Sunday, October 24, 2004

Book sale virgin

My friend Irene wanted to buy some childrens book for her niece. So, I suggested last month that she get them from the annual public library sales at nominal cost. In particular, that she might be interest in the one given by the library that I go to frequently. Since I've done this every year there, I know the layout and the organization of the books. With the benefit of experience, I briefed her this morning before leaving on the tactics involved. I figured that since her primary interest is childrens books, I'd just point her in that direction while I go off on my usual route. Fifteen minutes later, after I was done, I found her only half way though the childrens section. As I met up with her, she started describing the book she was holding at the time. Realizing what was happening, I told her that she had been using up valuable time perusing, that this is not a Barnes and Nobles experience, that she need to make a select or reject decision of a book within 30 seconds, erroring on selection. Otherwise, she would have no hope of going though them all. Besides, there were just too many people around to do what she was doing comfortably.

In the end, she got what she wanted. We even went to another libary sale nearby. However, after two hours of this, she was burnt out from the experience. But, I'm sure that by this time next year, she'll be an old pro.

Cognitive Dissonance

I wasn't surprised when I read about this. After all, we all have a tendency to believe what we want to believe:
Divide seen in voter knowledge
By Alan Wirzbicki, Globe Correspondent | October 22, 2004

WASHINGTON -- Supporters of President Bush are less knowledgeable about the president's foreign policy positions and are more likely to be mistaken about factual issues in world affairs than voters who back John F. Kerry, a survey released yesterday indicated.

A large majority of self-identified Bush voters polled believe Saddam Hussein provided "substantial support" to Al Qaeda, and 47 percent believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction before the US invasion. Among the president's supporters, 57 percent queried think international public opinion favors Bush's reelection, and 51 percent believe that most Islamic countries support "US-led efforts to fight terrorism."

No weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq, the Sept. 11 Commission found no evidence of substantial Iraqi support for Al Qaeda, and international public opinion polls have shown widespread opposition to Bush's reelection.

In contrast, among Kerry supporters polled only 26 percent think Iraq had such weapons, 30 percent say Iraq was linked to Al Qaeda, and 1 percent said foreign public opinion favors Bush.

The polls results, said Steven Kull, the head of the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, which conducted the survey, showed that Americans are so polarized two weeks before the election that many lack even a common understanding of the facts.


Observatory Night

I'm normally very punctual when attending events. But tonight I decided to be just on time:
The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge sponsors free programs for the general public on the third Thursday of every month throughout the year. The "Observatory Nights" feature a nontechnical lecture and telescopic observing from the observatory roof if weather permits. The lectures are intended for high school age and older audiences but children are also welcome. Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open at 7:30 pm and programs begin at 8:00 pm. Parking is available.
I figured, how popular can A Stroll Through The Sun's Neighborhood be, especially on such an overcast night. I should have gotten a clue when I arrived at 7:55pm to a practically full parking lot. The disappointment, to be turned away even before I got to the door because the Auditorium was already full. Well, this won't happen again next time.

Eyes glazed over

It was quite a difference experience with tonight's Boston Linux and Unix user group meeting. I was really looking forward to hearing from Jim Gettys, one of the original designers of X Window:
The X Window System, Version 11, is the standard window system on Linux and UNIX systems. X11, designed in 1987, was state of the art at that time. From its inception, X has been a network transparent window system in which X client applications can run on any machine in a network using an X server running on any display. While there have been some significant extensions to X over its history (e.g. OpenGL support), X's design lay fallow over much of the 1990's. With the increasing interest in open source systems, it was no longer sufficient for modern applications and a significant overhaul is now well underway.
After an hour trying to follow the presentation, my eyes glazed over how technical the information was. My personal discomfort won over the wish to be polite. I left.

Soft side of Process Improvement

The topic of tonight's SPIN meeting was Saying No: How to Say No to Power, a presentation by Rick Brenner. As a subscriber and reader of his weekly newsletter Point Lookout, I knew it would be worthwhile. And what made the meeting even more enjoyable was seeing Johanna Rothman again as she facilitated the Hiring Initiative Forum - Interviewing Skills from the Employer's Perspective - How to gauge how well someone will function if you hire them.

