In Tune With June!

I’m hooked! I’m hooked on a mystery-laced soap dramedy. Huh? Well, it’s not easy to describe television’s “Desperate Housewives.” How did this happen? I never watched it before – never watched the original showings. I got hooked by the reruns. Whenever I am eating lunch at home, I turn on the TV and that’s how I found back-to-back episodes, five days a week. Now I look forward to lunch at home with the antics of Wisteria Lane on the tube.
Actually, it’s easy to see how “Desperate Housewives” can appeal to everyone: young, middle and old since it combines comedy, drama, action and beautiful women. It’s fun to watch four gals whose lives are anything but idyllic. There’s klutzy Susan, the divorced mother of a teenage girl; Lynette, who is married to Tom and the frazzled mother of four; Bree, the neighborhood’s Martha Stewart masking major dysfunctions; and ex-model Gabrielle, married but she wants to have her cake and eat it, too.
I find myself wondering who will be killed this season – I thing it’s the fourth season. I also wonder why I am still watching!
“Heaven can wait. This is paradise.” Those song lyrics came to my mind as I made my way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Roof Garden. It is the most dramatic outdoor space for sculpture in New York City. It opened to the public in 1987 and features selections of modern sculpture by individual artists.
Presently, there’s “Maelstrom,” an installation artwork by Roxy Paine. It weighs more than seven tons. As you can imagine, it’s an awesome spectacle: a gnarly thicket of trees and branches. The thicket is made of shiny metal rods and pipe: some 10,000 pieces.
Mr. Paine’s universe sees human culture as part of nature. The real trees in Central Park surrounding the museum enhance this installation.
Being on the roof is akin to being on top of a beautiful world. The Met, a landmark building, measures almost a quarter mile long and occupies more than two million square feet. You’ll be thrilled by the panoramic views of Manhattan the roof offers, weather permitting. And, of course, there’s beverage and sandwich service. Whenever I’m away from home I always look for two things: food and the ladies room.

What’s a person to do? Both “The New York Times” and “ The New Yorker” raved about an Italian film. Unfortunately, it wasn’t at the South Cove Stadium in Bayonne. However, I thought I was lucky. When visiting my family in Chappaqua (no, I wasn’t visiting the Clintons!), I was told that “Il Divo” was playing at nearby Pleasantville (a lovely town that lives up to its name). So-o, off we went, my son Andy and I – popcorn in hand.
“Il Divo” is the story of an Italian prime minister who has been elected to Parliament seven times. The tale no doubt resonates for those who know and understand Italian politics. Most of its real-live characters are unknown outside Italy. The complicated, shadowy relationships among politicians, the mafia and the Vatican are difficult to decipher – too difficult for me.
I found it almost impossible to follow or understand the story. It throws more names at you than the Naples phone book. I went in knowing nothing about post-war Italian politics, and I came out again having learned little more. My son felt the same way.
So-o, I guess I can no longer go by reviews in “The New York Times” and “The New Yorker.” However, there’s a bright light and that’s the experience of going to the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville. It opened only eight years ago and it celebrates film and its power to entertain and inspire. The center presents a wide range of current, independent and foreign films. When we selected “Il Divo,” we simply picked the wrong one. If you’re up for a lovely, long drive, take Saw Mill Parkway North Exit 30, or South Exit 29. If you need more info, phone (914) 773-7663.

Rose Reynolds from the Health Bones class at the Bayonne Public Library is so kind. I mentioned a new book about my brother-in-law, Herb Sturz, called “A Kind of Genius,” and one week later she presented it to me. Most folks outside Bayonne would wonder who he is since he has eschewed the public’s eye. And they might wonder why he deserves being referred to as a genius.
Personally, the Herb Sturz as I know him is a serious and soft-spoken man (with a wonderful wife, Elizabeth). But his achievements are many. The author of “A Kind of Genius” is Sam Roberts, no relation to Cokie and Stevie. Sam Roberts is a correspondent for “The New York Times.” In his book, he tells of Herb’s multiple achievements as a New York public servant addressing intractable social problems, helping the poor, the unemployed and the elderly. His innovative programs are always grand toward improving and bettering the lives of the disenfranchised. In fact, Herb has spent his life fighting for the underdog.
“A Kind of Genius” is a tough read, but most interesting for those in Bayonne who know him. If you remember when he was growing up in our city, you’ll enjoy it. You can borrow it from me and I’ve asked the Bayonne Library to get it too.

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