29 June 2007
All rooms feature:
International direct dial telephone
Bathroom with tub, shower, hair dryer and scale
Electronic in room safe
Iron and ironing board
Cribs and additional bed upon request
Scale?? Isn't that counter to the whole vacation experience? :) Actually, it sounds like a very nice option. You know, you're considering heading to the buffet for dinner and you step on the scale and think, hm, maybe I'll head back to the pool for a few laps instead.
28 June 2007
27 June 2007
My organization has announced an asbestos inspection of 10 buildings here on campus.
I don't know whether to be relieved or concerned that my building is not one of them.
I don't know whether to be concerned because I routinely go into the listed buildings.
I don't know if other countries, like, I dunno, Mexico, or St. Lucia, deal with asbestos problems. Or don't deal with them. But I do wonder.
By Paul J. Gough Tue Jun 26, 9:18 PM ET
NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) -
26 June 2007
Yesterday's Yahoo news had the headline:
California wildfire burns 165 structures
If you read the article it refers to "wildfire season". Every year there are fires at this time. EVERY YEAR. To me, that means it's not a wildfire. It's not wild. It's a fire. Apparently a pretty predictable one.
25 June 2007
We were at Whole Foods in Springfield this weekend and there was someone from the country of Georgia offering samples of Georgian wine. It seemed a long way to come and I didn't have high hopes. Shows what I know. The wine was quite tasty and we bought a bottle of one of the whites.
The image show here is the "Famous Georgian vineyards in Kakheti" according to Wikipedia. Wikipedia also says "Agriculture-- especially wine-making traditions -- date back to prehistoric times, and still account for an important share of the nation's economy." ... "Georgian cuisine and wine is highly appreciated worldwide and it has evolved throughout the centuries, adapting traditions from different eras. "
Click on the wine link above and learn why they call Georgia "the birthplace of wine"!
Live. Learn. Do both.
22 June 2007
Staying Within Their Costume Budget: 'Macbeth' in the Flesh
By Jane Horwitz
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, June 13, 2007;
One expects to witness naked human emotions in "Macbeth."
Naked actors, not so much.
Director Jose Carrasquillo has long harbored a vision of "the Scottish play" done with a small cast au naturel. He saw it as a way of exposing more than skin, of peeling back layers to reveal the play's dark, elemental magic and tribal roots. His idea will become a reality at Washington Shakespeare Company, which will perform "Macbeth" tomorrow through July 15 at the Clark Street Playhouse in Arlington.
The 10 actors will wear only a little mud on their legs and perform on a triangular platform bordered by a "forest" of towering, Giacometti-style human figures. They were instructed to stop all shaving, waxing, tweezing or dyeing by May 1. No weight training, either.
Carrasquillo read the Macbeth saga as told in Raphael Holinshed's 1577 "Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland," presumed to be Shakespeare's primary source. "It was tremendous to read it. . . . I just felt that it was really raw and primal."
"From that and my connection to magic realism," Carrasquillo says, "I just have these images that really begin to guide the work." He started with an image of someone emerging naked from the witches' caldron and beginning to tell the story. Nakedness then became the key.
When auditions were held, actors were told of the director's vision. Some left. Those who were cast admit they had to test the strength of their belief in the concept. Kathleen Akerley, who plays Lady Macbeth, says she thought, "It will work if we're all hairy. If we're a groomed and airbrushed style of naked, it'll be misleading."
Daniel Eichner who plays the murderer/usurper Macbeth, also wasn't sure "if I wanted to spend 2 1/2 hours onstage absolutely naked." But after talking to Carrasquillo, Eichner says, he concluded "it clearly was not sexual, not titillating in any way."
Akerley says the nudity took a kind of three-step mental process: "Finding a way to look at naked people without invading their privacy"; wondering "after about five minutes, 'Okay, now what do we do with it?' "; and letting the nudity become "an interesting fact of vulnerable acting."
As for audiences, "some people will deal with it better than others," the director admits. "I believe they're going to have a visceral experience -- not because there are naked people onstage but because of the powerful story [and] how we're telling it. You know, it's a truly scary play."
21 June 2007
I caught a strange film on IFC ("home of the strange films" should be their tag line) by the name of Proof. This is the 1991 Australian film (not to be confused with a variety of other films by the same title, including a more recent one with Gwyneth Paltrow and Anthony Hopkins.)
