Grim, grim, grim.
Looks like we're doomed to four more years of wrongheaded, incompetent government. Here's hoping we survive...
Hard to believe the American people are foolish and gullible enough to elect Dubya after his disastrous first term.
Got a couple of time travel films from Netflix. Time travel is possibly my favorite sub-genre of science fiction, ever since I first read A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (Was that the first time travel story ever?)
Film: (DVD) DittoTwo Korean college students communicate via a damaged ham radio...except that he's in 2000, and she's in 1979. '79 was a very eventful year in Korea, with a student revolution that caused the fall of dictatorship and the rise of democracy. The film seemed a bit amateurish, and much of the acting was way over the top.
Film: (DVD) Somewhere in TimeChristopher Reeve goes back to 1912 after he falls in love with a woman in an old photograph. Generally disappointing, not recommended.
eBook: Marque and Reprisal Elizabeth Moon, 2004This is the sequel to Trading in Danger, following the adventures of Kyala Vatta as her family's interstellar shipping company comes under attack from mysterious enemies.
Iolanthe at M.I.T.Opening night. Good audience, good performance, I think this one's going to be a hit.
eBook: The Rackham Files Dean Ing, 2004A sci-fi detective series, except the last story turned into a Nuclear Armageddon survival tale. Heavy second amendment political agenda, not a wonderful piece of work.
Film: (DVD) Tokyo Joe Stuart Heisler 1949A Humphrey Bogart film I had never seen nor even heard of before. Looks like an attempt to re-capture the "formula" of Casablanca, many similarities. Bogart is an Air Corps veteran returning to Occupied Japan as a civilian. Before the war he had run a night club called
"Ricks""Tokyo Joe's." A couple of weeks before Pearl Harbor, he had left his White Russian wife (who was a singer in his club, with a passing resemblance to Ingrid Bergman.) Bogart gets all misty eyed on hearing the song "As Time Goes By""These Foolish Things Remind Me of You." This song is run into the ground throughout the film with interminable repetitions. He then heard that she has died, so 7 years have passed before his return to war-torn Japan. Turns out she is still alive, but has divorced him and married an American lawyer who looks a lot like Paul Henreid.
There's one scene where an officer brings up Communists while talking about the Japanese nationalist plot, but the voice is different, and that bit of dialogue is clearly an interpolation after the fact.
iPod R.I.P. I dropped it on a hard floor, croaked the hard drive. I guess I shoulda gone for the AppleCare plan when I bought it.
eBook: The Grantville Gazette Eric Flint, 2004This is another in the series that began with 1632, actually a collection of fan fiction. I love this concept, but this is not the best of the series.
Film: (DVD) Heaven & Earth Oliver Stone, 1993Biopic of a Vietnamese woman who survives the war and prospers in the U.S.A. Most of the film is set in Vietnam, which is depicted as a peaceful land of great beauty, as it may well have been before the war. I actually got this because it features Billy Bob Thornton, but actually his part is quite small.
Down to FloridaA long, late flight down to Plantation for Thanksgiving.
Film: (DVD) Russian Ark Aleksandr Sokurov, 2002This is a technical tour-de-force, an entire feature film with a cast of hundreds, filmed in a single take! Set in St. Petersburg's Hermitage Museum, it traces the history of Russia from the 18th century to the present. An amazing piece of wok.
Film: SpongeBob Squarepants 2004One of my nephews recommended this feature-length cartoon, and I must admit I did enjoy it, though I was previously unfamiliar with the cast of characters.
Film: (DVD) Fatal Attraction Adrian Lyne, 1987I think everybody in the country but me had already seen this stalker thriller.
Back from Florida.
Film: (DVD) Alex and Emma Rob Reiner, 2003A fun film about a novelist who falls in love with the stenographer who helps him get through his writer's block.
Film: (DVD) Arlington Road Mark Pellington, 1999A paranoid's delight, but I won't spoil the surprising ending.
Film: (DVD) A Room With A View James Ivory, 1986Based on the E.M.Forster novel, life among the shabby-genteel in Venice and England.
Film: (DVD) Amy's O Julie Davis, 2001A sex comedy with hardly any sex, but a pleasant enough piece of fluff.
Went to the doctor for pain in my left foot. Nothing definitive, might be sciatica.
Blood pressure: 110/78
Love seems the swiftest, but it is the slowest of all growths. No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century.
