Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald was fantastic! It really was, but that’s all I’m going to tell you. Remember #Keepthesecret #WandsReady. But what I will say is to make sure you have read all the Harry Potter books and seen the movies (which are good, but they don’t give you the good gossip like the books do) and re-watch Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them again, because you are going to need some background information due to secrets, spoilers, and all the information you learn at Hogwarts to try and figure out what is going on in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald.

Mom and I went for the 10:15pm show on Thursday November 15 (so the day before it ‘officially’ opened). Its sad that they no longer have the midnight shows and instead have 8pm or 10pm shows. There were not too many people in our theater, maybe a dozen, but they were all pretty quiet. There were even two girls dressed up in the latest Hogwarts fashion.

It was fantastic to get home after seeing Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald to find that the book was waiting for download! I love my Kindle – its almost magical!

 

Jon Meacham and the better angels of our nature

I attended the 2018 Distinguished Carlson Lecture tonight which was given by Pulitzer Prize-winning presidential historian Jon Meacham. It was held at Northrop Auditorium and the place was packed. So packed that I was forced to sit in the nosebleed section on the balcony. There was a big screen, so it was easy to see Meacham, but the closed caption they were displaying was horrible and made too many mistakes. I have no idea if it was human or computer writing those words.

Here is the blurb on the lecture: “Pulitzer Prize-winning presidential historian Jon Meacham will discuss previous moments of crisis and partisan deadlock in American history and suggest how previous generations — and we, in our own time — transcended hours of fear by heeding what Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature.”

Presidential historian, Pulitzer Prize winner, and contributor to TIME and The New York Times Book Review, Jon Meacham is one of America’s most prominent public intellectuals. A regular guest on Morning Joe, he is known as a skilled raconteur with a depth of knowledge about politics, religion, and current affairs. Meacham brings historical context to the issues and events impacting our daily lives.

Debuting at No. 1 on The New York Times bestsellers list, his new book, The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels, examines the present moment in American politics and life by looking back at critical times in U.S. history when hope overcame division and fear” (http://www.northrop.umn.edu/events/distinguished-carlson-lecture-featuring-jon-meacham).

Meacham is incredible smart, very funny, and knows how to work an audience. I had heard some of his stories before at Barbara Bush’s funeral and on a C-Span Book TV talk, but they were still fresh and funny. Wendy Nelson, Chair of the Carlson Family Foundation, moderated a talk after the lecture, but I only heard part of it as I went to stand in the book signing line. As I was there 15 minutes early I figured I would be the first person in line, but no. Sadly I was the second person in line. I already have an autographed copy of Meacham’s new book The Soul of America, so I brought two of his older books to be signed: Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power and Franklin and Winston. Strangely I was questioned by a Northrop employee while waiting my turn to have both of my books signed. Apparently this person was anti two books and wanted me to make the choice of only one book. Really? I asked if she was making me make a Sophie’s choice decision. She didn’t respond, so perhaps she did not understand the reference or had no sense of humor. I would have picked the Jefferson book. What’s even more strange was that earlier in line another Northrop employee looked at both my books and put my name on little post-it notes in both books so my name would be spelled correctly and had no issues with two books. Was this woman anti-book or maybe she did not like how I had old books and I was not buying a book there at the signing. Whatever. She put my two books down on the table and I walked around her. So long story short, I prevailed and had both books signed. I don’t know if Meacham heard any of this, but when I was waiting for him to finish autographing my books he said “That’s a lot of dead trees”(referring to his two books) and I said “I’m a librarian so I’m use to dead trees.” Like I said, he is very funny.

100 years since the WWI Armistice

Today, Sunday November 11, 2018, marks 100 years since the WWI Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918, bringing an end to WWI. The total number of military and civilian casualties in World War I is around 40 million with 20 million deaths and 21 million wounded. This includes the total number of deaths of 9.7 million military personnel and about 10 million civilians. This really was the war to end all wars, but yet no one really learned anything did they.

Poppy art from the “14-18 NOW poppy sculptures Wave and Weeping Window at 19 locations around the UK until the end of 2018. The sculptures have now been seen by over 4 million people” (https://www.1418now.org.uk/commissions/poppies/locations/#main).

 

The 1915 poem “In Flanders Fields” by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae (he died during the war) tells of the bright red wildflower and how it was a symbol of hope because it once grew on the battlefield.

In Flanders Fields

John McCrae (1872 – 1918)

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row, 
That mark our place, and in the sky, 
The larks, still bravely singing, fly, 
Scarce heard amid the guns below. 

We are the dead; short days ago 
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, 
Loved and were loved, and now we lie 
In Flanders fields. 

Take up our quarrel with the foe! 
To you from failing hands we throw 
The torch; be yours to hold it high! 
If ye break faith with us who die 
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow 
In Flanders fields.