This particular Proof stars Hugo Weaving, as Martin, a blind man that seeks proof that what he thinks is real is in fact real by taking pictures and having them described to him. This is an intriguing concept on the surface alone but the movie goes much deeper, getting to fundamental issues of trust, kindness, betrayal, power and truth through Martin's interactions with his housekeeper, Celia (played by Genevieve Picot), and his friend, Andy (played by a very young Russell Crowe). These three form an odd triangle as Celia obsessively pursues Martin in disturbing ways and Andy is drawn into an encounter with Celia.
I recommend this film, which often reads like a play. It's well crafted, well delivered and thought provoking.
I give it 3 Jujubees out of 4.
19 June 2007
Yesterday I heard one of the right-wing talking heads* referring to Hillary Clinton as "Shrillary".
That's the best argument against Hillary that he can come up with--that she's shrill??
Here's the thing, though, she's not shrill. Call her monotone if you want. Boring, sure. Dogmatic, okay. But shrill? Not really.
As a rhyme, it's fabulous. But beyond that, it really doesn't work.
So why call her "shrill"? I believe it's specifically to push buttons. The "you don't want a woman as president because all your deepest fears will come true" button.
If you don't want to vote for Hillary, don't. But for heaven's sake pick a better reason than a cheap shot.
And, yes, my button is pushed, too; my feminist button. There's a certain set of vocabulary that is only used for women, intended to demean women, and "shrill" is part of it. Similar to references to "getting your panties in a knot" and "bitch" and "slut" and even more subtle forms like "whiny" and "domineering". There's lots more but you get the idea. Try applying these to men and see if they work. Yes, you could call a man "pushy", for example, but how many people do? Versus, how often it's applied to women?
When was the last time you heard a man described as "shrill"? Not even Howard Dean, legendary screamer, was described as shrill.
Ron White, who can be outrageously funny, said:
I got kicked off the high school debate team for saying, "Yeah, well, fuck you!"
Isn't it so much easier to go for a cheap shot than to really explore positions and develop a cogent argument?
*Note: The vast majority of them refuse to self-identify as conservative or right-wing or Republican. And they'll protest if someone tries to say otherwise. "Oh, no! I'm a libertarian if I'm anything!" or "Oh, no! I defy pigeon-holing. I'm taking as many shots at the right as I do at the left."
And Fox is "fair and balanced".
I think the reasons are three-fold:
- By not affiliating with a particular brand of politics, they don't have to take responsibility for what that brand of politics does at any given point, if they choose not to;
- By claiming they are open-minded and fair, they think they can lure more viewers/listeners;
- Who would want to be associated with a party who's president has the lowest approval rating ever?
This Movie Brought to You by Spotlight-Imagine Films-Dark Horse-Warner Independent-Fred's Productions
Have you noticed how many different organizations it now takes to put out a movie? I'm not talking about the caterers and the sound technicians. I'm talking about all those organizations that take credit before the movie even starts. You know, all those logo images that appear when you think the movie is about to start but in fact you get ten more logo images before it does?
Remember the days when something was simply an MGM production? No more.
I guess with the amount of capital you have to raise to get a movie going these days, the least you can do is give these companies their 3 seconds of glory.
18 June 2007
Rented "For Your Consideration" for $2.99 on Pay-Per-View over the weekend. This is a Christopher Guest/Eugene Levy-written film with the usual suspects: Guest, Levy, O'Hara, Shearer, Willard, McKean, Begley Jr., and so on. There are a lot of famous people in this film, including some of the more mainstream names: Sandra Oh; Parker Posey; Richard Kind; Ricky Gervais; etc. So with a cast like this, I had high hopes.
Alas, this is no "A Mighty Wind". This is not a mockumentary, as Guest does so well. This is a small film about actors working on a low budget film entitled "Home for Purim" who start to hear and believe that they may be nominated for Oscars and how this news changes their lives and the film they're working on. It is an effort by Guest to show the shallowness of Hollywood--hardly a new concept--but For Your Consideration ultimately delivers a shallow product itself. Where other Guest films have left me laughing out loud or at least smiling ruefully, this one raised more gasps than smiles. It seems they may be trying for poignancy but in the midst of all these Hollywood caricatures, it comes across to me as a little sad and cold.
I give the film 1 out of 4 Jujubees.