Only in my dreams

And it was, only a dream. In it, we were fellow travellers and met as strangers. There was an instant mutual attraction. Thoughout the whole interaction, not a word was spoken. And suddenly, she was in my embrace. Then I woke up. But I still felt the sensation of her fingers between mine. Too late, I'm back in this world.

Lilith Fair, Vol. 2

Lilith Fair, Vol. 2Normally, I go in sequence. The reason for Volume 2 before Volume 1 this time is due to one song on the album, Sway. Sway by Bic Runga was the song sung by Carrie Niziolek of the Resonance, an a cappella group during the Greater Boston Invitational Songfest at MIT recently. I was so enchanted by her performance that it piqued my interest to hear it sung by the original artist. In ther version her, I was surprise at how different they sounded. If I hadn't paid attention, I would think they were two different songs. I'm now even more curious to hear the original version. As for the other songs on this album, they were a nice and varied mix. I like them all except for the one by Queen Latifah.
1 Fire on Babylon Sinead OConnor 7:28
2 Never Know Angelique Kidjo 4:51

3 Life Queen Latifah 5:27
4 Island Heather Nova 5:09
5 New Thing Now Shawn Colvin 3:45
6 Angel Sarah McLachlan ... 5:58
7 Down by the Sea Morcheeba 5:19
8 I Do Lisa Loeb 3:44
9 Sway Bic Runga 3:14
10 In the Ghetto Natalie Merchant 4:12
11 Miles from Our Home Cowboy Junkies 4:19
12 Meathook Tracy Bonham 3:13
13 Elmo Holly McNarland 5:41
14 Trampoline Wild Strawberries 3:52

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Definition of relationship

When you say you have a relationship with someone. Which of the following definition do you mean?:

1. The condition or fact of being related; connection or association.
2. Connection by blood or marriage; kinship.
3. A particular type of connection existing between people related to or having dealings with each other: has a close relationship with his siblings.
4. A romantic or sexual involvement.

My friend claims it usually means number 4, and I say number 1 or 3. My argument is that numbers 1 and 3 are sufficiently general. Whereas number 4 is too specific.

Greater Boston Invitational Songfest

It was truly a delightful evening. The MIT Muses, my favorite, all gorgeous women dressed in black was fabulous as usual. Too bad I didn't have my camera with me to record the event:
Welcome to the annual Greater Boston Invitational Songfest, or MIT Family Weekend Concert, where all of MIT’s a cappella groups come together and use their voices to bring beautiful music to all the wonderful parents and students of MIT. We hope you all enjoy the songs and hilarious skits that each group presents, and come to appreciate what a cappella brings to MIT!

MIT/Wellesley Toons
The MiT! Wellesley Toons are 14 sopranos, altos, tenors, and basses that comprise MIT and Wellesley’s only co-ed a cappella group. They make their distinctive mark on both the MIT and Wellesley campuses by singing pieces from Disney cartoons, along with songs by. artists as diverse as The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Dido, and John Mayer. The Toons are noted for their “refined” taste in sport coats as well as super-silly skits that have allowed audiences to refer to them as “that funny group.” Watch out for the MIT/Wellesley Toons at their annual Fall Concert on November 20th at MIT!

Cross Products
The MIT Cross Products is MIT’s co-ed Christian a cappella group. Their goal is to glorify God through music, often singing where college a cappella has never gone before, from homeless shelters to churches to backyards. They’ve been shown so much grace at the Cross of Jesus Christ that they can’t help but sing about it. Check out their super exciting Fall Concert on December 4th in 54-101 at 5:00pm!

