Ephemera, 8/20/23

I have a personal interest in the Paris-Brest-Paris ride this year, since my husband is attempting it for the first time. If you’re not familiar with this quadrennial 1200-km ride that attracts thousands of people from all over the world, that’s fine; most Americans aren’t. We always explain it by starting, “Have you seen that America’s Test Kitchen episode about a wheel-shaped pastry called a Paris-Brest …”

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Will 2024 be the year I finally read Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell? Adam Roberts’ piece reheats my desire, which has been cooled off for a while. I’ve attempted it twice, enjoyed what I read immensely, and yet in both cases petered out about halfway, distracted by life. I actually love big books, but there are big books and then there are BIG books. I’ll move it back to the TBR shelves, maybe.

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Phil Christman is always entertaining to read, even when he’s talking about things in which I barely have any interest, but I am always interested in 1980s college-alternative-new-wave-whatever music, and since I came to it fairly late in the decade, I love a good set of historical recommendations.

Perhaps one of these days, like Phil with ’80s alternative and David Bentley Hart with classical, I’ll launch a series based on my own esoteric deep-cut interest, which is in “Christian” new-wave/alt-pop from, say, 1981-1987, which was both better and worse than you think from that description. (If you generally enjoy ’80s post-punk pop, then objectively speaking, this is just a great song.)

Ephemera, 07/01/23

I didn’t find the Harrison Ford digital facelift as creepy as the New York Times reviewer; they did a better job with the CGI than I expected. But “generally silly,” “not entirely charmless” — sure. It was a fun, dumb night at the movies. But, my God — so long! Movies do not need to be, and shouldn’t be, as long as they have become. Save money, Hollywood, and end bladder strain. Make shorter films.

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The Tour de France began this morning. Many Americans assume that it’s the only such race, but if you are married to an avid cyclist and cycling fan, like I am, you learn that there are many. Still, TDF is a big deal and will be consuming about half the mental space in my household over the next few weeks. Also, if you are a newcomer to the sport or merely cycling-curious or even well-versed in it like he is, my husband strongly recommends that you watch the Netflix documentary series Tour de France: Unchained.

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“The vital powers of Christendom are now entirely spent. Some far rougher beast is on the way just at the moment, and the Integralists and the National Conservatives are simply some of the more pathetic of its idiot accomplices.” (David Bentley Hart)