In April 2007, Amazon.com, the online bookseller, announced a contest honoring the U.S. city which pre-orders the most copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows from Amazon.com on a per capita basis. The promotion will use the most recent U.S. Census data and include all U.S. towns and cities with a population of more than 5,000 people. When the contest closes, Amazon will donate a $5000 Amazon gift certificate to a charity which it feels best serves the winning town. At the time of the contest's announcement, Falls Church, Virginia was the top town. More than 450,000 orders of the book have already been placed on Amazon.
The top 10 [of the top 100] from the Amazon website:
Falls Church, Virginia
Last Week's Rank: 1
Gig Harbor, Washington
Last Week's Rank: 2
Last Week's Rank: 4
Last Week's Rank: 3
Last Week's Rank: 5
Last Week's Rank: 6
Last Week's Rank: 7
Last Week's Rank: 8
Last Week's Rank: 9
Last Week's Rank: 10
Two things I find of interest here:
First, gracing the ranks at #1, #3, & #4 are northern Virginia towns. It doesn't surprise me that there are a lot of readers here. And a lot of disposable income. And a lot of bandwagon jumpers.
Second, Amazon is giving $5K to the town that tops the list. Wouldn't it make more sense to give to the city at the bottom of the list of 100? After all, do we need to reinforce "thems that haves, gets"? How about giving to a town that doesn't have the resources that create a lot of readers or a lot of disposable income but would love to jump on the bandwagon?
Well, at least Amazon is giving something to somebody. Kudos to them!
17 June 2007
13 June 2007
Travel Advisory (June 7, 2007) - Passport Requirements Relaxed for Travel to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda.
On June 7th, the U.S. Departments of State and Homeland Security announced that U.S. citizens traveling to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda who have applied for but not yet received passports can nevertheless temporarily enter and depart from the United States by air with a government issued photo identification and Department of State official proof of application for a passport through September 30, 2007. The federal government is making this accommodation for air travel due to longer than expected processing times for passport applications in the face of record-breaking demand.
12 June 2007
In the latest round of "humorous" spots from Quiznos we are introduced to Jerry, a rather strange looking fellow who was born without taste buds. We are led to believe he is eating at "Wrong Way" because he knows no better due to this affliction. The announcer says "Hey, Jerry, maybe your taste buds just need a kick in the butt!" followed by Jerry ordering the new sandwich at Quiznos and having a strong positive reaction when he tastes it.
Do I want to be taking restaurant choice tips from someone born without taste buds?
Do I want to be taking restaurant choice tips from someone who's taste buds are so impaired that a Quiznos sandwich makes him happy?
I'm thinkin' not.
If this is the spokesperson for Quiznos, I'm thinking the ad execs didn't think this one through.
Am I the only one that scans this ad this way??
11 June 2007
Travel on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Friday-night departures and Sunday-night returns are the hardest options. Traveling midweek can improve your chances about 30 percent, according to experts.
Talk to a live person. Airline agents can sometimes figure out routings that the computer can’t detect. If they find you a match, you’ll have to pay the booking fee for ordering by phone — typically $15 to $30 a ticket — but that’s still better than no ticket.
Check your airline's partners. For example, miles on Delta can be cashed in for award tickets on any of its 19 partners, including Northwest, Continental and Air France.
It’s much harder to hit pay dirt if you search for multiple tickets on the same flight. Better to grab one or two seats and pay cash for the rest than get no free tickets at all.
We head to Georgetown Sunday to picnic with dear friends on the banks of the polluted Potomac. We go into Dean and Deluca which is conveniently located and select quite delicious morsels for exorbitant fees (who else but D&D would charge $3 for ONE average sized grapefruit? just for example) when who strolls in but James Carville! And we nudge each other and say "Isn't that..." "It is... it's..." "...James Carville!" Because let's face it the man deserves to be recognized in a bold way. A bold character like that deserves to be in bold print. He's quite a tall man and very distinctive looking and trailing behind him he's got someone of considerably smaller stature that seems to be a body guard or at least a staffer because they don't appear to be buds.
And so I begin to think... what is it like to be James Carville? He's not a celebrity that people mob but, in DC at least, a huge percentage of the population recognizes him. What level list (in Kathy Griffin vernacular) does that place him on? Is he on the A list for intellectuals but on the C list for paparazzi persona grata? And why aren't people like him more in the news than those of very limited intellectual capacity that show up over and over again these days?
I hope someone bought him a grapefruit.
