Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Second Prize

I went to sleep at 9pm last night, still slightly ill, and was woken at 10:30pm by New York Video, the generically-named treasure trove of film rarities that provides me with rare classic, foreign, and independent films not yet available on DVD. Missing titles? Late fees? Not at all - I won second prize in their 'guess the Oscar winners' contest, entitling me to 5 free rentals! Woo hoo!

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Oscars 2007 - Things I Liked

¡El Sur Tambien Existe!

Melissa Etheridge (holding Oscar for Best Song): "This is the only naked man that will ever be in my bedroom!"

Alan Arkin - very happy his turn in "Little Miss Sunshine" pulled an upset over Eddie Murphy. He's my sentimental favorite from my 60s and 70s childhood - "The Russians Are Coming" and "The In-Laws," and live on stage "Cuz We're Open For.. Buuusssssiness."

For Argentine composer Gustavo Santaolalla (pictured left), the second consecutive win for Best Original Soundtrack (this year for "Babel", last year for "Brokeback Mountain").

By the way, the Spanish-language title of Best Picture winner "The Departed" is much more descriptive if less poetic: "The Infiltrated..."

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Happy Birthday, Deena!

Instead of a birthday photo, this year I salute my sister Deena with her birthstone, the amethyst.... also known as SiO2..

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Envelope of Wonder

Surely there must be a Nobel Prize category for the person(s) who invented Netflix... Nearly every film ever made anywhere, from the dawn of film history, available to anyone with a mailbox. 'Infinite' shelf-space since you can store in very cheap locations. What statisticians call 'the long tail' of the bell curve - there are many, many titles that only a few people will want, but if shelf space is 'infinite,' these can be stocked, too. There's something for everyone. It's the end of 'monoculture,' where everybody watches the same TV & films and listens to the same music. Instead, personalized, individualized, open-ended culture. What a wonderful time to be alive!

The Talking Heads once sang that "Heaven is a place... where nothing ever happens..."

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Lost my frigging cel phone again. I've momentarily suspended service, but will get a new model by tonight, I hope. It'll be the same phone # anyway...

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In With The New

What a great long weekend! I unveiled and hung my newly framed, black velvet Scissor Sisters poster! I'll try to photograph it at night, without the glare and the reflection of me snapping the picture...

And then there's my pride and joy, my 23" iMac, the (so far) end of my heretofore interminable PC woes... lovely graphics, too...

Cartoon du Jour

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Fresh Air From Foreign Places

This song is irresistible: Click and listen to/watch the delightful "Young Folks" by Peter, Björn & John - you'll be whistling all day.

The whole album is a joy, each song a unique gem. I heart Scandinavian musicians!

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Our Neighbors To The East

First off, one of my favorite new songs, British jazz-soul chanteuse Amy Winehouse with her 60s-Motown take on "Rehab."

Click here and listen to it.

Her last name and hit single title are apt, in she's known not only for her artistry, but also for her erstwhile alcoholic binges..

She's a quirky and unique talent.

Two days in a row I've taken a photo from NYT's website front page.
Can we make these people like us? Would they like us if they got to know us?

More Middle Eastern humor, of the acid kind:

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

It's About Time

Literally. Hope they roll this out quickly.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Good Neighbor Policy

Last night Bart & I did 'Campy Movie Nite' at Chelsea Clearview Cinemas, with Bette Davis in her 60s-gothic-period as "The Nanny." Low-budget but oddly subdued, this British film creeps along as we try to determine who's deranged, the Davis character or a 10-year old boy institutionalized two years earlier for allegedly drowning his sister.

Made in 1964, toward the end of the black-and-white era. The evening was hosted by drag queen Hedda Lettuce, who took up a collection for her own emolument, promising to donate 10% of the take to third world drag queens lacking in wigs, make-up, and other accoutrements.

Be Quiet, Plane

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

White Rabbit

What a lovely story the film "Harvey" tells, with James Stewart as an eccentric, slightly touched soul who dialogues with an invisible six-foot rabbit named Harvey...

Here's Josephine Hull on the left, who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar reprising her Broadway role as Stewart's perplexed older sister... (Hull was also magnificent in "Arsenic and Old Lace" Stewart nabbed a Best Actor nomination as well, the third of four.

I can see why the play "Harvey" won the Pulitzer Price - it has interesting observations on society, sanity, and the mental health profession. It's all quite charming and touching...

I find James Stewart's aura very attractive. Such sweetness and sincerity shine through his many characterizations...