Founded in 1949, the MIT Logarhythms, one of the nation’s oldest and strongest a cappella performance groups, have sustained a tradition deep-rooted in musical excellence and quality performance. The Lags have entertained across the country and abroad for audiences of all ages and cultures. In the past years, the group has performed at such venues as Carnegie Hall in New York City, a Los Angeles Lakers Game at the Staples Center, Julia Child’s Mount Auburn Fundraiser, Disneyland, and many more. The Logarhythms deliver high-energy performances packed with tight musical harmony and lots of laughs. Their repertoire includes modern pop, hip hop, classic rock and barbershop tunes, and also features hilarious comic skits. The Logs like to keep audiences on the edges of their seats and guarantee an exciting a cappella expeience.

The Chorallaries of MIT is the Institute’s oldest co-ed a cappella group, at 27 years. The Chorallaries are a burst of energy and excitement, a strong foundation in chorale-like blending and breakout soloists. We rehearse twice a week, and have a blast! We record CDs, go on tour, and win competitions. We frequently appear at well-known events on campus and in Boston, including singing our arrangement of the MIT Alma Mater at graduation each year. Our repertoire ranges from the serious to the whimsical, from brand-new hits to unforgettable oldies. We only sing songs arranged by our own members, which include MIT’s notorious “Engineers’ Drinking Song.” Breaking from the ordinary, the Chorallaries also put on an annual Concert in Bad Taste, for which fans are willing to wait up to 72 hours in line! The group was the overall winner at one of the Northeast Region quarterfinals of the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella, garnering recognition for best soloist, duet and arrangement. The Chorallaries advanced to the national semifinals and were awarded bestrrangement.

As MIT’s premier all-female a cappella group, the Muses make it their job to be Super Hot. Always on the move, they are constantly battling distractions of swconing guest. groups and infection fans. Dressed up in their signature all black attire, these angels are often caught serenading professors, performing at school events, or just giving MIT a taste of their invigorating presence. Their scope, however, goes far beyond the confines of this campus; they’ve sung on sidewalks, subways, Faneufi Hall, the Empire State Building, and made appearances on the “Today Show.” These fourteen stylish ladies will go far beyond the call of duty because fans just can’t seem to get enough of the fearless Muses. Check out sexy videos (of their concerts of course) online at

The Resonance of MIT is MIT’s newest a cappella group (circa February 3,2001). They are co-ed, secular, and open to all MIT students. They’ve come together out of a desire to give more people at MIT a chance to sing and have a lot of fun doing it. They are happy that many of their members take part in a range of activities at MIT, and strive make it possible to sing a cappella while participating in other things they enjoy. Enjoy the show!

Techiya is the “only co-ed Jewish a cappella group at MIT.” They sing both traditional and modern Jewish pieces, and adapt songs to their repertoire that may not be Jewish when they start, but are when they finish. Techiya was founded in 1994, and they’ve been having fun ever since. They’ve successfully operated with as few as 4 members, and as many as 14. but always carry a big schtick. They have a new CD out: “Half-Life.” To order your copy for $12 +S/H, contact

Techiya is unavailable to perform tonight.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

No, not the movie, but the the third kind as described by Niccolo Machiavelli:

The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli: Chapter 22:
There are three different kinds of brains, the one understands things unassisted, the other understands things when shown by others, the third understands neither alone nor wil the expanations of others. The first kind is most excellent, the second is also excellent, but the third useless.
It seems I've encountered more than my fair share this week.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Bombing of Dresden

Fire Storm Over Dresden [1990]Redolent-thrush's recent entry A Continent is Not Discovered if it Was Already Inhabited indicting Christopher Columbus reminds me of the documentary Fire Storm Over Dresden about the Bombing of Dresden in World War II. Apparently Winston Churchill gleefully order the bombing. And had Germany won the war, he would certainly would have been tried for war crimes. All this, interestingly came to light from the British historian David Irving, whom recently has been under attack as a Holocaust denier.

Perhaps, it goes to show that in these two examples, history is written by the victors.

Nick Drake - Pink Moon

Pink MoonI watched the movie Hideous Kinky over the weekend and was pleasantly surprised to hear the song Road as part of the sound track.

