On Sunday, Feb. 2, the film society will present “Captain Phillips” at the Whallonsburg Grange hall at 1 p.m. This is the true Oscar nominated story of an American cargo ship that was boarded by Somali pirates and the rescue of the ship’s captain from a lifeboat where he was held by three captors. Tom Hanks plays the role of Captain Phillips. The real Captain Richard Phillips, who lives in Vermont, wrote a book about this event and he will be at the Grange to attend the screening and answer audience questions. The ticket price for this special showing is $7.50; the gambrel -roofed Grange is located in the heart of Whallonsburg on Route 22.
On Tuesday, Feb. 4, there will be a talk at the Grange as part of their new Lyceum series on the natural world of the Adirondacks. A SUNY professor will discuss the origins of the Adirondack Mountains at 7:30 p.m. The cost is $5 with no charge for students. While the Green Mountains of Vermont and the Adirondacks are physically close to one another, they are not at all related geologically. The Adirondacks are part of the Canadian Shield, a massive rock formation that covers most of central Canada, while the Greens are part of the Appalachian chain that runs from Alabama to New Brunswick.
I’m in southern Alabama myself at the moment, where Christmas trees are still on display along with early decorations for Mardi Gras. In the United States, the observance of Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is pretty much confined to the coastal areas of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. For the devout, it’s the last opportunity to feast and get a little wild before the beginning of Lent, the decidedly penitential 40 days leading up to Easter. Other than Christmas, this is the biggest holiday of the year here, with elaborate parades, fancy dress balls, public misbehaving and purple, green and gold decorations all over town. Trees are festooned with strings of cheap beads, clothing is kept to a minimum and it’s the one time of the year when blacks and whites freely intermingle and ignore the social constraints that usually keep them well separated.