Cartoons are back! In case you haven't heard...

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

They're Back!!!

I really missed these....

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Nasty Weather Strategies

Frigid wind and sleet has descended on New York, creating a slippery, slushy mess.

With no boots, scarf, hat, or umbrella, I was forced to resort to "the tunnel" - inside the subway, it crosses under 8th avenue connecting the downtown and uptown side. It smells worse than a working astronaut. : -) But it does allow me to scoot out my door and dart six feet to the downtown entrance rather than suffer the inclement weather as I wait to cross the street. Pictured above is "the tunnel." Pictured below is my E train, pulling out of the station just as I arrived...

Also, I was dismayed to learn that I walked five blocks in the storm last night to return a video and left only an empty case. Arrgh - must go back today.

I'm as buried in work as New York is in snow - Happy Valentine's Day, everyone...

Last night I saw the excellent "Stalag 17," the 1955 mix of tense drama, intrigue, and comedy set in a German POW camp during World War II. William Holden won Best Actor playing a con artist suspected of being a traitor. This is the film that inspired the much lighter, more sanitized TV show "Hogan's Heroes" (the concentration camp comedy...)

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

OK Go!-ing Places...

OK Go!, the obscure Chicago power pop band whose name I appropriated three years ago for this blog, not only achieved modest success this year, but won a Grammy. The award was "Best Short Form Video," very a-propos since they owe their fame more to video creativity than to their good music. What put them over was their "Here It Goes Again" video showing them doing goofy, silly mock-choreographed dance routines on four treadmills. You can watch this on YouTube by clicking here. Pictured left is the band are in monster-movie garb at the Grammy award show.

Martes Trece: Superstitious people all over Latin America will be very careful today, as Tuesday the 13th is their equivalent of our Friday the 13th. Indeed, the long-running slasher film series, when translated into Spanish, moves to the early part of the work week...

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Where The Snow Is...

...And Why

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

I've been quiet this weekend, peace and quiet and old movies on DVDs. Nothing to report, really, but here are some lovely black-and-white photos from the Times of actors that contributed some of last year's best film performances... From Pan's Labyrinth, the Departed, and Babel...

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

This and That

From my weekend on-line reading, mostly from Newsweek:

1. All about NASA: What's Up With The Diaper...

2. Pitfalls of cult TV viewing: How To Continue Enjoying 'Lost'...

3. Great article on how our national sense of humor was changed forever, to something more irreverant, by the Baby Boom generation's upbringing.

From this last article, my quote of the week. It's about the 'monoculture of pop' in which we grew up, with very few channels and radio stations, etc, so that we all basically grew up with the same music, TV, and movie memories. That ended in the early 1990s, splintering into a thousand overlapping niches, creating a much looser national tapestry and a much smaller collective pool of shared memories...

The quote: "Mass media was its most mass," notes best-selling author P. J. O'Rourke. "It hadn't broken up into all of its microniches. We're probably the one generation on earth with the most points of reference in common."

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Friday, February 09, 2007

Quote of The Day:

"In historical terms, the transition will be very fast. But I am 47. I am in a hurry. " - ” Boris Makarenko, deputy chief of Russia’s Center for Political Technologies.

He was speaking of Russia's transition to a real, mature, middle-class pluralistic democracy. But this is my reaction to the US's transition to being a gay-friendly society. In 20 years, it totally won't be an issue, we'll have marriage or at least civil unions in the US on a national level - the next generation is very cool about it. But I'm 47, and I'm getting tired of waiting!

Cartoon of the Day:

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Flying Home

I am so happy to be flying home today, even though it's freezing in New York - I'm underslept, getting sick, and sleeping in my own bed will be very nice indeed...

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Fire Fire

My building is evacuated, systems down, trading floor silent, in the wake of an electrical fire yesterday on another floor...

Sadly, I'm the fire captain and I'm stuck down here in Colombia. Among my functions is to check the men's rooms and let anyone there know to finish up quickly and exit the burning building : - ) Should be normalized I hope by Friday, when I'm back in the office.

Strange Apparition

I'm still in Colombia, with a bit of a sore throat. We were out late celebrating a colleague's birthday last night, at a lovely, spacious restaurant called, in English, "Harry's Bar". Today, 10 hours of meetings. These trips are a challenge to my stamina. Going from arctic NY weather to 70F and back to arctic tomorrow also wears on the system : - )

A few weeks ago, I saw Guillermo del Toro's "Pan's Labyrinth,"
the most critically acclaimed movie of 2006.

