I have several disconnected things on my mind, so here they are in no particular order.
I got my first birthday-related piece of mail today: an invitation to join the AARP now that I am turning fifty. I am old enough to remember when AARP stood for the American Association of Retired Persons, but that didn’t bring in enough money so now the letters are the official name, the same way Kentucky Fried Chicken became KFC so you would think they quit frying stuff.
In the course of conversations a couple of weeks back, I talked with an eighteen year old and an eighty-two year old. I got to thinking about it later and realized I am exactly the same number of years from either age. I don’t really have a point here, I just thought it was interesting.
I also got a package in the mail today from my friend, Billy Crockett, who has a new instrumental CD called Passages that is fourteen original pieces for classical guitar. (Listen to an excerpt of “Pilgrim I.” There is also a companion score available. To quote him:
My hope is that you will, with Passages, be reminded of the wordless ways of the heart, of midnight voyages on the water, and of the simple gifts of old architecture and strings on wood.
You can purchase the record through his web site.
I read last night that Robert Altman died a week ago of leukemia. He was eighty-one. Altman was a creative and unique voice in American filmmaking, hitting some out of the park and striking out brilliantly with others. His last movie, A Prairie Home Companion, is a gem. His first breakthrough, M*A*S*H, is worth a look, along with The Player and Shortcuts. CNN has a nice video tribute here. He never won an Oscar, but was given a lifetime achievement award this past year. “The major studios, since I’ve been involved with Hollywood . . . they make shoes and I make gloves,” he said.
Speaking of movies, one of my favorites kept coming to mind today. I think I’m going to watch it tomorrow: Miss Firecracker. It is the story of Carnelle, a struggling girl who thinks winning the Miss Firecracker Beauty Pageant in her home town of Yazoo City, Mississippi will set her free to leave town “in a blaze of glory.” Mary Steenburgen, Tim Robbins, Scott Glenn, and Alfre Woodard are also in the cast. It was directed by Thomas Schlamme, Aaron Sorkin’s partner behind The West Wing and Studio 60 fame.
In the closing moments of the movie, Carnelle says, “I just want to know what I can reasonably expect out of life.” Scott Glenn’s answer is worth the trip.