So. It’s May? That seems wrong. For my own part, March was the month that would never end, but then I did not notice April at all. Time is meaningless.
The pleasant weather we’ve been experiencing lately seems a tad spiteful since there are such strong limitations on how much we can enjoy it. Sure, we can go out on walks and bike rides if we maintain social distancing. People are playing golf and hiking. This is when we start feeling itchy. This is when it’s tempting to talk ourselves into flouting medical advice and just going out.
We are, as a wise man named Meat Loaf once warbled, “all revved up with no place to go.” Granted, that song is about—ahem—something else, but the phrase feels applicable here.
If you need help resisting the temptation to go out and about in the world, here are a few recommendations for passing the time at home.
Reading: “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson
The weather’s nice and I so desperately want to get out, leave town and go on some adventure somewhere. That doesn’t feel too likely, though, so I’ll just read some adventure stories instead.
“Treasure Island” is as ubiquitous as they come in the adventure genre. Full text is available from Project Gutenberg, Archive.org, and several other online sources. As of today, you can also check out a physical copy from the Hailey Public Library.
Some other favorites that are available online? “The Prisoner of Zenda” by Anthony Hope, “Jamaica Inn” by Daphne du Maurier, “Tarzan of the Apes” by Edgar Rice Burroughs, “Beau Geste” by P.C. Wren and “Huntingtower” by John Buchan.
If you wind up reading any of those, many have excellent cinematic adaptations available for streaming. Hitchcock’s take on “Jamaica Inn” is great fun. The Gary Cooper “Beau Geste” is an all-time great. And speaking objectively here, “Muppet Treasure Island” is the best adaptation of its namesake novel. Plus, it has that incredibly relatable “Cabin Fever” song.
Viewing: Anything featuring Irrfan Khan
I was upset to wake up on Wednesday morning to the news that beloved Indian actor Irrfan Khan had died at the age of 53 of a neuroendocrine tumor.
Khan’s may not be a name you recognize, but I bet his is a face you’ve seen. He was widely regarded as one of the most nuanced actors from contemporary Bollywood, and became one of only a very small handful of Bollywood stars to make regular appearances in major American and British films like “Life of Pi,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” “The Darjeeling Limited,” “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “Jurassic World.”
Naturally, none of those are available for streaming without extra rental costs, but both Netflix and Amazon Prime have a great number of his Indian films included in subscriptions.
IMDb credits Khan with 149 screen appearances. Watch any of them, whether a leading role or a supporting, a Hollywood film or a Bollywood, you’ll see an actor of great, understated talent.
Listening: “Bat Out of Hell” by Meat Loaf
OK. I’m going to date myself here—albeit very inaccurately. The album I most associate with college is 1977’s “Bat Out of Hell” by Meat Loaf.
“Bat Out of Hell” is one of my favorite albums, and not just for all the memories built around it. I love the campy theatricality of the whole thing, the melodramatic narrative of the songs, the few very questionable musical decisions. (I’m looking at you, baseball interlude from “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.”) Of course, some songs are just so wonderful. Tell me what’s not to love about “Hot Summer Night.”
More importantly, it’s a summer album, through and through. As the weather warms up and summer approaches with all its illusory promise, give “Bat Out of Hell” a listen. Or, like, forty listens.
“Bat Out of Hell” is my college album. If you have a college album, or a high school album, or one that you listened to during the best summer of your life—if you have a cherished album that speaks to one particularly good time in your life, listen to that.
For the Kids:
Actually, it’s been so nice out, the kids should probably just go out and play, but I understand it’s difficult to keep them from getting too close to other kids, and that could raise some problems.
Fortunately, since all this started, the Wood River Community YMCA has been posting long, detailed suggestions of what to do with kids while at home.
The posts come on a weekly basis, so they have seven up at the moment. Each one has suggestions for physical activity, art projects, educational undertakings and more.
The Y has been emailing these out to its members, but they are also all available for free online. Visit woodriverymca.org/at-home-activities for the full catalogue of suggestions to keep kids happy, healthy and engaged