My weird trip to NYC; Zakaria "Extraordinary"; and sudden opportunity for me?

I went to New York Thursday AM, ostensibly to trade myself from the bottoming Washington Nationals to the previously invincible New York Yankees.  In fact, on Wednesday night the Yankees had won a walkoff against Tampa Bay with a grand slam in the bottom of the tenth by Josh Donaldson. But the whole month of August the Yankees have been stumbling.  In the game at Yankee Stadium Thursday night, Toronto pitcher Jose Berrios made the Yankees look helpless, striking out on non-strike pitches and making weak contact at most.  The Yankees have lost the first three games of this series at home, whereas the Nationals have taken the first two games of a series in San Diego on the road with top of the ninth rallies.

I sat in the right field stands, top level, and had to climb about 10 inclines and then up a steep staircase. But beyond center field I could see the above-ground 167th St. Station of the 4 (Lexington Ave ) line, which has been used as a real location in many films.

On Friday, I took the LIRR to Sayville (change at Babylon), then the taxi and the ferry to Fire Island.  This time, the first destination was Fire Island Pines. (In 2019 I had visited only Cherry Grove).  Back in the 1970s. especially 1978, that was the usual way I did Fire Island.  The Pines in those days was mostly open beach.

Now a long internal boardwalk runs about 2000 feet along a dirt road, with houses on each side.  As you walk west toward Cherry Grove, the beach side is to your left.  Yes, there are homes (hidden behind wooden gates) for sale, but not that many of them.  At the end of the boardwalk, there is a sign saying “Cherry Grove” with a left arrow.  To the right, there is one final home, and a beautiful carefully managed pond.  As you take the trail through the "Meat Rack" to the left, you may encounter some flooded areas, and there are various mini trails to the right where stuff happens. The trail quickly turns to soft sand, in hot sun, the beach not visible. Walking in soft sand in street shoes is strenuous.  At one point, there is a ritual circle drawn in the sand (back in the 70s there would be body sculptures on the beach).  Eventually you see houses again (after about 1500 feet from the end of the FIP boardwalk) and the boardwalk area resumes in the Grove for about another 1500 feet, with several blocks deep of houses (including the famous Belvedere Castle, which apparently is rented).   The entire hike is about one mile (to reach the wharf for Cherry Grove).

You can walk several miles west to other communities on the Island.

Fire Island is a protective barrier island, and tends to take the biggest hit with hurricanes from the south. Residents sometimes have to evacuate during August or September storms and go back to the city and wonder how much damage they will have.  As Hell's Kitchen personality (known for data work on Covid and Moneypox, including the Provincetown 2021 'breakthrough' cases) Michael Donnelly once tweeted 'y'all' before a 2021 weekend storm, 'we won't bite'

But the corker for me was a private telephone call while I was in the hotel room Thursday afternoon, before heading for Yankee Stadium.  Yes, there is interest in doing something 'big' (relatively speaking) with my books.  It would be a miniseries of professionally produced interviews of me and maybe others talking about the subject matter (essentially the chain of issues that started with 'don't ask don't tell' and has blown out into other areas with issues for free speech and for how other issues compared, especially if viewed from the viewpoint of protecting marginalized communities (the left wing approach) or maximizing individual freedom and personal agency while respecting the common good (the libertarian to conservative approach, excluding Trumpism).  I can’t give more details now.  It will require intellectual integrity from me, and could test whether I can live by my own first principles. It would be logical to augment the interviews with more research material and interviews that I can probably locate and build this into a true miniseries.  Yes, I can imagine Hulu or Netflix could find a final product interesting.

(Note: there is now (Oct. 14) also a bookstore promotion for the second DADT book, 'When Liberty Is Stressed')

Tonight, Fareed Zakaria started his series Extraordinary on CNN with two one-hour episodes (Pressroom).

The first episode presented musician Billy Joel (1949-    ) whose mother apparently forced piano lessons on him at 4.  But he grew up with a gift to improvise on established classic music, extending in a way as to create popular songs.  A good example is the song 'Uptown Girl' (1983) which has its inspiration in extending the passage work that starts Mozart’s Piano Sonata in  K 545 om C, which all piano students learn.  He had started wanting to become a rock start. Now he says he wants to be a good father a second time.  Some of the episode discussed encountering anti-Semitism at its tribal worst.

The second episode interviewed Francis Ford Coppola (1939-    ).   He presented his way of handling big films with multiple protagonists over multiple generations (The Godfather), itself a controversy in screenwriting theory. 

In the latter part of the episode he discussed the rebirth of Apocalypse Now (1979), with Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall and Martin Sheen which I saw refurbished in Minneapolis at the Uptown probably in 2002m complete with the Valkyries scene.

Coppola says he wanted to “belong to the group”.

(Posted: Saturday, August 20, 2022 at 11:30 PN EDT by John W Boushka)