For me the Worricker Trilogy is an example of the power of entertainment to distract me from relentless pain
Caution: Loaded with spoilers.
The prime minister’s press secretary attempts to console his boss (as is true of every cast member: played brilliantly by Ralph Fiennes) after our anti-hero, a secret service agent, progresses with eventual success with his campaign to remove the autocratic and corrupt Fiennes from office. The secretary says, “You are under a lot of pressure.” The would-be tyrant replies, “Pressure like whiplash does not exist.”
A hallmark of the Worricker Trilogy is the captivating quality of David Hare’s writing. “Pressure like whiplash does not exist” is a good example. As every schoolboy knows both whiplash and pressure do exist. Yet we the viewer are told it does not and for a brief moment we become nihilists and believe him. The conundrum; namely, how something can exist and not exist at the same time is the hallmark of the brand of British spy fiction that John le Carré’s Smiley series turned into the political action/thriller genre to which I am most attracted.
Before le Carré, authors of espionage novels presented us with good guys and bad guys. James Bond was a good guy. A hero. The ones implausible Bond was licensed to kill were bad guys. This was axiomatic.
By comparison David Hare’s Johnny Worricker (played by Bill Nighy) is an anti-hero who left his wife when she became pregnant. Despite Johnny severe character flaws (or perhaps because of them) we are nonetheless sympathetic to Johnny’s continual questioning of a world where the good guys do bad things; bad guys do good things. Concepts like good and evil (much like pressure and whiplash) are presented as mythological.
For me, this brand of existentialism bordering on nihilism consistently has been compelling. This is the way to hook me as Johnny Worricker and his Dickensian colleagues, lovers, enemies and friends did. From frame to frame The Worricker Trilogy stops time with its presentation of a world that appears to be true. Verisimilitude serves as catnip for me.
I am the kind of person who craves catnip given my personal circumstance. Yesterday, when I watched the series from start to conclusion without pause, my objective was distraction to the point where I no longer felt relentless pain–a consequence of surgery for kidney cancer. As with Ralph Fiennes’ ability to transfer pressure and whiplash from the real to the non-existent, the realization of David Hare’s words was entirely successful.
–Joel Solkoff is the author of Learning to Live Again, my Triumph Over Cancer
This photograph should tell you all you need to know. All the rest is merely commentary.
Homeless in Downtown State College the residential community for rich as Croesus Penn State
I took this photograph less than an hour ago. A homeless man is bundled over a cup of coffee as the wind chill factor is 27 degrees F and scattered flakes of snow are beginning to fall. Four blocks away a brand new multi-story Hyatt has gone up where on premium football weekends a single room costs $450 a night.
As the Manhattanization of Downtown State College progresses with abandon, it is no surprise that this month—just in time for Christmas—less than three blocks away one of this community’s homeless shelters shut down. The temperature is dropping rapidly. Will this man be dead by midnight when Santa Claus begins his rounds determining who has been naughty or nice?
Come back soon, hear, I have just begun this screed
1. Wikipedia: “In Greek and Persian cultures the name of Croesus became a synonym for a wealthy man. Croesus’ wealth remained proverbial beyond classical antiquity: in English, expressions such as “rich as Croesus” or “richer than Croesus” are used to indicate great wealth to this day. “
Santa: In my Yiddisha stocking, please insert a plane ticket to New Mexico, a reservation for a mobility device when I arrive, one $1,00 ticket and enough moolah to make a donation to HIAS,*, pay off my most demanding creditors before dancing the tango at the inaugural ball for Michelle Lujan Grisham, the wonderful new governor of New Mexico, who will embrace refugees from the horrors of central America as the Statute of Liberty recommends.
I am so honored and excited to take office as Governor of New Mexico in just a little over a week. We’re about to begin a new chapter of our state’s history – and I can’t wait to get to work fighting for a brighter future for New Mexico’s families.
I want to kick it off with the folks who made it possible over the last two years – including you! That’s why the inaugural committee is giving away five tickets to one contest winner to celebrate with me at the Governor’s Ball.
This is a chance to celebrate all we’ve accomplished. It was a long, hard road to get to this historic night, and I want to honor the hard work and dedication of my team and my supporters.
If you’d like to join me at the Governor’s Ball at 8 p.m. on January 1st in Santa Fe, you can donate any amount before midnight tomorrow to be automatically entered for a chance to win tickets for you and four of your loved ones.
Click here to give ANY amount to enter our contest to win five tickets for you and your loved ones to celebrate this historic moment for New Mexico at the Governor’s Ball.
