Dream: Pedro Martinez and…”Ocha”?

I’m in Yankee Stadium, though not in any standard seating. Rather, there are cafeteria-style outdoor tables, like for a big picnic. And I’m sitting next to Pedro Martinez, the great Hall of Fame pitcher. We must be friends because when the waitress comes by to offer drinks, Pedro declines for the whole table and says we’re good.

When she leaves, he takes out a jug of ocha — it looks like lemonade. He pours it in everyone’s tumblers, but he misses a lot — like half of it ends up on the table each time. But he doesn’t mind — he’s just smiling and laughing and pouring and missing. When he comes to me, I try to put my cup right underneath the pour, but mine doesn’t do any better. Still, I got enough and I drink it and oh my goodness, it’s so tasty.

“What’s in this thing?” I ask, curious and wanting more.

Muchacho,” Pedro says, and pours me another. “Why you gotta worry all the time?”

At this point, I get something like a Wikipedia insert in the middle of the dream, like a commercial break. And the soothing voiceover says, “Ocha was accidentally discovered by a peasant who stepped on cow urine and moss.”

And then I wake up.

Commentary: The soothing voice is from First Man, which I watched last night, a part of the movie where a space mission is being described. I think Pedro is on my mind because of the Super Bowl. Even though Martinez pitched for my Mets for a few years, he’ll always be a Red Sox pitcher to me, and since the Pats are in it, my mind must’ve made the connection.

Caveat emptor: Please don’t take this as a predictor worthy of a bet on the Patriots for today’s game. My dream is just a dream…

Haiku and Review: Widows

Ocean’s Eight with heft?
No, not even close. This is
thrilling, risky art.

Widows may be the most complete film of 2018: imbued with morally significant themes and yet breathtakingly entertaining. Writing, acting, directing, cinematography — there’s so much talent packed into this movie, and like the four women in front and center, everyone does their job to the fullest degree. Lean and mean, it just clicks.

All I knew going in was that a bunch of male criminals died and left their widows with a serious money problem. That’s all you need to know, too. Talk about female empowerment done right — Widows showcases this better than any film I’ve seen in a long while.

It is a shame that Viola Davis was left off the Best Leading Actress Oscar race, because she absolutely belongs. She’s got her big scenes, but it’s the subtle ones where she truly shines.

Dream: Hogwarts Fraternity

I’m back at the fraternity of my youth, Phi Kappa Tau at Cornell University, except it looks more like Hogwarts than the actual house. No magic, but just the feel of the place, dark and gothic. I walk around all the rooms and marvel at the beauty, how right it feels.

There must be a party going on, because there’s people everywhere. All well behaved, appreciating the pretty things, like the fancy, frilly cushions on the couches. Laughter and merriment everywhere.

Jeff, a fellow Phi Tau, and I are now playing Super Password. It’s competitive; we are partaking in a tournament. It’s his turn to give the clues and for me to guess, and because it’s so loud, I can’t quite hear him. I ask him to speak louder, but it’s really no use — even if I could hear him, I suck. I’m just terrible at this game, and if Jeff had someone with half a brain, he’d be winning this thing. I only guess one clue correctly. And when it’s my turn, I do even worse. We get nothing right.

The house launches itself into the sky. When it lands, the front of the house now faces the back, opening right up to the back yard. The back of the house now faces the driveway. This will be hugely inconvenient, I think to myself, but everyone around me is delighted. Opening that front door and being greeted by the green grass and the tall trees is exactly what they want.

Then I wake up.

Commentary: The Super Password bit is obvious; I’ve been getting weekly allergy shots and the doctor’s office is always tuned to the Game Show Network. Everything else makes no sense whatsoever, but why should it? It’s a dream.

Favorite Songs of 2018

Here’s a list of my top songs for this year, in an order that might be surprisingly mixable. These are not necessarily from 2018; I just happened to have heard them in the last twelve months.

Never Enough, by Loren Allred on The Greatest Showman (Soundtrack)
Sorry, by Halsey on Hopeless Fountain Kingdom
Feel Alive, by Katie Herzig on Moment of Bliss
No Roots, by Alice Merton on No Roots EP
It’s Not Just Me, by Let’s Eat Grandma on I’m All Ears
Babies, by Tracey Thorn on Record
Cycles, by Tove Lo on Blue Lips
Delicate, by Taylor Swift on Reputation
Woodland, by The Paper Kites on Woodland & Young North EP
I Get Overwhelmed, by Dark Rooms on A Ghost Story (Soundtrack)
28, by Lorene Scafaria on Garden Party EP
Somebody New, by The Struts on Young & Dangerous
The River, by KT Tunstall on Wax
Hold Out Your Hand, by Brandi Carlile on By the Way, I Forgive You
The Winner Takes It All, by Cher on Dancing Queen
Capital Letters, by Hailee Steinfeld X Bloodpop on Fifty Shades Freed (Soundtrack)
Brave, by Sara Bareilles on The Blessed Unrest
Trade Hearts (feat. Julia Michaels), by Jason Derulo on Everything Is 4
Need You Now, by Lady Antebellum on Need You Now
Most of All, by Steve Perry on Traces
At This Moment, by Billy Vera and the Beaters on Billy and the Beaters

Which one was the best? I think it’s too close a call between Loren Allred’s soaring Never Enough and the always-melancholy Tove Lo’s Cycles. Both are delightfully painful tunes.