I like Pink Moon as much as I liked Way to Blue. What I said in my previous entry about Way to Blue is true of Pink Moon as well. Nice and soft:
1 Pink Moon 2:05
2 Place to Be 2:43
3 Road 2:02
4 Which Will 2:58
5 Horn 1:23
6 Things Behind the Sun 3:57
7 Know 2:25
8 Parasite 3:36
9 Free Ride 3:06
10 Harvest Breed 1:37
11 From the Morning 2:29

Jeopardy category - Blogs

Saw this on Thousand Robots. Did you get them all right?

October 02, 2004
Jeopardy category: Blogs + [now with audio]

Friday night was the final round of Jeopardy's Tournament of Champions. I was surprised to see that one of the categories for Double Jeopardy was "Blogs." Here are screen caps of each of the "answers" it, think of the correct question ("Who is...", etc.) and then click to see if you are correct. They're pretty easy if you know what a blog is, and not too hard even if you don't.

Acquitted for lack of evidence

Excuse me, acquitted for lack of evidence?
October 13, 2004


2 women get death for sex out of wedlock

BAUCHI -- Islamic courts in Nigeria sentenced two women to death by stoning for having sex out of wedlock, but two men whom they said they slept with were acquitted for lack of evidence, authorities said yesterday. Both sentences were passed within the last month in the northern state of Bauchi. Nobody has been lawfully stoned to death in Nigeria since 12 northern states introduced Islamic Sharia law in 2000, because all such sentences have been overturned on appeal. Hajara Ibrahim, a 29-year-old woman, was sentenced on Oct. 5 by an Islamic Sharia court in the Tafawa Balewa area of the state, having confessed to having sex with 35-year-old Dauda Sani and becoming pregnant, the court said in a statement. The second woman, 26-year-old Daso Adamu, was sentenced to death by stoning on September 15 by a Sharia court in Ningi area of Bauchi state, said Judge Ahmed Musa Wurojamel. (Reuters)

Sunday, October 10, 2004

State of Confusion

A little humor from today's newspaper:

The Landlord Situation
October 10, 2004

State of Confusion

When my friend and I first moved to Boston, fresh from an out-of-state college, we rented an apartment on Beacon Hill. A few days after moving in, we had a plumbing problem, so I dialed up the landlord. "He's not available," the receptionist said somberly. "He's insituate."

"I'm so sorry," I said and hung up. I repeated the news to my roommate. We had never heard of that condition before but felt badly that we'd tried to disturb him when he was dealing with something so obviously serious.

We found out a few days later that Scituate was the name of a town. Until then, we had sincerely hoped that our landlord would have a speedy recovery.

JAN WHITTED, Cambridge

Saturday, October 09, 2004

2010 - The Year We Made Contact

2010: The Year We Made Contact
"2010: THE YEAR WE MAKE CONTACT" FILM SCREENING at 7:15 p.m., doors 6:45 p.m., Harvard University's Phillips Auditorium, 60 Garden St., Cambridge, 617-495-7461. Free. This film adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke's sequel to "2001: A Space Odyssey" is part of the Center for Astrophysics' monthly film series. The evening includes free popcorn and prizes, as well as a set by the sci-fi-inspired band King Calculator.
The movie wasn't as good as 2001: A Space Odyssey. But it was nice to see Bob Balaban on the screen. It brought back memories of several interesting conversations we had when we worked together in the play The Children (I was a lighting staff for the production).

By my count, Phillips Auditorium seats 91 plus about 30 in the balcony. By the time the show started, most of the seats were taken. The band didn't show up, but otherwise it was nice event; free parking, free movie, free popcorn and free door prizes. We even had two Harvard faculty members who play the role of film critics. What more can you ask?

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Three in passing

Several notable entries in today's Obituary pages:
Maurice Wilkins
Maurice Wilkins, 88; helped create DNA model
By Emma Ross, Associated Press | October 7, 2004

LONDON -- Maurice Wilkins, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for his groundbreaking work with Francis Crick and James Watson on the DNA structure, died Tuesday at a London hospital.

Dr. Wilkins, 88, was "a towering figure, one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century and a man of immense humanity," said a statement from King's College, where the professor produced his X-ray work that led to Watson's and Crick's description of the DNA's double-helix structure.

