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March 5, 2003

I've figured it out!

There isn't going to be a war with Iraq, and our alliances are not actually in disarray! Rather, Bush and all of our allies are playing an elaborate "good cop/bad cop" routine on Saddam, and it just might work!

Moving all of the troops and weapons to the gulf was necessary to provide the credible threat, but that doesn't mean they're actually going to be used--it is much cheaper and less risky to merely brandish them than to actually wield them.

Opera: (DVD) Tristan und Isolde Richard Wagner

George and I watched this DVD from a live, outdoor performance in 1973, with Jon Vickers and Birgit Nilsson in the title roles. Neither of us had seen this nor heard it in it's entirety before. Unfortunately, the technical quality of the DVD was so very poor that we didn't much enjoy it. Not sure how much I would have enjoyed a better production, better recorded, it's mostly a major downer.

This production had one of those execrable minimalists sets, if you can even call it that. Just a couple of curved stairways that got shoved around into slightly different orientations for different scenes. Bleagh!

March 7, 2003

Concert: Arlo Guthrie

This concert at Northeastern University's Blackman Auditorium was a lot of fun, after a slow start. Arlo was accompanied by his daughter and son-in-law on guitars/backup vocals, and one of his sons on keyboards. He sang some newer stuff, some old favorites, and some of his father's songs, but the best part of the show was his stories.

March 8, 2003

Took delivery on my new Rambouillet frame today, and transferred the parts from my plastic Trek, building it up as a fixed/free rig. Only got a brief ride coming home from the shop, and didn't want to ride too fast because the roads are wet from snowmelt, and I haven't yet installed fenders. I haven't got the position dialed in (need a shorter stem) but my initial reaction is very favorable indeed.

Concert: Boston Symphony Orchestra Beethoven and Harbison

Bernard Haitink conducted Beethoven's 4th Symphony and the world premiere of John Harbison's Requiem.

It has been a while since I listened to the Beethoven 4th. It is a bit of an anomaly: Bracketed by the Eroica and the Fifth, arguably the two most important orchestral works of the 19th century, the 4th harkens back to a more 18th century feeling. I get the feeling this is something Haydn could have written if he had lived a few years longer...not that there's anything wrong with that!

The Harbison seemed OK on first hearing, but it didn't knock my socks off. Partly, I couldn't help comparing with with the Britten War Requiem, which isn't very fair, since the latter is among my half-dozen favorite compositions.

March 9, 2003

Film: (DVD) 61* Billy Crystal 2001

I don't know quite what it is about baseball that makes it so cinematic. There are lots of fine baseball films, far more, proportionally than any other sport. I suspect part of it is because of the anything-can-happen-in-the-9th-inning factor, part to the unique mix of individuality and teamwork. This one followed Mickey Maris and Roger Maris throughout the '61 season and the pursuit of Ruth's home run record.

March 10, 2003

Film: (DVD) Lulu on the Bridge Paul Auster, 1998

Harvey Keitel is a jazz musician struck down by a stray bullet, Mira Sorvino is a waitress/actress. Fate brings them together in a somewhat bizarre film. Keitel can act, and Sorvino is cute as a button with a radiant smile.

March 11, 2003

Film: (DVD) The Other Side of Sunday Berit Nesheim, 1998

Coming-of-age tale, set in Norway in the 1950s. The protagonist is the teenaged daughter of a very strict minister, tempted by evil worldly things like earrings, lipstick, rock 'n' roll and Coca Cola...

It's quite a charming film if you like this sort of thing.

March 12, 2003

Film: (DVD) The Bourne Identity Doug Liman, 2002

A spy thriller mostly set in France, good fun with Matt Damon as an amnesiac CIA hit man and Franka Potente (of Run Lola Run fame) as his partner in flight.

March 13, 2003

Well, we seem to be teetering ever closer to the brink of war. I myself am on the fence, being generally opposed, but not entirely sure that I'm right and that Bush is wrong.

I am quite disgusted with the current French-bashing mood that is abroad in the land. People are saying terrible things about Chirac, who is, after all, the leader of a democracy where an overwhelming majority is opposed to an invasion.

Film: (DVD) Kissing Jessica Stein Charles Herman-Wurmfeld, 2001

This was a pleasant comedy with a lesbian theme.

March 14, 2003

Film: (DVD) Band of Brothers

This HBO miniseries is clearly an offspring of Saving Private Ryan. Produced by Stephen Spielberg, directed by Tom Hanks, it has much the same look, including the high shutter speed action sequences.

This follows a company of the 101st Airborne from training, through D-Day, Market Garden, Bastogne, the Ardennes and on to final victory. It's quite a fine piece of work.

March 15, 2003

Got the fenders on the Rambouillet, went for a brief ride on it. Feels very nice, but will benefit from some wider tires.

