January 31, 2008
jerry springer & opera
Photo caption at the NYT:
Harvey Keitel as the titular talk-show host in "Jerry Springer: The Opera." The show, Ben Brantley writes, uncovers something grand in the squalid lives it portrays...nyt
Yes!why don't more people realize how great these shows like Jerry Springer and COPS are?
Unconvinced? Please read this earlier blog entry.
[Damnmaybe I'll write his name in for President.]
January 29, 2008
January 28, 2008
Connecticut town on the sea, probably Stonington (LOC)
Connecticut town on the sea, probably Stonington (LOC)
Originally uploaded by The Library of Congress
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Flickr has got a lot more cool photos from the Library of Congress up on their website.
January 23, 2008
I'm in Banff for a conference on combinatorial game theory.
I'm in the top row with Angela Siegel (and her son Dorian, in the red cap) and Noam Elkies on my right.
I almost missed coming out for the photo on time, so that's why I'm in the top row.
January 16, 2008
Chelsea campaigns at Farm
Back in 2000 or so, I went to the Starbucks at the intersection of El Camino Real & Stanford Ave in Palo Alto to get a Grande drip.
I went in the front door and saw that three people were in the line in front of mesome guy was first, and two college-age students were talking together in line behind him.
Off to my left was a fourth person, a woman who looked like a college student (she was dressed that way, at least). She was standing near enough to the coffee line for me to think that she might possibly be in the coffee line.
So I waited for a moment, judging the mysterious fourth person's intentions. Was she in line, or not? I stepped slightly back.
She stepped back slightly, too.
OK, I thought, she's not in the line. I'll step forward decisively to make sure.
She quickly stepped forward too. I decided to ask her what her intentions were.
"So, are you in the line, or not?"
"No, no," she said, "you go ahead."
I noticed an earbud in her ear. She looked a bit old for the clothes she was wearing. I stepped forward a bit, and she stepped closer to me, too, but not quite between me and the two college students just in front me.
I stepped forward again, and became aware that there was another person watching me on my right. He looked more menacing, and was wearing sunglasses. I hadn't noticed him at all, before.
Now I was standing sandwiched between the "I'm not in line" girl on my left and the 6'3" sunglasses dude on my right. WTF?
I looked outside the Starbucks. I saw another guy with an earbud. The door opened behind me, and I saw two uniformed Palo Alto police guys enter the store.
Then, I finally looked at the person just in front of me in the line.
It was Chelsea Clinton.
If not too clever by half, then perhaps by 1/4 or even 1/3. I still liked it quite a bit.
January 15, 2008
Romney on the brink
People seem to be counting out Mitt Romney if he doesn't win in Michigan today.
I don't care too much who wins the Republican nomination, but surely he'll go on through Super Tuesday, no matter what? That's when everything will be decided, or nearly so.
From Of Grammatology
Pleasure itself, without symbol or suppletory, that which would accord us (to) pure presence itself, if such a thing were possible, would be only another name for death. Rosseau says it:Enjoyment! Is such a thing made for man? Ah! If I had ever in my life tasted the delights of love even once in their plenitude, I do not imagine that my frail existence would have been sufficient for them, I would have been dead in the act (Confessions, Book VII)
Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology, translated by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (what a name!)
January 14, 2008
No Country for Old Men
1) Reminded me of Blood Simple. People don't seem to know that movie. It's the first one I think of when the Coen Bros come up, mostly because when I first saw it, long ago, I remember taking the trouble to figure out who made that movie.
2) The bad guyI was thinking, OKwould somebody please bust a cap in that dude? Similar to the feeling I encounter reading various WWII histories.
3) Texas Tough Guy(s)I like these stock characters, as presented here in their subtle varieties like so many orchids. Woody Harrelson as the fallen Texas Ranger, similar somewhat to the tall guys I remember in the elevators of the Hotel Driskill in Austin, ca 1998; Tommy Lee Jones as the Coke Stevenson variety, big hat, high moralsdefeated in 1948 in a "furious and controversial Democratic Party primary runoff by Austin Congressman Lyndon B. Johnson" (quoth the Wikipedia). Like that 35th governor of Texas (Stevenson), Tommy Lee Jones is set aside (or at least, kept removed) from the action by the forces of a higher evil or lesser good, depending upon one's viewpoint. In any case, the Texas Tough Guy is inevitably shunted off the stage, Daniel Boone to a Santa Anna, although a Santa Anna we're not prone to remember. Finally, the simple Tough Texan, plenty tough himself, out hunting antelope, turning up a drug mess and $2 million instead. The movie invites a person to identify with that character. He's got inner strength ("he always takes care of himself,") says his wifebut when he succumbs to the evil dude I realized, OKhere we're taking a departure from the usual formsthis bad guy is truly the Devil Himself.
Can't win against that.
Here we shall reign secure [...] though in hell. (Milton)
Benny Goodman's Sing, Sing, Sing = AC/DC's Given the Dog a Bone
[ It's hard to find a recording of Sing, Sing, Sing that has the drums at the right level of insistence. I've got a crummy CD version of a mono Sing, Sing, Sing recording made 6 July 1937 by Benny Goodman and his Orchestra. You can turn it up all you like, and it's still found wanting. AC/DC, by contrast, always responds well when played louder. The "Producer's Note" on the Goodman CD apologizes "We feel that these digital versions of mono recordings, many of them made 50 or more years ago, have been transferred as painstakingly and carefully as contemporary technology will allow." Well, maybe so, but I "feel" that sentences that start "We feel..." always wrap up with a disappointment of some kind, and that pathetic apology on the Goodman CD is no exception. I guess I should look for a modern recording of Sing, Sing, Sing. Any recommendations? ]
January 12, 2008
He'll see it coming
"Throw a brick around here, and you'll hit a psychic," said Mark Elliott, a British filmmaker and Buddhist who has lived in Crestone for two decades.
January 09, 2008
January 07, 2008
After Bill Clinton beat Bush the First, way back in 1992, I threw a big party on Dover Road in Redwood City, inviting everyone I could think of.
Now it seems Obama is going to knock Hillary out, and
[ I would be fine with Hillary winning, and I'm actually a fan. But I've had lingering doubts whether she would beat even a weak Republican in the general election (although no one else seems to think that). She somehow seems scheming and/or insincereis it just me? ]
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THANE: Hmmmthis is just too good. But I'm afraid someone's going kill that guy. I hope he's got good Secret Service protection.
GLORIA: I was thinking the same thing.
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From today's (7 Jan 2008) NYT, "In New Hampshire, Bill Clinton Is Finding Less Spark," by Mark Leibovich:
Former President Bill Clinton has been drawing sleepy and sometimes smallish crowds at big venues in the state that revived his presidential campaign in 1992. He entered to polite applause and rows of empty seats at the University of New Hampshire on Friday. Several people filed out midspeech, and the room was largely quiet as he spoke, with few interruptions for laughter or applause. He talked about his administration, his foundation work and some about his wife.
"Hillary's got good plans," Mr. Clinton kept saying as he worked through a hoarse-voiced litany of why his wife, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, is a "world-class change agent." He urged his audience to "caucus" on Tuesday for Mrs. Clinton, before correcting himself ("vote"). He took questions, quickly worked a rope line and left.
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January 06, 2008
Back from Jamaica
The first people we encountered on the road in Jamaica were a jeepfull of tired-looking guys in army fatigues, each carrying an M16. The two in the back looked like they might be about to fall asleep.
THANE: So, is that usual here, army guys driving around with assault weapons?
DRIVER: Not unusual at all.
THANE: What, Jamaican Army, I guess? [I strongly desired the answer to be "yes."]
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