Very hard to balance the balance sheet this holiday. A tyrant thwarted, hunger at record numbers. Vaccine coming, hospitals full and loved ones missing from our tables. And I know that we too will have our turn at loss, illness, and death. But as the Swedish writer Per Olov Enquist noted: “One day we shall die/All the other days we shall be alive.” I’m holding that thought.
The woman in the picture is skipping rope in the Place des Voges during the second, much tougher lockdown in Paris. Miserable? I don’t think so. I think she’s the emblem of thanks and gratitude and clarity this Thanksgiving. I’m holding that image.
Over the long so-called holiday weekend, I can only hope that if you binge you’ll binge Borgen and that if you read you’ll read The Queen’s Gambit, which is now, 40 years after its publication, #3 on the Times paperback fiction bestseller list. And that if you have money you might spend on nothing you really need you’ll give generously to a food bank.
As for Butler, I made a list of short drop-ins you can sample at leisure — videos that are full of energy, life, humor and hope.
In that spirit…
Brian Fallon, “Wonderful Life”
Nina Simone, “Here Comes the Sun”
Glenn Gould practicing Johann Sebastian Bach’s Partita No.2 in C minor
David Bowie & Annie Lennox, “Under Pressure”
Jesse Malin, “Todd Youth”
Citizen Cope, “Son’s Gonna Rise”
The Band, with Neil Young and a hidden Joni Mitchell, “Helpless”
“Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” Jerry Seinfeld and Barack Obama
Curtis Mayfield and Aretha Franklin, “Back to Living Again”
Herbie Mann, “Comin’ Home Baby”
In 1:13 Georgia Senatorial candidate Jon Ossoff (D) destroys Sen. David Perdue (R) at the end of their first debate: “It’s not just that you’re a crook, Senator. You’re attacking the health of the people that you represent.” Purdue ducked the second debate.
Krishna Das, “I Want to Know What Love Is” (Sri Argala Stotram)
John Prine’s last recording, “I Remember Everything”
A comment on YouTube: “the best friend I ever had that never knew me.”
Tracy Chapman, “Stand By Me”