April 01, 2016

Hey Now!

"Hey now!" was the catchphrase used by Larry Sanders's sidekick on The Larry Sanders Show. Garry Shandling played Sanders, and Jeffrey Tambor was the sidekick; both were wonderful. The show was genuinely smart and clever, and very, very funny. The derivation and significance of "Hey now!" became the subject of some philosophical and psychological investigation in one episode. One hugely funny episode involved David Duchovny's crush on Larry; here's a bit of it. I loved that show, and I liked Shandling's earlier show a lot as well. You probably know that Garry Shandling died recently. He was a wonderful talent. I found his death somewhat unnerving. He was only 66. I'm at the age now where people who've been around for most of my life are dying in significant numbers; Shandling was a year younger than I am, so his death was a bit more startling to me. Another recent loss was Patty Duke. She was also just about my age. I saw Duke in the original Broadway production of The Miracle Worker, which I still remember very clearly. I was 12 when I saw it; Anne Bancroft had already left the production and been replaced by Suzanne Pleshette, who was absolutely wonderful. Patty Duke was utterly astonishing as Helen Keller. The 1962 film made from the play is very fine, and Bancroft and Duke are both superb. But the impact of that play in the theater was overwhelming; the extended "fight" scene between Keller and Annie Sullivan was often terrifying.

Since I'm nattering here about this and that, I'll mention that there has recently been an extended discussion on my opera list about declining attendance at the Metropolitan Opera. Apparently, attendance has dropped to alarmingly low levels. Some of those at recent performances describe "acres" of empty seats. Most observers agree that prohibitively expensive ticket prices are a large part of the explanation. "Prohibitively expensive" for all us ordinary folks, that is. But we don't matter, of course. As one person noted, the huge rise in ticket prices at the Met is merely another part of the incredibly expensive cost of living in Manhattan, a phenomenon which is now spreading to the other boroughs, too. As this commenter noted, the message from the ruling class is: "Get rich or get out." I'd put the general issue a bit differently: "Get rich, or die." The ruling class would prefer that we simply die, you realize. I've discussed this New York problem, as it were, in this essay (and the ruling class's die-off plan is discussed here -- briefly glancing at that essay reminds me that we should properly call it a "kill-off" plan). And the New York problem is now, of course, spreading to other cities. It's become very noticeable in Los Angeles; from my reading, it appears that similar developments are occurring in many other places.

Well, that's enough of that for now. I hope you've seen the new piece from yesterday. A new piece! Hooray! I know, I know; it's been a long time coming. This last month has been godawful. I've had a bunch of computer problems. I seem to have fixed the worst of them, although the computer still does a few peculiar things at unexpected moments. I'm not entirely sure how much longer this computer will hold up (or until it requires serious professional attention), but it seems to be sort of okay for now. On the health front, I was confined to bed for most of March. All that rest seems to have helped a bit, and I feel somewhat better now. Not good, by a long shot, but better. And I finally decided I had to start writing again. Either that, or just die and get it over with. So I started writing. I was very glad to find that I still could write. I think the new article is pretty good, and it has a few nice touches. If I felt stronger, I probably wouldn't have split the essay into two parts, but made it one long article. But that would have taken a full day's work, easily eight or nine hours, given what my speed has been in the past and the material I have yet to cover. I just can't do that any longer. It took me five to six hours to put that post together; I powered through the last two or three hours on sheer will power, because I felt like absolute shit. I wanted nothing more than to curl up in bed with Sasha. That's not true; I wanted one thing more than that: to finish at least the first part of the article. So I did. I got a good night's rest, and I'm into the second part and hope to publish it in the next several days. It's complicated material, so it may take me a while to pull it together.

Part of the reason I nattered at the beginning of this entry is that writing something helps me a lot. When I'm unable to work on "serious" posts (ugh, dread word, "serious" -- yeah, screw that, let's just say more "complicated"), I've often thought of posting little entries, just a few paragraphs about a story I've seen or an issue I've been mulling over. So I may do that. I finally feel again that I must write; if I don't, I may truly go mad. So when I feel especially rotten physically, I may write some lighter, even frivolous items, just to keep my hand in.

Oh, yes: it's the goddamned first of the month again. I'm very sorry, but I have to report that I have only half of the April rent. And I have some other bills that have to be paid, including the internet bill. I'm a prisoner of Time Warner Cable. I first got the Time Warner service three, maybe four years ago; I can't remember exactly at the moment. They offered five or six different levels of service; I opted for what I recall was the second from the bottom (i.e., the next-to-cheapest), which then cost $50 a month. Now, the bill for this month is $80! I hate these people. The bill just keeps going up and up and up. It increases a little bit almost every month. Did I mention that I hate these people?

I should get the money for the rent together by Monday, if I'm going to be timely and all. So I would be tremendously grateful for any help you dear readers might be able to provide. I wouldn't be here at all but for you; I wouldn't have come back but for you. And for my own sanity, natch. As always, I offer my sincere and deep gratitude for your attention and kindness.