 

10,000 lit torches in the Tower moat for the week long remembrance. Tower of London, 2018
(Photo from https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-46159800 and Reuters)

 

The 100 year commemoration of WWI started in 2014 and will ended this year in 2018. For the past 4 years there have been many poppy displays, but the best one I believe was the one at The Tower of London in 2014.

HM Queen Elizabeth II at the The Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation, created by artist Paul Cummins, Armistice Day on November 11, 2014
(https://www.itv.com/news/2014-10-16/queen-lays-wreath-at-tower-of-london-poppy-memorial/)

 

Tower of London, The Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation, created by artist Paul Cummins, Armistice Day on November 11, 2014
(https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/tower-of-london-poppies-online-campaign-set-up-to-keep-installation-for-a-further-year-9838449.html)

Vote

Election Day 2018. I was the #174 person to vote in person today in my little town.

Nothing like a nice new ballot in the morning!

Vote

Josh Groban with the Boyer-Kerminski family

Friday afternoon I received a call from my friend Kelley asking me what I was doing, grading papers was my non-exciting answer, and she asked if I wanted to attend the Josh Groban concert tonight at the Excel Energy Center with her family. We would have club level suite and they were free! Hello! YES! So I went with the wild and crazy Boyer-Kerminski family and had a wonderful time.

We found our box and seats and then went in searched of food. I got a turkey sandwich and everyone else got the beef sandwich. The food was wonderful. I also got us some cookie dough and milk balls. Chocolate chip cookie dough! How fun is that at a concert. There were also free beverages in our suite.

So Josh Groban was on his Bridges Tour with special guest Idina Menzel and Saint Paul was one of his stops. Idina Menzel sang first, from 8pm-9pm, and was amazing. She sang songs from Barbara Streisand and also from Wicked and from Frozen. Who does not love ‘Let it Go’? She has an amazing voice. Then there was a 30 break and Josh Groban came out to sing and he sang for about 1.5 hours with one encore. There was also one point where Josh and Idina sang together – the song from Once. Josh talked about his relatives in the audience, including his mom and dad, and some were from Minnesota. He talked and joked. He is a lot funnier than I imagined. His singing was incredible, so beautiful and the sound was so deep. A great concert.

Neil Gaiman’s ‘like’!

I posted a photo of the niece and nephew with their new ‘All Hallows Read’ books and Neil @neilhimself Gaiman ‘liked’ the Tweet! How awesome is that! Being hug fans of Gaiman, we were so extincted that he saw and event ‘liked’ the photo. Thanks Neil!

The hard drive has died. Long live the hard drive.

The hard drive has died. Long live the hard drive.

So the old hard drive died (it had 67 days left on the original warranty – so yep it was still new) and I called HP Tech Support and got an appointment for a week later since they were coming out to my computer. Their first suggestion was that I mail my computer off to them. No. No. That was never going to happen. So on the day of arrival, I had to be up and awake at 8am and that was not fun since I went to bed a 3 am (hello I have a job with bad late hours), but it was workable as I needed my computer fixed. But the HP IT dude never arrived. Said he was still busy with a printer in Minneapolis and would try later in the afternoon. So he called later in the afternoon and still a no go. Long day with a printer and he can’t come to fix my computer until next week. My guess is that because it was just after 4 pm he did not want to fight the traffic, road construction, and rain to arrive at my house to fix my computer. Nope happy with HP’s customer service.

So a few really cranky hours late I am still fighting with the HP All-In-One to get it to open (not waiting anymore for an HP IT dude. Doing it myself), when Sloane and the kids arrived for Halloween. Thank god for Sloane! She took charge, got the All-In-One open, took out the hard drive, and put in the new one. Then I sprayed it down with canned air to get out the dust bunnies and closed the lid. Done! But not quiet, because I still had a few hours to go to add the software and a bunch of other things – like Word, Adobe, Firefox, Chrome, moving over bookmarks, etc and deleting out Internet Explorer or whatever they are calling it these days. No bad browsers on my computer.

Moral of the story…you can change the parts in your computer! Just give it a try. Whats the worst that can happen? So you break it. Big deal. You just buy another part or another computer. Remember computers are not rare. They are no longer little Mona Lisa’s prized beyond believe. They are tools like a TV or a microwave and you use them and when they break you try to fix them on your own and if not find another one. Sloane and I watched a YouTube video on how to open and take out the hard drive and so can you. Girl Power!

Another year, celebrating another All Hallows Read!

Celebrating Neil @neilhimself Gaiman’s ‘All Hallows Read’ with the niece and nephew who were a ninja and Black Panther this year. This years book’s included ‘Cinder’ by Marissa Meyer for Louisa and “Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #0: The Many Lives of Doctor Who” for Julian. Happy All Hallows Read! #AllHallowsRead

Witch’s Brew Frappuccino

My local ?Starbucks? made me a sample of their Witch’s Brew Frappuccino. Think orange flavor with slimy chia seeds, but with a purple look. All I could think of was that I was drinking a chia pet. Ch-Ch-Chia! ?