You know, for his service to this country.
I hope, too, that he'll help get this country back on track. Go James!
08 June 2007
Let's play "What's wrong with this picture?"
I am a Meetup advocate. If you haven't checked it out, see http://www.meetup.com/. Enter your location or your interest and there's probably a group near you that you'll want to check out. In addition to the regular meetup we attend to play cards, we try different meetups from time to time.
So imagine my surprise when I'm scanning the long list of meetups scheduled for this week and I come across a meetup specifically for "Shyness & Social Anxiety". Ummm, do people really show up??
Speaking of "What's wrong with this picture?"... Remember that dopey kids magazine "Highlights" that was always in the dentist's office? Most of it was really lame, even for kids, but I used to love the page with all the hidden items in the drawing. Almost made going to the dentist worthwhile. Almost.
How come there are all these "Hide a Word" puzzle magazines but you never see a magazine on these? Could be a million dollar idea there. And here I am giving it free of charge to the blogging universe. Make a million on it. Go on... with my blessings.
Remember this adorable creature? Alas, kitty is moving away.
We try to avert our eyes as kitty's owners go to war with their landlord who is selling the house out from under them. Apparently the landlord is showing the house without bothering to get clearance from the people residing in it. Signs keep showing up (and disappearing) on the front door about knocking before entering. Strange, to say the least.
I'll certainly miss the cat who exhibited all the charming cat behavior one could ask for...
- shed everywhere,
- kill bunnies/birds/bugs/lizards and leave the bits,
- make sure you stay beyond arm's reach when someone is trying to pet you but jump in their lap when they're about to sip some wine.
Heck of a purrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, though.
I hope kitty finds new neighbors with sour cream to share.
07 June 2007
06 June 2007
There are three reasons you get a reality show:
1) Instructional/Entertaining: You teach useful things in an entertaining way.
Example: Queer Eye for the Straight Guy
2) Funny/Entertaining: You're funny and people want to know what you'll say or do next so they can laugh along with you.
Example: Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List
3) Train Wreck/It's Not Entertaining But I Can't Avert My Eyes: You're life is so disastrous that people tune in to see if you'll get an intervention or cause yourself more harm.
Example: Being Bobby Brown, Breaking Bonaduce, The Anna Nichole Show
Now Bravo has announced that Paula Abdul is doing a reality show called "Hey Paula".
04 June 2007
It offered $1 million for documented evidence of illicit intimate relations with a congressman, senator or other prominent officeholder. A toll-free number and e-mail address were provided.
Hustler offers $1 million for sex smut on Congress
Sun Jun 3, 11:19 AM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hustler magazine is looking for some scandalous sex in Washington again -- and willing to pay for it.
"Have you had a sexual encounter with a current member of the United States Congress or a high-ranking government official?" read a full-page advertisement taken out by Larry Flynt's pornographic magazine in Sunday's Washington Post.
The last time Flynt made such an offer was in October 1998 during the drive to impeach President Bill Clinton' name over the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
It offered $1 million for documented evidence of illicit intimate relations with a congressman, senator or other prominent officeholder. A toll-free number and e-mail address were provided.
In the following months, the pornographic publishing mogul threatened to
expose one or two members of the Republican Congress pushing for the impeachment, according to media reports at the time.
That long-awaited expose, published months after Clinton's trial, dropped no
bombshells, according to a 1999 Slate.com article, but Flynt's efforts played a
role in the resignation of House-speaker designate Bob Livingston of Louisiana.
Flynt's target this time, if he has one, was not immediately known.
So I'm wondering:
- Will this inspire women and men to seek out these kinds of relationships for the get rich quick aspect?
- Will this curb congress member interest in sexual dalliances?
- Will I get a smut-related ad on my site because I posted about this?
03 June 2007
I don't know what other people are seeing but I'm seeing an ad on my site for a Belize resort. Way cool! Writing about the tropical resorts got me an ad about a tropical resort. Yay!
Maybe this business of blog ad software scanning for keywords and providing related stuff is a way of reinforcing that you should focus on what you want, not what you don't want, because whatever you focus on is what you will undoubtedly get in this life. This is a theme that was reinforced many times and many ways in a training session I attended this week. A quote I really liked from the course: "Change is constant and inevitable. You can get bitter or you can get better." So true.
Be careful with what energy you put out there. The universe (and blog ad software) complies with whatever you ask for.