Sunday, July 24, 2022



I dashed off a quick missive to the President of the University of Southern California and her Athletic Director urging that my beloved alma mater boycott any stadium located in any state restricting a woman’s right to choose. To be clear, I pointed out that in the not-so-distant future, this would impact football games with Utah and Arizona State.

To buttress my argument, I asked that consideration be given to how they might react if the lives of people of color were being restricted by certain states; would they not, I queried, support their Black athletes by making such a stand? Why, I posited, should the “Women of Troy” receive anything less?

The proverbial ink on my missive was not yet dry when the announcement came over the Internet: USC and UCLA were leaving the Pac 12 to join the Big Ten, a deal that would net each of these schools somewhere north of $75,000,000 per year. So much for an appeal to any moral compass.

To top that, my unsent letter was then trumped by California’s governor when he threatened to sue the publicly funded UCLA if they were to play in such Big
Ten stadiums as those provided by Ohio State, Indiana, or any other commonwealth in the league that restricts the rights of women.

Okay as far as it goes, but why didn’t he object to the games for this coming season… or next year’s scheduled University of Arizona game? After all, it will be two years before the Big Ten deal goes through. Curious. Are women in the Pac 12 somehow less important than their Big Ten counterparts?

All I know is the whole thing was bad timing on my part. Sort of the story of my week:

First, I went into Atrial flutter, complicated by tachycardia, during my electrophysiologist’s summer vacation. Then BrandsMart could not deliver the new washer/dryer to our island paradise due to a rare low tide condition. First time in my nearly thirty years on this Island that such a truck was prohibited from access to our ferry system due to low tides.

While waiting for our clothes to be cleaned, and for a doctor to return my calls, I elected to look on the bright side: at least the Internet was not on vacation, nor was it impacted by the tides. I decided to rest my irregular heartbeat by plopping down in front of the TV. Here is what I saw:

1883: A limited series starring Sam Elliott that is in the best tradition of the classic Westward Ho genre. Mr. Elliott is a former neighbor of mine and one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood. You could do a lot worse than spending some weeks screening this actor’s entire career. If you do that, even though Sam is primarily known for folksy western types, check him out in Lifeguard, a circa mid-1970s theatrical motion picture. Oh yeah… 1883: Top drawer. I recommend it. PARAMOUNT +

UNBELIEVABLE: This interesting police procedural mini-series starts way too slow, but by episode three the two detectives, played by Toni Collette and Merritt Wever, were in full Cagney & Lacey mode. They had me at “hello.” NETFLIX

GODLESS: A combination of the above… a western featuring women… What, you might ask, could be better than that? This limited series is extremely violent but very good. I am only mid-way through the seven-episode series but am confident enough of the on-going quality that I can recommend it highly. Jeff Daniels portrays a delicious villain. NETFLIX

SEVERANCE: I have stated more than once that science fiction is not my thing… but this “near-future” piece is something with which many might identify, provided they can figure out what is going on. Even if you find yourself struggling to keep up, it is worth the venture for the style and look of the thing alone and the unexpected humor of the piece. Episode eight is a barn burner and my only disappointment, really, was that the series does not end with episode nine. The producers were building to one hell of a climax, and then… well… wait til next year to see more. I sense that like The Handmaid’s Tale and Squid Game this will just keep going on and on… and on. APPLE TV

To top off the week, the NY Times came out with an opinion piece stating that the age of streaming may be ending… that, true to my musings of the past, it is an economic model that is unsustainable…

…And just when my irregular heartbeat has me looking to luxuriate for even longer in front of the TV. Talk about bad timing.

Barney Rosenzweig

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