going out again tomorrow.
None of today’s recommendations would pass the Shelley Smell Test. You’ll not feel like singing in the rain after watching, reading or listening to any of the following. A pretty dark list but all great.
My good friend Brienne Bannister suggested the Root of evil podcast as a binger. On one surface this non-fiction series has a retired L.A detective proving that his father was the Black Dahlia killer. He proves it difinitively. That would usually be enough plot for any podcast but it’s just one strand. There’s a lot fucked up with the featured Hodel family.
The Black Dahlia is one of the most written about murders in American culture. There have been multiple fictional and non-fiction versions since the killing in 1947.
James Ellroy’s novel The Black Dahlia is the first of his L.A. Noir Quartet. The four books are loosely linked, with one book’s secondary characters often taking the lead roles in another of his novels. His noirs could be described as factional – they blend his version of historical figures and events into fiction. He’s my favorite writer.
The Quartet novels in order are : The Black Dahlia; The Big Nowhere; L.A. Confidential and White Jazz. There’s no one else writes smart hard boiled mysteries like Ellroy.
I’ve gone to a number of his readings . He is 6’ 3” bald and scary but always a gentleman when he signed my books. One of his lead characters hails from Galway so I guess he likes the Irish (but really, who doesn’t). Ellroy’s mother was found murdered in a ditch when he was a young teen. There’s little doubt that helped set the tone of his writing.
John Gregory Dunne also wrote an excellent fictionalized version of the Black Dahlia story. His novel True Confessions approaches the story from the viewpoint of two Irish Catholic brothers, one a priest , the other a bent cop. It’s a emigrant Irish mother’s dream team. This fictionalized version is a complex morality tale, pitting the hypocrisy of the Catholic church against the corruption of the L.A. police force.
True Confessions was adapted into an excellent 1940s set murder mystery starring Robert DeNiro, as the priest, and Robert Duvall as the cop. You’ll never see two better Roberts in a film together.
There was a film version of The Black Dahlia directed by Brian De Palma but it’s miscast and missed the mark. The supreme Ellroy movie adaptation I’m recommending is L.A. Confidential. It deservedly won the Oscar for best adapted screenplay in 1997.
This is the film that put Russell Crowe on the map playing tortured cop, Bud White. Favorite scene – Bud shreds that chair.
L.A. Confidential is a full on, widescreen rewatchable experience. Don’t watch it on an iPhone, please.
This dog tried to take a shit on my golf ball today. We were on the 16th green. Tim is going to google for dog turd related rules when he gets home.
I just emptied the dryer. I may need to buy new bed sheets.