I was not disappointed.

Gothic and surreal, a fairy tale for adults, set against the background of Franco's early years, with a military tyrant and his poor young stepdaughter, who is visited by the magical Pan and asked to perform tasks.

Gripping, engaging, and edgy. One of THREE great films by Mexican directors this season, together with Alejandro González Iñárritu's "Babel" and Alfonso Cuarón's "Children of Men."

On Sunday I saw the harrowing, riveting "Last King of Scotland" and I'll have more to say on that subject shortly....

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007


I arrived in Colombia safe and sound last night. Thankfully, my meetings don't begin until noon! Time to catch my breath.

This is my 103rd trip to the well of international travel... It will be my 66th business trip abroad, my 57th trip to Latin America, and my 33rd trip to South America.

This is only my 2nd time in Colombia - my first time was a day and a night in 2004, and it doesn't look like I'll see very much this time either. Though I may yet be surprised. Happy to be traveling with my colleagues, one of whom is from a Colombian family.

It's a six hour flight, but with no time difference. I just found out that they use the same voltage and type of plug as the US so my electronic army is good to go...

On the plane I saw two DVDs of engaging and well-made, if conventional films. Oliver Stone's "WTC" goes straight for the gut and the tear ducts, it really puts you in the skin of survivors in an inspirational way. My real surprise was "North Country," based on the true story that led the court to rule against sexual harrassment on the job - about female iron mine workers in Northern Minnesota that were bitterly resented by their male co-workers for taking scarce jobs, and who endured countless indignities before someone stood up for her rights. Superb cast - Charlize Theron and Frances McDrummond were rightly Oscar-nominated, and Sissy Spacek, Richard Jenkins and Woody Harrelson were pitch-perfect. Also impressive was the kid playing Theron's 13-year-old son, blew me away. Highly, highly recommended. And now I can return these DVDs to my poor sister, who lent them to me overnight on New Year's Day : - )

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Superfast... and Well-Preserved

In and Out of Whole Foods in 5 minutes! I'm finally appreciating the meaning of Super Sunday, though frigid weather certainly helped. Today I'm off to Bogotá, Colombia for two long, long, long days of meetings tomorrow and Wednesday - I should be back Thursday afternoon.

At the gym, on the TV screen, I saw images of Prince (pictured left) blowing away the crowd at the Superbowl half-time show. He's always been one of my favorite musicians, and I'm glad to see him looking and sounding so great at 48. All those years of healthy living in Minneapolis appear to have paid off...

This trip will go by so fast you won't even know I'm gone.

Superfast. It's a superfast era. Turn around and it's 2007. Turn around and you're gone...

Saw Christi yesterday... We're going to see Les Miserables on Broadway two weeks from Thursday (Feb 22 - old Washington's observed birthday) - I missed it the first time around, though I did read all 1,400 pages of it in French when my eyes had more stamina. Now I just listen to it in French. : - )

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Cowgirl Surprise In Frigid Weather

Yesterday's surprise birthday party for Sunil went off like a charm, in the gay-friendly sawdust of Cowgirl restaurant on 10th and Hudson. It sure was freezing outside, we realized as we roamed the Village looking for a suitable site for post-dinner coffee and/or drink. Must buy me some long johns. Here's Sunil with Norberto and Raj at Sunil's previous birthday party in 2006..

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Happy Birthday, David!

David is currently out on the slopes of Vail with his boyfriend Alex, not a bad way to start a new decade! (I started two new decades with boyfriends, and it really takes the edge off it...) Well, here's one more birthday salute ending a big birthday week for me, Sunil, and now David... Below is David touring perhaps our least interesting and accessible National Park, Biscayne, last year. He sent some great pictures of Sweden that I'll post when I figure out iPhoto and learn to shrink a humongous file to posting size...

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Friday, February 02, 2007

The Shin Bone's Connected To The... Knee Bone

Happy Groundhog Day - hope you only live through it once. : - ) Today, an Ode to the lovely, melodic, intelligent, envigorating indie pop of The Shins, the pride of Albuquerque (their adopted home base). Three flawless albums. I'm hoping to learn soon how to post You Tube videos so you can hear music I want to share...

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

My Next Destination

Early next week, I'll be on a due-diligence trip to South America for a few days, in the city that's home to the Museum of Gold (Museo de Oro). More about this later... In the meantime, a few objets d'art...

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