Monday, 7 January 2013

08:04 – Barbara’s dad is doing well, all things considered. They admitted him to the hospital late yesterday afternoon. At first, they tried to release him, but Barbara wasn’t having any. He has pneumonia. She pointed out that the last time he was in the hospital, it was for MRSA pneumonia, and that may well be the problem now. So they agreed to admit him. He’ll be there for at least three days.

We’ve started watching World Without End on Netflix streaming. It’s the sequel to Follett’s Pillars of the Earth, and it’s not bad unless you’ve read the book. If you have, you quickly realize that this mini-series is the Readers’ Digest Condensed Books version. It’s simply not possible to compress a large book into eight hours of video. Doing it properly would have required more like 40 to 50 hours of video, so this mini-series is just hitting the high points.

The amusing part is how they’ve literally cleaned things up to suit modern sensibilities. The series is set in the mid-14th century, but all of the actors look as squeaky clean as if they’d just gotten out of the shower. The real 1300’s in Europe were characterized by filth and squalor. Most people, including the wealthy, bathed once a year, if that. The dialog also reflects modern sensibilities. Women argue with men, and peasants with nobles. In real 14th century Europe, women and peasants were just one small step above livestock. I take it back. They were one step below livestock. Livestock was valuable; women and peasants weren’t. Women and peasants who were foolish enough to argue with their superiors had very short life expectancies. That famous scene from History of the World: Part I where Mel Brooks as King Louis was shooting skeet with the peasant as the clay more accurately reflected the relative importance of peasants and the upper classes.