Celebrating Go to an Art Museum Day

Alternate title: On grief, and listening to Radiohead and R.E.M.

In the summer I realized I had some time left I still needed to take off work so I’ve had a few random days off. At the time I decided to look at a calendar of national holidays to select my day off. My last one was October 28, National Chocolate Day, even though ironically I didn’t have any chocolate that day.

This Tuesday, Nov. 9, according to the website National Today, is Go to an Art Museum Day, and it is one of the days I chose to have off. Initially, I thought about going to the Corning Museum of Glass, which is about an hour away from where I live. But this past week some unforeseen vehicle repair expenses came up, so now I won’t be going. Instead, I’m going on a virtual tour of some museums around the world that I bookmarked yesterday.

That will be in the afternoon. In the morning, I want to catch up on some meditation podcasts with Niall Breslin on Spotify and journaling.

Last Tuesday, my wife Kim took a creative writing workshop so she could do something special on the birthday of both her mother and her best friend from high school, who passed away within four days of each other in April. This Tuesday, I’m doing something similar as with the meditation podcasts and journaling, I’m remembering not only their passing – and the passing of hundreds of thousands in our country and millions around the world in the last year and half from COVID-19 – but also the passing of a few patrons who have died as well in the last couple of months.

Even though I didn’t know those patrons well, I was used to seeing – and hearing – them at the library, a couple for many of the last 11 years I’ve worked at the library. And their deaths have hit me harder than I thought they would. So I want to acknowledge that grief – and the continuing grief that both Kim (moreso, understandably, her) and I are having for Kim’s mom and best friend – on Tuesday.

If I had gone to Corning, I wanted to listen to music on the way. Since I’m not going, while I am on my virtual museum tour, I’m going to listen to a couple of albums that were released last week by Radiohead and R.E.M., remastered editions of earlier albums. The albums are New Adventures in Hi-fi by R. E.M. and Kid A and Amnesiac by Radiohead.

I plan on ending the day by watching a movie with Kim that I’ve wanted to see for a while, but just haven’t gotten to. It also fits with the art theme. It’s called Loving Vincent and is about Vincent Van Gogh. Kim already has seen it, but she said she loved it so I don’t think she’ll mind watching again.

My Own Personal Nonfiction November

This month there are several events around the Internet called Nonfiction November. In the past I have even participated in one with a group of book bloggers. It is led by Rennie at the blog What’s Nonfiction. To find out more about that event, click on the hyperlink. However, that is not what I am doing. Instead, as the title of this post says, I am doing My Own Personal Nonfiction November.

To wit, this year I have only read four nonfiction books, but I want to read more. So, this month I have picked three nonfiction books to try to get through before the end of the month. I found all of them while shelf reading at the library where I work. Shelf reading, for those who might not know, means “reading the spines of the items on the shelf and rearranging any materials that are out of order.” It’s not always a fun job, especially when the call numbers in a Dewey decimal system get long, but it can be rewarding when you find books that interest you. 

The list is as follows: 

  • Robert E. Lee and Me: A Southerner’s Reckoning with The Myth of the Lost Cause by Ty Seidule, Professor Emeritus of History at West Point 
  • Tombstone: The Earp Brothers, Doc Holiday, And the Vendetta Raid from Hell by Tom Clavin  
  • The Flying Tigers: The Untold Story of the American Pilots Who Waged the Secret War Against Japan by Sam Kleiner. 

The first two were published last year; the third, in 2018.  

While I’m not usually one to quote from a summary on a book jacket, in the case of Robert E. Lee and Me, I will make an exception, because it’s what drew me. This is the second paragraph of the summary: 

In a unique blend of history and reflection, Seidule deconstructs the truth about the Confederacy—that its undisputed primary goal was the subjugation and enslavement of Black Americans—and directly challenges the idea of honoring those who labored to preserve that system and committed treason in their failed attempt to achieve it. Through the arc of Seidule’s own life, as well as the culture that formed him, he seeks a path to understanding why the facts of the Civil War have remained buried beneath layers of myth and even outright lies—and how they embody a cultural gulf that separates millions of Americans to this day. 

Back in college, I took a class on Reconstruction with one of the central themes being that the Civil War was about slavery, period. The main book used for the course, which I highly recommend, is A Short History of Reconstruction 1863-1877 by Eric Foner. It is an abridged version of Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution. So, Seidule’s book will be like extra credit reading for me for that class almost 30 years ago. 

In the case of Tombstone, I’ve always had an interest in “The Gunfight at the OK Corral” and with The Flying Tigers, I grew up watching the TV show Baa Baa Black Sheep, about U.S. Marine Corps aviator Greg “Pappy” Boyington and his Black Sheep Squadron. He also was a member of the Flying Tigers. I’ve also always wanted to see the movie Tombstone and never have. Now maybe after reading the book, I will watch it with maybe a better understanding of the real event. 

So, do you read nonfiction? If you do, what is one of your favorites from this year or any other year, for that matter? If you don’t, why not?

Our Own Personal Halloween Eve

Tonight, Kim and I are celebrating Halloween early, because I have tomorrow off from work. I work until 7 so the festivities begin at 8. This is what we are planning on watching:

  • 8 p.m.: Halloween, the first one since I don’t believe I ever saw, which Kim can’t believe.
  • 9:30 p.m.: The Muppets Haunted Mansion, which is on Disney Plus.
  • 10:30: What We Do in the Shadows, the movie, which we own and is one of our favorites.
  • Midnight: The Rocky Horror Picture Show, because it only seems appropriate for a midnight showing.

All this week, we also have been watching a selection of the Treehouse of Horror episodes of The Simpsons, also on Disney Plus. I found several “best of” lists online, but went with one from the site Den of Geek: “13 Great Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Halloween Stories.”

How do you celebrate Halloween? Any favorite movies for the day or night?

I’m in!

Last moment, but I’ve joined tomorrow’s readathon.

I’ll have updates here.


Starting a bit early on Friday night as my wife and I are watching the latest adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune on HBO Max.


I’m starting today’s readathon with a favorite, Man’s Search for Meaning (but in audio). I also have two Rabbi Small series in the queue.


It is a little after noon here, and I am about halfway through my first book, an audiobook, Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl, as read by Simon Vance. I have about 10 minutes in this first of two parts and a postscript. I have read the book several times, but this is my first time listening to it. Once I’m done with this part, I’m heading out to get lunch.

1 p.m.: I’m continuing to listen to Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl, as read by Simon Vance, as I’m at a local lake just outside of town. I’m eating a literary sandwich called The Cuban Affair by Nelson DeMille at a local café. It was very tasty. (There was another half of the sandwich, but I ate it.)


2:30 p.m.: After stopping by the library for a bathroom break, I saw the vestiges of fall foliage in our area and had to get a photo.

3:30 p.m.: I finished Man’s Search for Meaning. Now I’m going to take a short nap before digging into my next book, Monday the Rabbi Took Off by Harry Kemelman, which I already have started before today.

7:00 p.m.: I took a nap. I had dinner (no photo). Kim and I watched the latest episode of What We Do in the Shadows. Now I’m going down a YouTube rabbit hole.

But hey, it is literary:

8 p.m. I’m back to reading. I’m continuing to read Monday the Rabbi Took Off by Harry Kemelman.

10 p.m. I’m halfway through the book. I’m thinking about a snack, maybe charcuterie.

Charcuterie and wine (Manischewitz, but of course as I’m reading The Rabbi Who Took Monday Off by Harry Kemelman).

12:30 a.m. I finished Monday the Rabbi Took Off by Harry Kemelman. And I’m calling it good.