October 24th, 2020

‘Tiger King’ the cat’s meow


By Lethbridge Herald on April 11, 2020.

LEAVE IT TO BEEBER
Al Beeber
Lethbridge Herald
abeeber@lethbridgeherald.com
I’m doing everything I can to stay safe, keeping my distance from people as much as is humanly possible.
We live in a scary world right now and we owe it to each other to exercise as much due diligence as we can until the COVID-19 crisis fades away into history and our world returns to a semblance of normal.
But even though I have been at the office five days a week, I’m getting stir-crazy and will likely get more so in coming weeks.
I hit the dog park every day at dawn before anyone else gets there to have some peaceful time in nature without fear. I cross the street when walking in the neighbourhood when I see anyone else approaching.
I’m careful. But with the gym closed and social isolation in effect, my weekend routine is completely out of whack.
Being in hockey and baseball pools, I usually keep active at home on my phone and in front of the television set watching sports and fiddling with my team rosters.
Before the NHL went into hiatus, I was second in my online league and was enjoying a bye week as our playoffs began. As the defending champion in the baseball pool, I was gearing up for another fun season with my crew from Ontario.
But now life is completely on hold because of COVID-19 and I sincerely hope that saves all of our lives.
So what does a person do when we can’t meet friends for breakfast or at the gym? When I’m not walking the dogs, I’m scanning Netflix and the movie channels.
And with some new free time on my hands, I’m giving serious thought to teaching myself electric guitar. I suspect it will be harder, though, than alto saxophone which I taught myself in one weekend.
And I’m afraid if the quarantining doesn’t end soon, I’ll be watching a lot of repeats. In recent days, however, I’ve come across some really good television.
Of course, the biggest talk on social media right now revolves around the Netflix documentary series “Tiger King.” This seven-part series about tiger zoos and sanctuaries in the United States and the people who run them is the strangest thing I’ve ever seen on TV.
The star of the show is a gay country musician and tiger breeder/zoo owner named Joe Exotic, who in January was sentenced to more than 20 years in prison for trying to get a tiger rescue person named Carole Baskin murdered.
The series focuses on their conflict but has so many sub-plots and bizarre characters, a viewer never knows what to expect.
I did the whole series in two sessions but with the quarantine in effect, I would recommend spacing it out so you have something to look forward to for a week or more.
I have a feeling the “Tiger King” saga is far from being resolved; Joe Exotic just recently filed a massive lawsuit over his conviction and a couple of the other players in the series certainly raise eyebrows for reasons the uninitiated will learn as they embark on their journey through the “Tiger King” world.
“Tiger King” is a real-life soap opera that will generate a wide range of emotions. People either love it or hate it; I’m in the former category.
My second choice for viewing now is the Adam Carolla-produced documentary on Netflix about race car driver Willy T. Ribbs called “Uppity.” Who, you ask, is Willy T. Ribbs? It’s a good question for the casual viewer because Ribbs may be an unknown figure to people who aren’t hard-core racing fans.
I’d never heard of him until I saw the trailer for the movie and I’m glad I checked it out. Ribbs was a black driver in a white-dominated world who faced racism through many corners and straightaways of his career in various series.
He was the first black driver to test a Formula One car and the first to race in the Indianapolis 500 and the path that led him to the latter achievement is a focus of this documentary which had me cheering for Ribbs from start to finish.
Carolla is a well-known U.S. media personality who has forged a career on radio and television.
He’s also an auto-racing enthusiast, his knowledge and respect for the sport clearly evident in this enlightening and touching documentary.
If you have time on your hands this weekend or on any day, it’s my first choice for viewing.
Stay safe, friends — we’ll chat here again when I’m back. In the meantime, I may see you — at a safe distance — at the dog park.

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