Paintings at the Met
Without being pretentious but in an effort to look at familiar art more closely, I herewith embark on a project to evaluate the Met’s collection gallery by gallery, selecting the best and the worst – or, rather, my favorite work and least favorite, for I do not confuse my opinion with quality.
801. Delacroix and Ingres
Best: Jean Dominique Auguste Ingres, Portrait of Jacques-Louis Leblanc (1824). This is perhaps not a great or notable Ingres, but there is little of note to choose from in this gallery, and typical Ingres is still pretty good.
Whereas it took Beethoven four notes to write the most famous introduction in classical music – ba-ba-ba, bum – it took the Temptations only three notes to produce the sweetest, most tantalizing, most recognizable introduction in rock: ba, bum-bum. Then the song absolutely soars with a perfect opening line: “I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day. When it’s cold outside I’ve got the month of May.” How can you not be happy when you hear this song? The great Smokey Robinson wrote lyrics of unalloyed happiness: “I’ve got all the riches one man can claim.”
Once Upon a Time…
You are immediately in the hands of a master filmmaker and storyteller and are in for 2:40 of fun plus :05 of trademark Tarantino violence. The story is not much. The setting is pretty much everything: August 1969 in Hollywood, with tons of vintage cars, songs, marquees, famous people and those old metal ice trays with handles you pulled and cubes that came out fractured. There is approximately one interesting character: “Pussycat,” played by Margaret Qualley (Andie MacDowell’s daughter!). The bulk of acting is left to Tarantino regulars
Data analytics having taken over baseball-think in 2019, there’s scarcely a team that hasn’t committed to shifting its infielders at the slightest suggestion of a pull hitter at the plate. Three infielders on one side of second base is no longer reserved, as it was in my youth, for Ted Williams. My observations are based solely on watching Minnesota Twins games this year, but so far I can say that I Hate the shift.
1. and least important is the traditionalist complaint: it dilutes and distorts the classic alignment and function of the nine defensive positions.