Watson, the only scientist involved in the DNA project who is still living, said yesterday that Dr. Wilkins was "a very intelligent scientist with a very deep personal concern that science be used to benefit society."

Vietnam - Television History
Richard Ellison; produced TV history of Vietnam
By Tom Long, Globe Staff | October 7, 2004

Richard Ellison was the TV producer who translated America's living room war into a living room history.

"He was an enormously talented producer and writer who was devoted to the series," said Lawrence K. Grossman, president of the Public Broadcast Service in 1983, when Mr. Ellison's 13-part series "Vietnam: A Television History" aired on the network.

Mr. Ellison, 81, died Friday of Diffuse Lewy Body Syndrome, a variant of Alzheimer's disease, in his Kingston home.

"He cared enormously about public issues and was concerned about injustice and discrimination," said Grossman.

"Vietnam: A Television History," which Globe TV critic Jack Thomas called "a sweeping retrospective that surpasses all others," blends interviews and vintage film footage from US, British, French, and North Vietnamese sources. The first episode of the $4.5 million series was seen by nearly 9 percent of US households.

"He was the godfather of the series," Stanley Karnow, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who was chief correspondent for the series, said of Mr. Ellison, the series' executive producer.

Carlos Samour
Dr. Carlos Samour, 84, innovative chemist
By Gloria Negri, Globe Staff | October 7, 2004

Hoping to save patients the trauma of a needle and the side effects of a pill, research scientist Carlos M. Samour spent several years developing a system that delivered drugs through the skin. It was, friends said, only one manifestation of his entrepreneurship, humanity, and scientific curiosity.

Dr. Samour, of Belmont, a pioneer in the field of polymer chemistry and founder of a Lexington-based specialty pharmaceuticals firm, died Sunday of pneumonia at Massachusetts General Hospital. He was 84 and had been diagnosed with leukemia.

Lenny Kravitz - Baptism

Lenny Kravitz - BaptismThis album is terrible. His interview on Charlie Rose last week (9/27/2004) was interesting enough. Enough to piqued my interest into giving it a listen.

What a waste of time. As Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote in a review on AMG:
... you've wasted 55 minutes of precious time listening ...
And I wholely agree with his advice:
... since it would be better for him to stop making records than to crank out depressing sludge like this.
But then, you might have a different opinion:
1 Minister of Rock 'N Roll 3:34
2 I Don't Want to Be a Star 4:25
3 Lady 4:15
4 Calling All Angels 5:12
5 California 2:36
6 Sistamamalover 4:29
7 Where Are We Runnin'? 2:41
8 Baptized 4:48
9 Flash 4:12
10 What Did I Do With My Life? 4:04
11 Storm 3:58
12 The Other Side 4:50
13 Destiny 4:55

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Happy Birthday to BethanyC

Happy Birthday, Bethany! Incredible. Three family birthdays in a week. Seems like you and your mother are in your prime. She should be happy to hear that. Maybe your sister Elisa is too. If not, at least her birthday last week occurred on a prime number. So, best wishes for you on your 31st birthday.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

And I thought a billion is a big number

And I thought a billion is a big number.
National debt near $7.4 trillion ceiling
By Leigh Strope, Associated Press | October 5, 2004

WASHINGTON -- The government is poised to hit the national debt's $7.4 trillion ceiling this month, and yesterday the Bush administration told Congress again that it should raise the limit.

That would be a politically sticky move just weeks from the Nov. 2 elections.

Rob Nichols, Treasury Department spokesman, said the government is on track to reach the limit early this month. He said that the forecast is made "on a day-to-day basis" and that Congress would be notified.

The government can juggle accounts to stay under the limit through mid-November to avoid default, as it has in the past. But the Bush administration is urging Congress, which expects to adjourn Friday, to raise the ceiling.

"We've been calling on Congress to act now for months, and we think it's important that they do so," Nichols said.

The government's debt was $7.364 trillion as of Friday. Congress last boosted the limit in May 2003.

Democrats have cited the rising debt as evidence that President Bush is mishandling the economy.