Film: (DVD) Washington Square Agnieszka Holland, 1997Love thwarted in mid-19th century Boston. The heroine is the only daughter of a wealthy doctor, courted by a penniless fortune hunter. I liked it.
eBook: Days of Infamy Harry Turtledove, 2004More alternate history, probably the beginning of a new series (I hope!) The point of departure for this is the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In this timeline, the air raid is followed up by a landing and conquest of the Hawaiian Islands by the Imperial Japanese Army. It's a good read for alternate history fans, but a gloomy one as the Japanese practice the atrocities permitted and encouraged by their evil bushido code of "honor."
Film: (DVD) Out of Time Carl Franklin, 2003A suspense thriller starring Denzel Washington as sheriff of a small south Florida town. Entertaining, not great.
Film: (DVD) Captain's Paradise Anthony Kimmins, 1953One of the comic masterpieces from Ealing Studios, with Alec Guiness as the bigamous skipper of a ferry boat running between Gibraltar and a fictitious North African port. A classic, not to be missed!
eBook Fighting France Edith Wharton, 1915Edith Wharton was in France in the summer of 1914, and stayed to report the early days of the "Great War." The French military authorities allowed her to tour the front extensively. This book was written in the thick of the early months of the conflict, when things were actually going fairly well for the French. Actually, I suspect that it is a collection of journalistic pieces. She makes no attempt at objectivity. Her descriptions of the horrors of trench warfare and of the ruins of pretty French villages are masterful, often counterpointed with descriptions of the local flora, and many uses of reference to color. (Wharton was one of the originators of the profession of interior decorator, and co-wrote the first major book on this topic, so it is not surprising that her writing places so much stress on the visual aspects.)
Film: (DVD) Much Ado About Nothing Kenneth Branagh, 1993I've seen this several times before, but I never tire of it. This masterpiece would definitely place very high up on my "desert island" list. This was the film that started my crush on Emma Thompson, who is absolutely irresistible, as is the Tuscan countryside featured. Michael Keaton is fabulous as Dogbody, and the whole production is one fo the greatest films of all time.
The 2004-05 TV seasonWe're about at the end of the first half of the season. I've particularly enjoyed Desperate Housewives, Boston Legal and Lost. Other new shows I'm following are Jack and Bobby, and Las Vegas.
I'm also continuing to enjoy The West Wing, Scrubs, NYPD Blue, Malcolm in the Middle, Arrested Development, Everwood, Will & Grace, ER and JAG.
Film: (DVD) Let's Make It Legal Richard Sale, 1951A forgettable romantic comedy, mainly notable for the fact that it features Marilyn Monroe in a bit part.
ChristmasTova came in on Tuesday, and George is back from Brandeis, so we've got a full nest again.
Had a quiet Christmas morning in front of the fire. The kids gave me a boxed set of the Shostakovich Symphonies, which I'm greatly looking forward to listening to.
Harriet made a T shirt for George that says: "My parents heard the BSO play Mahler's 8th and all I got was this lousy T shirt!" along with a photo of Gustav.
It was a beautiful sunny day, temps in the low 30s, so I went for a 25 mile ride in the afternoon on my Hetchins, out to Dover (Claybrook Road, Charles River Road) then back via South Street and Kendrick Street. Felt good to be out again, though I was a bit cold near the end of the ride.
Terrible tsunami in South Asia, very scary.
The Christmas RevelsThis year it was a French-Canadian theme, one that is near and dear to my heart. Old friend Walter Locke stole the show.
Film: (DVD) The Witches of Eastwick George Miller, 1987I'm not usually a fan of stuff with magic, but this was great fun, with an all star cast including Cher, Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeiffer in the title roles, and Jack Nicholson as the Devil. Highly recommended.
Film: (DVD) Inherit the Wind Stanley Kramer, 1960I remember seeing this on the big screen when it was new, and was very impressed by it at the time. The techniques and pacing are a bit dated now, and it is sometimes a bit heavy-handed.
It's a fictionalized version of the notorious Scopes evolution trial in Tennessee, 1923. Fredrick March plays the William Jennings Bryan character (with his makeup slathered on a bit too thick.) Spencer Tracy as Clarence Darrow, Gene Kelley as H.L. Mencken. Harry Morgan (Dragnes's Frank Gannon) is the judge, and Dick York (Bewitched) is Scopes. This is a classic, you should see it if you haven't, even though it is sometimes a bit slow moving and obvious.
