Friday, October 9, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 10-08-20: Car Talk, YouTube TV, Billy Collins and Whitman Alabama BONUS A Limerick by Stu

1. I've still got cars on my mind. Today I committed myself to sticking with the Sube as, at the very least, a second car. So, it's possible, at some point, I'll purchase a newer vehicle, but as long as I'm living by myself for an indeterminate amount of time, I'm not in too big of a rush, but I'll keep reading up on vehicles and seeing what's out there.  You see, I went to Silver Valley Tires today and got an estimate on a repair job the Sube needs. The estimate came in pretty significantly under what my reading around about it had led me to expect and I decided to go for it. It was an act of commitment. I'll deepen my commitment to the Sube in about 6-8 thousand miles when I have some routine maintenance work done that will be due. 

Who knows when I'll put those 6-8 thousand miles on the Sube! When I had the oil changed on Tuesday this week, it was my first oil change since January and, from March to October, I'd only put 1000 miles on the Sube. 

I just haven't been driving much. I haven't been worshiping in CdA. No trivia in Spokane. No live music concerts in Spokane. No trips elsewhere, really. I guess I'll see how long I'll continue to stay close to home and how long I'll be holding down the Kellogg fort on my own, how long it'll be until Debbie isn't so sorely needed to help out in New York. But, as long as my life continues the way it has for the last seven months or so, I simply won't be driving much.  

No problem. 

2.  I think it was in August when the internet television service I subscribe(d) to, Fubo, dropped TNT and TBS, but added ESPN and some other different stations. 

Well, right now some of the Major League Baseball playoffs are being broadcast on TBS. Fubo didn't offer KXLY/ABC. I thought I might like to have that available -- same with the local PBS stations.  

So, I switched from Fubo to YouTube TV and today, for about the first time all season, I watched some baseball on television and I enjoyed watching players make acrobatic plays on defense, enjoyed the thrill of batters launching home runs into the stands, and enjoyed entering into the leisurely pace of the game itself. I didn't want the Astros to eliminate the As, but they did, and I didn't want the Yankees to defeat the Rays, but they did, but, I thought, big deal. It's just great to have the sounds (even the artificial crowd noise) of baseball back in the Vizio room again.

3. I had a superb poetry day today thanks to Facebook Live and to a deeply moving website.

First, on Facebook Live:

Around six o'clock or so, I took a break from the poetry of baseball and watched today Billy Collins Poetry Broadcast. He congratulated Louise Gluck for the astonishing news that today she was named the recipient of this year's Nobel Prize for Literature, the first woman from the USA so named. He read a couple of her poems from back in the 1980s and did his best to sum up, briefly, the often startling and always deeply intelligent nature of her poems. Billy Collins then returned to Whale Day and Other Poems and read a few more selections.

If for no other reason than I'd like a record of this observation, I thought today that Billy Collins again seemed tired. For the months that I've been tuning in to watch and listen to him, I've always thought that he is in splendid physical and mental condition and carries his seventy-nine years very well. The last two days, however, he's seemed less steady, a bit error prone, and more vulnerable to me. His life's been a whirlwind over the last couple of weeks -- new book out, a neurological incident, two days in the hospital, a leaky roof, and, among other things, his publisher and Barnes and Noble collaborating to mess up many people's orders of Whale Day. I hope things slow down. I hope he rests.  I hope, if he's not feeling quite himself, that this improves soon.

Second, the website. It's

Filmmaker Jennifer Crandall has been traveling all over Alabama filming different people reading different verses from Walt Whitman's Song of Myself.

I watched four or five of these short, under five minute documentary films today.

First, these films awakened my longstanding and deep love for Walt Whitman's Song of Myself, a love I'd forgotten I feel so deeply.

But, more to the point, the genius of Jennifer Crandall filming people from all walks of life reading Whitman's verse moved me to tears.

In particular, the video of 97 year old Virginia Mae Schmitt, reading the opening verse of Song of Myself is without question the most beautiful and stirring reading of Whitman I've ever experienced and it might be the best reading of verse I've ever heard, period. 

Here's the link to it:

At the top of the page is a picture of Virginia Mae Schmitt. Scroll down a little ways and you'll see the video and you can read about Virginia Mae Schmitt.

A limerick by Stu:

The folks in the news like to bicker. 
And their comments just keep getting sicker. 
I don’t care ‘bout their views, 
Please just bring us the news. 
Or our Nation will end “up the cricker”!

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