On the run

When I come in cold and tired, it’s good to warm my bones by the fire.

“Dark Side of the Moon” would’ve been an excellent soundtrack for yesterday. Cold, gray, damp, gloomy, madness lurking just around the corner. You lock the door, and throw away the key; there’s someone in my head, but it’s not me.

Happily, the sun returned today, though warmth remained AWOL. So I dragged Herself out for a short trail run and it was just the ticket. A bit squishy underfoot in spots, and windy, but loads better than hanging on in quiet desperation. It’s not the Irish way.

Speaking of the Irish, we finally finished watching Martin Scorsese’s  “The Irishman,” which was so bloody long that we had to make a three-part miniseries out of it. The digital de-aging is a little distracting, until you quit looking for it, but the performances are top shelf. Joe Pesci was superb, Robert De Niro was restrained, and even Al Pacino took a break from chewing on the scenery, mostly. I’d have liked more screen time for Harvey Keitel, but hey, whaddaya gonna do? It is what it is.

There’s a whole gang of familiar faces in this one: comics Ray Romano, Sebastian Maniscalco and Jim Norton; straight men Jesse Piemons, Stephen Graham, and Dominick Lombardozzi; even Little Steven Van Zandt as crooner Jerry Vale.

And you may notice a theater marquee advertising “The Shootist” in the background of one scene. It was about an aging gunman hoping for a quiet death, and John Wayne’s final film. Not long after, De Niro’s character is seen shopping for his own coffin.

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11 Responses to “On the run”

  1. Sharon Says:

    I agree. Joe Pesci stole the show. Could not believe how good his performance was in the film. We split it into two parts.

  2. Pat O'Brien Says:

    If you want to see De Niro disappear, in my opinion, “The Intern” might be worth a look. The Irishman’s story just doesn’t interest me at this stage of life and the current state of affairs in the capital. I’m getting all the gangster story I need from DC and South of the border.

  3. Herb from Michigan Says:

    I didn’t know it was 3+ hours and with dark rainy weather blowing in at 5 pm, watched the entire show. Thought DeNiro was excellent and played the foot soldier role well. I was literally forced to be a Teamster for two summers in the early 70’s while at a union shop doing concrete products. Resented every penny of dues since my fellow workers got about nothing out of the deal while the union rep (from out of town) played golf with the factory owners. Working conditions were so dangerous you wouldn’t believe me if I told you.
    So yeah, sadly the union heads then and now are crooks stealing from their own family. Only now it’s the UAW making the headlines. I don’t pretend to know the answers to job inequality issues which are seriously out of whack. But my mistrust of big Union graft remains.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I think the problem with unions — the few that remain, anyway — is the same problem Americans have with self-governance in general. The rank and file, Average Joe and Jane, have to participate, or it doesn’t work. The pros take over, and everyone else has to bend over.

      We saw it in the Newpaper Guild at The Pueblo Chieftain. Newsroom types liked the Guild wage and benefits, but didn’t like paying dues, attending meetings, electing officers, or participating in any way, shape or form. They held the ITU (backshop union) in contempt as a bunch of greasy, blue-collar schnooks, so no solidarity there. And they didn’t want to rock the boat.

      In short, they thought all the good things they enjoyed “just happened,” like Santa Claus shinnying down the chimney with a sack full of cash.

      What “just happened” in the end was the gradual erosion of pay and bennies until GateHouse bought the joint up. Soon the floors were running with blood and heads were rolling out into the parking lot.

      Now that GateHouse and Gannett have combined there will be about one swinging dick left to sell ads, write stories, run the press, and deliver the sonofabitch to anyone who still gives a shit. You can’t pin the newspaper’s slide into irrelevance on a staff that couldn’t be bothered to fight for their rights, but they come in for a share of the blame.

      • khal spencer Says:

        I ended up on the Univ. of Hawaii faculty union board of directors because no one else wanted it. What surprised my colleagues in the School of Ocean and Earth Sciences was that I took it seriously, which was odd for a scientist. But as O’G says above, if we don’t do it, some self serving asshat will.

        Its not like faculty even like to unionize, either. Its like herding cats. Things have to be pretty bad to get a ratification vote your way. Univ of New Mexico for example.

        In Hawaii, we had no choice. The state Constitution, written by a bunch of progressive Dems fresh back from taking fire in WW II and tired of being shat on by wealthy landowners, said all state employees must collectively bargain. That included faculty at both the K-12 and university level. So there we were. A deep blue, pro-union state. Whoda thunk it?

        I thought the union was pretty useful. We did some major academic freedom and work load issues. The community college faculty were expected to teach till they dropped, for example. And we made sure that it was not advantageous to hire part time and adjuncts rather than tenure track.

        The strike in 2001 brought it all home. Several years without a contract and we finally voted to walk out. It got really acrimonious with Gov. Ben Cayetano, in some part because Ben was a tough politician who grew up in Kalihi and in part because some of my Board colleagues were spoiled brats and their emails were being secretly funnelled to Ben. Ben and I ended up having midnight email conversations and actually got to be friends. Meena and I had lunch with him before we moved to New Mexico. Plus, during that strike I got to get vaulted over a pickup truck driven by a strike breaker. It was all such fun.

        The problem with unionization now is that owners can simply pick up the factory and move to China, Vietnam, Inner Spaminacanistan, or wherever and where a union organizer will be found floating in the river. That is what has to change. We need a world union movement with teeth, lawyers, guns, and money.

        Having said that, you know what is coming next.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      Unfortunately, that describes many people in our generation which allowed the present situation in government to evolve. I have voted in all elections since I got out of the Army, but I can’t claim to always have voted wisely. Doing less than that resulted in the rise of the dumpster and the fairly new meme and slang phrase, “OK boomer.” I think I had it coming.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        O, the “OK, boomer” thing is already over. That’s another problem in America — the attention span measured in nanoseconds.

        • Pat O'Brien Says:

          Can’t use it in the workplace? Discrimination against people over 40? Not only did the meme die, they weaponized the sumbitch. Is “Oy Vey” still acceptable with these delicate old twits offended by OK Boomer? How about my favorite blow off, “go pound sand up your ass.”

        • khal spencer Says:

          Do we have to burn all copies of Tom Brokow’s The Greatest Generation, since it too indicates a generation with a specific political and economic attitude growing out of its time in history, i.e., the Great Depression?

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