New Year's EveTova threw a party for a bunch of her friends. Mostly a great success, she knows nice folks. It felt a bit strange, sometimes feeling "loco parentis" urges, but then remembering that they're all adults, and that it's Tova's party.
I hope she'll do it again next year.
|November-December, 1998||April-May, 1975|
|Books reviewed on this page:|
|The Grantville Gazette||Eric Flint||11/15/04|
|The Rackham Files||Dean Ing||11/13/04|
|Marque and Reprisal||Elizabeth Moon||11/7/04|
|Days of Infamy||Harry Turtledove||12/5/04|
|Fighting France||Edith Wharton||12/9/04|
|Films reviewed on this page:|
|Alex and Emma||November 27, 2004|
|Amy's O||November 30, 2004|
|Arlington Road||November 28, 2004|
|Captain's Paradise||December 7, 2004|
|Fatal Attraction||November 26, 2004|
|Heaven & Earth||November 17, 2004|
|Inherit the Wind||December 30, 2004|
|Much Ado About Nothing||December 12, 2004|
|Out of Time||December 7, 2004|
|Das Rheingold||December 30, 2004|
|A Room with a View||November 30, 2004|
|Russian Ark||November 25, 2004|
|SpongeBob Squarepants||November 26, 2004|
|Washington Square||December 3, 2004|
|The Witches of Eastwick||December 28, 2004|
|November 29, 2002||Lorraine Bracco||The Graduate|
|November 23, 2001||Helen Mirren, Ian McKelln||The Dance of Death-August Strindberg|
|September 30, 2000||Tova/Black Box Theatre, Cornell University||The Maids-Jean Genet|
|May 30, 2000||Kelsey Grammer/Colonial Theatre||Macbeth|
|May 26, 2000||The Huntington Theatre Co.||King Hedley II|
|September 3, 1999||The Publick Theatre||Nine|
|August 21, 1999||Orange Tree Theatre, Ithaca, N.Y.||Sonata|
|August 13, 1999||Firehouse Theatre, Ithaca, N.Y.||Sister Mary Ignatius Explains it All For You|
|May 22-29||Newton South/North High Schools||Richard III|
|December 18, 1998||Newton North High School||The Bone Violin, May F lies|
|November 12, 1998||Newton North High School||To Kill a Mockingbird|
|November 21-24, 2007||Plantation, Florida|
|September 25-28, 2007||Las Vegas, Nevada|
|August 18-25, 2007||Truro, Cape Cod, Massachusetts|
|November 22-26, 2006||Plantation, Florida|
|September 25-28, 2006||Las Vegas (Interbike)|
|June 10-20, 2006||Santa Cruz, California|
|May 5-7, 2006||Aurora, Indiana|
|November 23, 2005||Plantation, Florida|
|September 26-29, 2005||Interbike, Las Vegas, Nevada|
|August 26-28, 2005||'Bentride 2005, Bath, N.Y.|
|July 21-24, 2005||Family Reunion, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.|
|April 29, 2005||Cirque de Cyclisme, Greensboro, N.C.|
|February 16, 2005||Indianapolis|
|November 24, 2004||Plantation, Florida|
|October 8, 2004||Santa Cruz, California|
|October 4, 2004||Las Vegas, Nevada|
|June 8, 2004||France, England|
|December 22, 2003||Halifax, Nova Scotia|
|November 27, 2003||Florida|
|October 31, 2003||Potomac, Maryland|
|October 10, 2003||Las Vegas, Nevada|
|September 21, 2003||New York, N.Y.|
|November 27-30, 2002||New York, N.Y.|
|October 8-13, 2002||Evanston, Illinois|
|October 4-8, 2002||Las Vegas, Nevada|
|July 3-9, 2002||Canso, Nova Scotia|
|May 24-27, 2002||Long Island, New York|
|November 21-24, 2001||New York City|
|October 16-19, 2001||Cape Cod, Massachusetts|
|September 29-October 3, 2001||Las Vegas, Nevada (Interbike Show)|
|June 16-23, 2001||Nags Head, North Carolina|
|October 5-14, 2000||Evanston, Illinois|
|September 30-October 2, 2000||Ithaca, New York|
|June 22-25, 2000||Urbanna, Virginia|
|October 7-13, 1999||Chicago/Evanston, Illinois|
|August 19-28, 1999||Ithaca, New York|
|August 12-13, 1999||Ithaca, New York|
|July 23-25, 1999||Bridgeton, Maine|
|November 25-28, 1998||Fort Lauderdale, Florida|