September 2020


In 1965 I was in the Army in Germany, and my former boss at the Ector County Library sent me a hot-off-the-press copy of Dune. What I should have done was wrap that first edition in layers of plastic and put it aside so that twenty or forty years later I could have sold it for big bucks.

But no, what I did was devote all my waking off-duty hours to it until I’d finished. And then reread it. And continued rereading it for decades while I read all of Herbert’s sequels. So yes, I’m a dedicated Dune fan.

And then, in 1984, I watched David Lynch’s flawed movie with a mixture of enjoyment and disappointment, thinking that well, maybe it’s impossible to make a good movie of such a complex, sprawling work; but parts of it sure were excellent.

So you can imagine my excitement when I learned last year that Denis Villeneuve’s version of Dune is due to be released on December 18, 2020. OK, I thought when I heard this, now I must take care of myself, at least until then.

Then recently in new comments on the pandemic, Dr. Fauci said that people might begin to feel comfortable going back to theaters by late next year, assuming that a vaccine has been widely deployed. Not soon enough, I thought.

The problem is that I don’t realistically expect to live all that much longer; and if the film were released before I’m vaccinated, I’ll be sorely tempted to let seeing the film on the big screen be my cause of death.

I’m not entirely sure I’m joking.

Besides, that Call Me By Your Name scene in which Timothée Chalamet violates a peach (see fan reaction) is so burned into my mind that eagerness to see his performance as Paul Atreides is just another reason for my impatience.

Meanwhile, here’s a pair of interesting doors on Valencia:

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It’s the Economy

It’s been known since the beginning of the COVID pandemic that the shutdown, while necessary to slow the progress of the epidemic, would damage the economy.

And that’s been the case even though the shutdown has not been sufficiently long, stringent, or consistent to bring the epidemic to a stop. So we’ve ended up with going on 200,000 dead while unemployment skyrocketed and evictions and foreclosures soared.

Just a couple of days ago, Dr. Fauci said in an CNN interview that normal life would not be back until the end of 2021. My immediate thought was that instead of curbing our enthusiasm, he was being wildly optimistic. Not that I don’t expect sufficiently strong vaccines to have reached many millions of people by then and thus put an increasingly tight lid on COVID infections. That’s eminently plausible.

But “normal life” is not just about the pandemic but rather also about our economic life. I’m sure many economists have pointed out that an economic slump of the order that we’re now experiencing cannot be reversed in a matter of months and that we have yet to feel the long-lasting effects.

Now this is damn trivial, but I just ran into an example of an effect that is minor for society but major for me. Ummm, I guess “major” is relative. It’s not like the country is running out of the long list of meds that are now propping me up or that my senior housing is going to close and dump us all out on the street. But still, it’s making a significant impact.

See, yesterday I noticed that I was down to my last case of the 8 oz. jars I use for my jams and jellies, so I went online to Target to place another order for five cases of the jars that they kindly deliver for free. Oops. Couldn’t find the jars on their website. Combed the site and then called customer service. After some digging, the nice representative told me that the reason I couldn’t find them on the website was that there weren’t any. Out. Totally out. No projected date for availability.

Oh well, I thought, my loyalty to Target being a thin veneer, I’ll just buy them elsewhere. So I looked, and looked, and looked only to find that everybody is out. Well, except for a couple of vendors willing to sell me the jars at four times the regular price. Supply/demand and all that.

I’m hoping that in a couple of months or so Ball or Mason or Kerr will light up a factory and start churning out those jars again, but my fear is that this outage is merely a harbinger of similar breaks in many supply chains.

Meanwhile, I’ve been on a roll of late photographing door treatments that I find interesting, many of them beautiful. Well, here’s another, all too common one.

homeless doorway

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