Products of a mellow brain on a gorgeous Sunday:
Fall is New Jersey’s most beautiful season. I never used to think about it when I was younger, but now I glory in it: the snap in the air, the change in the sun’s angle that turns daylight to gold, and the colors. The colors! Orange, magenta, yellow, brown and above all, blue, blue sky and dry clear air.
Apples are a natural this time of year, but be careful if you buy them pre-bagged by store personnel. The labels they apply are not always accurate, even in stores that advertise themselves as the doyennes of all that’s fresh. When I recently bought a store-packed bag of what I thought were Macouns, I got a nasty surprise—Macintosh, as I found out when I bit into the first one. I like tart, but Macs can sometimes make my eyes cross.
Were mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato and Claire Danes separated at birth?
Speaking of Claire Danes, I finally caught the first episode of “Homeland” last night, and this one’s a keeper. I never particularly cared for her before, but if Episode One is any indication, she’s going to be turning in an Emmy-winning performance. Her character, a CIA operative who pops anti-psychotics, is beyond obsessed. Damien Lewis, the target of her drive to find the truth, is appropriately cast as the man of mystery. I would hate to sit across a poker table from him–he gives away nothing. The central plot–has this heroic Marine sergeant been turned by Al Qaeda or not?–intrigues, and is an excellent building-block. Who are his contacts? Are there—gasp!—turncoats in the highest levels of Homeland Security? There’s an added bonus: Morena Baccarin, having returned from “Firefly” and “V” sci-fi land, has her own secrets as Damien’s wife. She’s such a changeling–I first saw her in “V,” and when I started watching “Firefly” on DVD, I couldn’t believe it was the same actress. Ditto for “Homeland”: I thought she looked familiar, but didn’t recognize her until she smiled, revealing that distinctive lip curl. And wonder of wonders, “Homeland” may have finally provided Mandy Patinkin with a role I can tolerate him in.
Adopting an adult cat is an endless opportunity for discovery. My boy Gregory was 4 when I adopted him from the Monmouth County SPCA earlier this year, and it’s been a trip. His first quirk? A total fetish for anything that crinkles, especially cellophane. He used to climb up my legs to get to the goodies when I unwrapped a peppermint, but since he weighs a good 16 pounds, we put a stop to that, pronto. Soon after I found out he was an ace volleyball player: crumple up any piece of paper—used Post-It, losing lottery ticket, drug store receipt—toss it in the air, and up he goes, catching the ball with his two front paws, and spiking it to the floor. And aside from being such a handsome devil (and a total mushball), he’s become the resident go-to guy for my other cats. He soothes Miss Teddi when she gets upset, and wrestles with Roger as the mood takes either of them. Just a terrific addition to the family.
I like Halloween, but since when has this become such a major holiday? When I was a kid, it was for kids—now the merchandise and decor is out in the stores at the end of August and adults—who should know better—have basically co-opted the day and the festivities leading up to it from their own kids. What truly irks me, though, is that no one seems to care about Thanksgiving any more. It’s been reduced to a minor blip on the road from Halloween to Christmas. Well, guess what: Thanksgiving is, was and always will be my favorite holiday. Don’t get me wrong—I love pumpkins, witches, skeletons and all that, but it really doesn’t satisfy me. So go Team Pilgrim!