Friday, December 30, 2022

New! More! Ralphies!


Almost let the Ralphies slip this year; we can't have that! It's been a year with a lot of ups and downs. But let's get to the awards …

Movies: Are they still making movies? I didn't see any in the theater. If I have to pick one for the Ralphie, I guess it would be The Blue Dahlia, which I watched online.

TV: In the nature of things, I can only remember the most recent shows watched.  For drama, I would pick Under the Banner of Heaven, very intense and historically interesting.  For comedy, I will agree with the vox populi and pick Wednesday; much better than Stranger Things 4 (which I watched while in Israel),  entertaining but incoherent.  The critical favorite Andor  I didn't enjoy particularly; there was almost no sci-fi element in it at all (although festooned with sci-fi signifiers, like spaceships, they played almost no role in the story itself).

Books: I gave the Wheel of Time umptilogy a try, but petered out after the 4th book. The Ralphie goes to All Systems Red, by Martha Wells, vol. 1 of the Murderbot Diaries. Well done. 

For non-fiction, the Ralphie goes to The Constitution of Knowledge, by Jonathan Rauch. Who would have thought a book about social epistemology would be so engrossing? But a special tip of Ralph's hat also goes to J. F. Collins's Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin, which was a helpful vade mecum to my re-entry into the world of Latin. I'm going to need Latin for my next project. Also I had a book published, which is gratifying.

Music:  The Ralphie for Album of the Year goes to Big Thief's Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You, which is among the best I've ever heard and probably my favorite since Sufjan Stevens's Illinois (although very different in style and genre). I can't pick just one song for you, but here's the title track. I love the way Adrianne sings the word "recoil." For songs, there were too many to pick just one; some of the ones I particularly liked: "Speeding 72," Momma; "PBR," Bel; "Billy Toppy," Men I Trust; "Seasons Change," MorMor; "Higher," Sault; "Blue Bones," Billy Nomates.  For covers, "Fourth Time Around," by Yo La Tengo.

OK, pilgrims, that's it for another year. I'll see you at this same corner next year around the same time.