Film: (DVD) La Sentinelle

I found this post Cold War spy thriller very hard to follow. No redeeming social importance. Not recommended.

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April 1, 2003

April Fools day

New domain: EnglishBike.com

April 2, 2003

I woke this morning to the news of the rescue of Jessica Lynch. What a story! I have to say, as for myself, at least, the emotional response is all out of proportion to the objective facts.

The story of the captured soldier freed by daring comrades is compelling enough, but there's something primal in the overlying story of gallant warriors rescuing a beautiful damsel in distress. I cried when I heard the news.

April 11, 2003

Film: (DVD) My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Very funny film, highly recommended.

April 13, 2003

Dream: I have arranged to have 5 Poems of e.e. cummings by my late friend Peter Young performed. The performance is to take place at 3 in the afternoon. I somehow manage to oversleep and miss the performance...

Music: Jazz at Brandeis

A fine concert, George had a couple of fine solos, but I ran out of videotape, so I didn't get it.

Film: (DVD) Chloé in the Afternoon

April 15, 2003

Film: (DVD) Groundhog Day

I've seen this before, but it's worth seeing more than once, more than once, more than once...

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April 16, 2003

Steve Grimes 1943-2003 Very sad news, my good friend and former employer died of a heart attack. He will be sorely missed.

I put up a tribute page to his memory.

April 18, 2003

New PDA: Sony Clié

This is so cool!

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1975-98:
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The overall Booklist has been moved to a separate page.

Books reviewed on this page:
War and PeaceLeo Tolstoy5/26/03

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The overall film list has been moved to a separate page.

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The overall music list has been moved to a separate page.

Music reviewed on this page:
March 8, 2003B.S.O., Bernard HaitinkBeethoven, Harbison
March 7, 2003Arlo GuthrieNortheastern University

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Plays:
November 29, 2002Lorraine BraccoThe Graduate
November 23, 2001Helen Mirren, Ian McKellnThe Dance of Death-August Strindberg
September 30, 2000Tova/Black Box Theatre, Cornell UniversityThe Maids-Jean Genet
May 30, 2000Kelsey Grammer/Colonial TheatreMacbeth
May 26, 2000The Huntington Theatre Co.King Hedley II
September 3, 1999The Publick TheatreNine
August 21, 1999Orange Tree Theatre, Ithaca, N.Y.Sonata
August 13, 1999Firehouse Theatre, Ithaca, N.Y.Sister Mary Ignatius Explains it All For You
May 22-29Newton South/North High SchoolsRichard III
December 18, 1998Newton North High SchoolThe Bone Violin, May Flies
November 12, 1998Newton North High SchoolTo Kill a Mockingbird

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Travels:
November 21-24, 2007Plantation, Florida
September 25-28, 2007Las Vegas, Nevada
August 18-25, 2007Truro, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
November 22-26, 2006Plantation, Florida
September 25-28, 2006Las Vegas (Interbike)
June 10-20, 2006Santa Cruz, California
May 5-7, 2006Aurora, Indiana
November 23, 2005Plantation, Florida
September 26-29, 2005Interbike, Las Vegas, Nevada
August 26-28, 2005'Bentride 2005, Bath, N.Y.
July 21-24, 2005Family Reunion, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
April 29, 2005Cirque de Cyclisme, Greensboro, N.C.
February 16, 2005Indianapolis
November 24, 2004Plantation, Florida
October 8, 2004Santa Cruz, California
October 4, 2004Las Vegas, Nevada
June 8, 2004France, England
December 22, 2003Halifax, Nova Scotia
November 27, 2003Florida
October 31, 2003Potomac, Maryland
October 10, 2003Las Vegas, Nevada
September 21, 2003New York, N.Y.
November 27-30, 2002New York, N.Y.
October 8-13, 2002Evanston, Illinois
October 4-8, 2002Las Vegas, Nevada
July 3-9, 2002Canso, Nova Scotia
May 24-27, 2002Long Island, New York
November 21-24, 2001New York City
October 16-19, 2001Cape Cod, Massachusetts
September 29-October 3, 2001Las Vegas, Nevada (Interbike Show)
June 16-23, 2001Nags Head, North Carolina
October 5-14, 2000Evanston, Illinois
September 30-October 2, 2000Ithaca, New York
June 22-25, 2000Urbanna, Virginia
October 7-13, 1999Chicago/Evanston, Illinois
August 19-28, 1999Ithaca, New York
August 12-13, 1999Ithaca, New York
July 23-25, 1999Bridgeton, Maine
November 25-28, 1998Fort Lauderdale, Florida
1988-89France, England
1980Yucatan, Mexico
1975England, Belgium, Yugoslavia, Turkey

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