Thank you so much for being part of my team,
Michelle Lujan Grisham
P.S. If you don’t want to leave it to chance, you can click here to purchase a ticket to the Governor’s Ball before January 1st.
Contributions or gifts to the Lujan Grisham Inaugural Committee are not tax deductible.
No purchase, payment, or contribution necessary to enter or win. Contributing will not improve chances of winning. Void where prohibited. Entries must be received by December 23, 2018. Enter by contributing here, or click here to enter without contributing. One (1) winner will receive the following prize: five tickets to the Lujan Grisham Inaugural Ball (approximate retail value of prize: $500). Odds of winning depend on number of entries received. All prizes will be awarded. Promotion open only to U.S. citizens, or lawful permanent U.S. residents who are legal residents of 50 United States, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico and 18 or older (or age of majority under applicable law). Promotion subject to Official Rules and additional restrictions on eligibility. Sponsor: Lujan Grisham Inaugural Committee, P.O. Box 4700, Santa Fe, NM 87505.
Jane Ferguson is risking her life right now to report the news from Yemen for PBS
Yesterday, at risk to her life, Jane Ferguson reported on the PBS’ excellent News Hour from the only open port in Yemen from which food and medicine can still be shipped to provide relief to millions of civilians . A fragile cease-fire the UN negotiated in Sweden may bring a modicum of hope in a country where tragedy prevails.
Meanwhile, also on the PBS network, Washington Week—once the premier weekly opinion program in the US—exemplifies the dominant isolationism of,the White House Corps. On Friday night Washington Week continued to ignore ( as it has for years) the humanitarian tragedy in Yemen and President Trump’s complicity in Saudi genocide.
PBS should immediately appoint Jane Ferguson Washington Week’s peermant moderator,replacing Robert Costa who covers the White House for The Washington Post. If Ferguson is not available, Reporters without Borders has many brave reporters on the front lines of the world’s humanitarian crises. American politicians tell the public we are the leading power in the world. If that power is to mean anything, it must be used to resolve crises— not hide from them and pretend they do not exist.
Reporters such as CNN’s Arwa Damon bring the news of US complicity or indifference to the millions of children and their parents dying . Meanwhile, their coverage of life and death issues do not receive priority coverage. Instead, the majority of the well-tailored White House Press Corps seems to focus exclusively on the Presudent’s soap opera machinations.
Remember, if the public had to rely on the White House Press Corps during Watergate, Richard Nixon would have completed his second term in office. Woodward and Bernstein were not a part of the White House Press Corps. They were low-level reporters covering night court.
Friday night should cause Bob Costa and his Washington Week panelists shame for failing even make mention of the two Senate resolutions on Yemen
Subject: Kincaid recommended your comment on “Senate votes to withdraw support for Saudi-led coalition in Yemen | Financial Times”
For the past four years, 88,000 children have died needlessly, avoidably in Yemen. The Guardian reports starvation on a mass basis has become so severe people are committing suicide rather than wait to die from hunger and cholera.
Is this US Senate vote too little too late? As international journalists risk death to cover the horror, will the US press (for the most part) continue to ignore the reports of US assistance in Saudi genocide?
Or will Robert Costa and his fellow Washington Week reporters on the US Public Broadcasting System (PBS) continue to disregard (as they have been for the past four years) infants being bombed in hospitals and schools—preferring to critique President Trump’s capitalization within his lunatic tweets?
PBS’ hour long nightly news is the best news program on American television broadcasting the courageous Jane Ferguson from a bombed out Physicians without Borders hospital tent in Yemen.
Yet, Washington Week—hitherto regarded as the premier opinion program in the country ( in the tradition of, for example, my late friend Eileen Shanehan)—will certainly devote considerable space to the President’s efforts to hire a new chief of staff.
I predict that tonight’s broadcast will devote more time opining on whether Jared Kushner is qualified for the job at the expense of any international news story.
Of the two Yemeni developments this week, the Senate non-binding resolution may be mentioned because of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ role in drafting the resolution. (No doubt Costa is aware a significant number of his viewers are Sanders supporters.)
I would be pleasantly surprised if the truly significant Yemeni story of the week was covered at all:
A UN brokered truce with the Yemeni combatants. The truce could easily result in hundreds of thousands of lives being saved because of the truce, Yemen’s last operating port will/may not shut down distribution of food and medicine.
Note: My comment was published early on Friday morning December 13th before the announcement that President Trump selected by tweet Mitch Mulvaney as his acting Chief of Staff.
