What I Learned This Week: #204

Monday, July 19 – Sunday, July 25, 2021

The Week in Conspicuous Consumption: I vaguely remember ordering a candle wick trimmer weeks ago when my scissors we not…cutting it…as far as reaching down into a jar candle. I guess one day I must have had enough.

Part of my reaction to the pandemic is to buy from small vendors. Thing is, I don’t need things and shopping is a chore. Candles, though, are something I’ll use. Of course boutique candles are WAY more expensive than my usual TJ Maxx purchases, so I want to burn the good stuff properly, ie, trimming the wick before each session of burning, ie feeling the need to own a wick trimmer.

I bought the trimmer with a few other “make my life easier” items, all the rest of which I received within days of placing the order. I’d actually completely forgotten about the trimmer. When I saw a package in my mailbox this week, I thought the package was a long-ago ordered shirt that I believe got stuck in that tanker that buggered up the Suez Canal and was finally set free. Well, it was the trimmer, and, after all these weeks, it’s kind of anti-climatic. And that’s why I try not to order stupid shit from the internet.

The Week in Opera: The Cincinnati Opera got completely hosed in 2020, what was supposed to be their 100th anniversary, but turned out to be a complete bust. This year they were desperate to put on performances and they worked with tight Pandemic restrictions to pull it off.

Most notably, they moved the performances from Music Hall downtown to an outdoor venue, the lawn at Summit Park, in the suburb of Blue Ash. The lawn was marked with squares, “pods,” and tickets were sold by pod. You sit in your pod and no one else is allowed in. The upfront people got chairs, the back people had to bring their own. The opera was minimally staged and lightly edited, with the chorus off stage and just the main cast members and a few dancers.

The entire season is just over two week and they are squeezing three operas in. This week the presented Carmen, squeezing the 3+ hour show into 2 hours with no intermission. Carmen has two “hit” songs, Habanara ( “L’amour est un oiseau rebelle” ) and the Toreador Song and a tragic love story that kills me every time.

Not to get too into it, but when we first meet Don Jose, receiving a letter from his mother, I always want to warn him how tough the next two hours are going to be for him. And Carmen never learns either. One of these days I’m going to go up on stage and just tell the two of them to straighten up and be nice.

The Week in the Olympics: The much maligned Tokyo Olympics began this week. I’m not an Olympics junkie, but I can’t help but get caught up in the emotion and pageantry of the games. I mean, c’mon. These athletes are among the most dedicated, focused, and fit people in the world. Their training and dietary regiments blow me away and that’s BEFORE I even see them compete.

My friends threw a party for us to watch the opening ceremony together, practically a perfect show to watch with a group of people. Very quickly, my geography nerd friends who knew about fun-facts about countries, and my fashion friends who commented on each country’s outfit emerged as our star commentators. Our favorite part of the ceremony, by far, was the acting out of the the Olympic pictograms. Very funny and clever. Go USA!

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