Tuesday, October 09, 2018


WWW.WEDNESAY asks us three questions to prompt you to speak bookishly. To participate, and to see how other book lovers responded, click here.

1. What are you currently reading?  
And the Sea Will Tell by Vincent Bugliosi and Bruce Henderson. Palmyra is a tiny (less than 5 sq. miles) island south of Hawaii. It's officially "unoccupied," meaning no one lives there -- though US Navy personnel and conservationists stay for short periods. It's on this virtually deserted island that two couples meet, and a real-life mystery ensues.

Mac and Muff Graham, a wealthy couple with a luxury yacht, sailed down to Palmyra from San Diego for a tropical adventure. Buck and Stephanie escape to Palmyra from Hawaii, using their amateurishly rehabbed boat to evade law enforcement. Somehow Buck and Stephanie and the big yacht end up in Arizona ... and no one has heard from Mac or Muff in ages. What happened?

This true story is told with flair by Bruce Henderson and Vincent Bugliosi -- the latter represented Stephanie at trial. It's not high art, but it's entertaining. And as I read, I wonder about the similarities between Stephanie and Muff. On the surface, they appear to be radically different, yet they each got on board and took off for Palmyra, despite tremendous misgivings. Both the society matron and the hippie chick would have been better off if they'd listened to their little voices.

2. What did you recently finish reading?  
Joe Biden's Promise Me, Dad. “I try to be mindful, at all times, of what a difference a small human gesture can make to people in need. What does it really cost to take a moment to look someone in the eye, to give him a hug, to let her know, I get it. You’re not alone?” That's the way Joe Biden lives, and it's inspiring.

I wish I liked this book more than I did. The Biden family story as they say goodbye to their eldest son is told with authenticity and I'm sure it will help others through their grief. But at times, the book reads like Biden's foreign policy CV. I understand that it was important to set the stage, to let the reader know everything else that the Vice President was dealing with as his son fought cancer. But instead of giving me context, this level of detail annoyed me. I didn't care what Joe was doing to smooth the situation in Tikrit, I wanted to know what was going on the hospital room with Beau. 

Still, I'm glad I read it, and I recommend it for a massive dose of much-needed humanity in The Age of Trump.

3.  What will you read next?  
Probably a mystery.

Three Stars Are Born

I saw the Lady Gaga/Bradley Cooper remake and thoroughly enjoyed it. While she was very good, for me, he was the revelation. We are given a backstory for Jackson Maine that John Norman Howard and Norman Maine didn't get. The movie makes more sense. And now it's more about abuse and addiction, not the toxicity of fame. I'll never be famous, but I have known families who have suffered the impact of addiction and mental health issues.

But surprising as she is, Gaga isn't Judy. Only Judy is Judy. So here is my long-awaited ranking of the three musical versions of this story.

Winner, and Still Chanpion

Engaging and touching

I've never liked it, and you can't make me


On September 24, Bob came over and estimated the cost of painting my bathroom. Between the 25th and and October 3rd, I exchanged emails with his boss, John. We agreed on a price of $275 for a 4-hour job. To begin at 9:00 AM on October 8.

To begin at 9:00 AM on October 8.

No one showed up.

John could have called ... or texted ... or emailed. He had many ways to reach me. He chose none of them.

I took a day off work for nothing.

I am completely freaking out about how this work will be done before the tub/tile contractors show up to do the major work.

I am livid.

I.took the day to process my feelings, to chill out. And then, before I went to bed, I left this review over and over again. On Yelp and Houzz and Google and Angie's List. I hope I sounded measured and credible, and perhaps saving someone else from this agita.

I wish there was a no-star option. This contractor came over and gave me an estimate, we scheduled a time, and then no one ever showed up for the work. No call, no email, no text. I can understand someone being overbooked, or needing to reschedule. But to allow me to take the day off work for nothing, to ignore the commitment, is unprofessional. No acknowledgement or apology has yet been offered. Approach this company with extreme caution.