Take note Washington Week, this is the kind of reporter your panelists should emulate
“Once inside, there is an unnerving quiet to the children’s ward. The healthier babies cry, but many just stare blankly. It’s not immediately clear if their eyes look too big or their faces too small.
“Malnourishment can have very few tell-tale signs to an untrained eye — perhaps just a paleness, a smallness. As the scale continues, some children have lost hair or had their hair turn orange, some have swollen bellies, or no belly to speak of, or bones sticking out through wilted skin. Some of them have aged faces, with skin that wrinkles when they cry.
Their parents have exhausted all “coping mechanisms” as the aid organizations would say. To you or I, that’s anything we would turn to if a salary suddenly stopped: savings, relatives, a cow or some chickens in the backyard, a line of credit at the local grocery store. After three years of war, most people have exhausted all of those. Sweet tea and bread is keeping an untold number of people here alive, barely. It’s especially tough on the babies as mother’s cannot produce enough high nutrient milk when they themselves are not eating nearly enough.”
After years of effort— of driving his Senate colleagues crazy by insisting every time he rose to speak—that the Senate ratify the genocide treaty, it is now a matter of law that the kind of genocide the US participates in today ( right now) must result in the US being tried in the World Court if our country does not stop it.
Last week, when the Senate took initial steps to end this the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, this— to its shame—is what the trendy news organizations ignore. CNN, MSNBC, and nearly everyone else on US television have been flogging to death for the previous two days, the same old same old Washington Week’s host decided to repeat yet again on Friday night.
No one at Washington Week saw fit to even mention Yemen. How many more infants have to die in Yemen before Robert Costa decides it worthy of even ten percent of his show’s time?
On October 27th,eleven of my people were killed while attending Saturday morning synagogue services at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life Synagogue. The synagogue is affiliated with the Conservative Jewish Movement centered at the Jewish Theological Seminary at 125th Street in New York City.
When my mother Dr. Miriam P. Schmereler was 67, she received her doctorate in Hebrew letters from the Jewish Theological Seminary.
Words fail in my grief and that of my people as a consequence of this the worst anti-Semitic act in U.S. history. What follows is the obituary that appeared in USA Today for Rose Mallinger, the eldest of the eleven women and men killed because they were Jewish and because as Jews our obligation to assist refugees made Pittsburgh's synagogue a target because of its support for HIAS [Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society], the organization that helped settle my father Isadore, his parents and sister before World War I who fled pogroms in Russia.
Synagogue shooting: Crowds mourn Rose Mallinger, 97, in the last funeral of 11 victims
Doug Stanglin, USA TODAYPublished 2:01 p.m. ET Nov. 2, 2018 | Updated 2:56 p.m. ET Nov. 2, 2018
Despite gray, blustery weather, long lines formed early outside Rodef Shalom Temple where the services were held because the Tree of Life synagogue, the site of the shootings Saturday, has not reopened.
Mallinger, who once served as school secretary at Tree of Life, was a fixture there for 60 years, regularly attending worship services with her family.
The synagogue was the “center of her very active life,” her family said in a statement. “Her involvement with the synagogue went beyond the Jewish religion. … It was her place to be social, to be active and to meet family and friends.”
“She retained her sharp wit, humor and intelligence until the very last day,” the family statement said. “She did everything she wanted to do in her life.”
Mallinger was one of six siblings, had three children, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
“It’s surreal to be here because you never think of losing someone who is 97 years old to gun violence,” said Michele Organist, a friend of both Rose and her 61-year-old daughter, Andrea Wedner, who was injured in the shooting.
“I’ve known Rose a long time and it was always going to be that she was so vibrant and bright and sharp-witted that she would live past 100,” said Organist. “You knew something was going to take her eventually, but it wasn’t going to be gun violence.”
Elizabeth Murphy of Sewickley said Andrea Wedner was her dental hygienist. Murphy emerged from the visitation for Wedner’s mother, Rose, with lines of mascara running down her face.
“I moved to Pittsburgh 22 years ago from Boston thinking I came from a strong Jewish community and the Pittsburgh community has been amazingly tight,” she said. “I felt integrated in just a few years and I felt like I needed to be here with my people.”
It was not immediately clear if Wedner was unable to attend the services. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, without naming the patient, said a 61-year-old woman fitting her description remained in stable condition at the hospital.
UPMC said on Friday that the two most seriously injured victims had been moved out of the intensive care unit. Hospital officials say a 70-year-old man has been upgraded from critical to stable condition. A 40-year-old police officer remains in stable condition.
The officer was previously identified as Timothy Matson, who suffered multiple gunshot wounds. The wounded congregant is Daniel Leger, a nurse and hospital chaplain.