The administration counters that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and efforts to strengthen security at home have forced the increase in government borrowing.

House Democrats sent a letter to Treasury Secretary John Snow yesterday requesting a meeting to discuss the limit, when it would be reached, and what options the department would pursue. The letter was signed by Representatives John Spratt of South Carolina, Charles B. Rangel of New York, and Charles Stenholm of Texas. Democrats said it was their second such letter.

Nichols said Snow intends to respond to both letters soon. Should Congress fail to act before the limit is reached, Snow "would take the appropriate steps to protect the full faith and credit of our government," Nichols said.

The Pressured Parent

The Pressured Child: Helping Your Child Find Success in School and LifeThere are lots of interesting and useful insights in this book. Not the least is helping me remember what school was like. The last chapter, Best Wisdom is by far the best. It offers valuable observations and advice.
Publisher's Weekly
Few questions have been uttered more frequently by parents than "How was school today?" And few questions have been met with more blank stares, shrugs, lies or unhappy truths. In this compelling follow-up to the now-classic Mom, They're Teasing Me, Thompson attempts to put parents "back in touch with the gritty reality of being a child in school," prompting them to recall their own school memories: was it boring, scary, exciting or painful? This, Thompson believes, will help them better comprehend their children's experiences and support them more effectively. Despite the title, Thompson says this book is for "the pressured parent, which is every loving parent, no matter what kind of student your child is." With the demands of standardized tests, the fear of failing school systems and baggage from their own academic pasts, Thompson says, parents' concern about their children's educational welfare is ballooning into panic. As Thompson shadows several students from diverse backgrounds through their school days, a rather mundane-but significant-reality emerges: school is a difficult, unavoidable part of life, but parents can help by being calm, empathic and engaged. Though short on practical strategies, the book sheds light on what goes on behind classroom doors and urges parents to "value the truth of a child's experiences." Agent, Gail Ross. (On sale Aug. 3) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Monday, October 04, 2004

El Pago

Paycheck (Spanish)On the subject of memory erasure, Paycheck is awesome. I saw it over the weekend. However, I was clueless at first as to why the title on the video reads Paycheck (El Pago). Then as I started to watch the movie, why are there Spanish subtitles? Oh!

In the Ben Affleck & John Woo Interview, John Woo said of Philip K. Dick:
John Woo (JW): Er, to be honest, I hadn't read any of his books before Paycheck (review), but I had seen several of the movies made from his books, like Blade Runner, Minority Report (review) and Total Recall.
He has one up on me. I haven't read any. But like Woo, I've seen most of the movies made from his work:
Minority Report (2002) (short story)
Impostor (2002) (story Impostor)
Total Recall (1990) (short story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale)
Blade Runner (1982) (novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?)
Apparently, another novel is being made by the same name, A Scanner Darkly (2005):
Set in a future world where America has lost the war on drugs, undercover cop Fred (Keanu Reeves) is one of many agents hooked on the popular drug Substance D, which causes its users to develop split personalities. Fred, for instance, is also Bob, a notorious drug dealer. Along with his superior officers, Fred sets up an elaborate scheme to catch Bob and tear down his operation.
Paycheck (El Pago)Back to Paycheck, do you think if they had used this cover, I would have known? Not likely.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Jason Mraz - Waiting for My Rocket

Waiting for My RocketThis album is a closeyoureyes recommendation. It has a nice collection of upbeat eclectic songs, some with nice dance beats to them. He does have a wonderful voice. I especally like Sleep All Day, Too Much Food, and No Stopping Us.
1 You and I Both 3:39
2 I'll Do Anything 3:11
3 The Remedy (I Won't Worry) 4:16
4 Who Needs Shelter 3:12
5 Curbside Prophet 3:34
6 Sleep All Day 4:56
7 Too Much Food 3:41
8 Absolutely Zero 5:39
9 On Love, In Sadness 3:28
10 No Stopping Us 3:18
11 The Boy's Gone 4:15
12 Tonight, Not Again 4:49
What's with the rooster and the "I love sex" lapel button? And how do you pronounce his last name?

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Dar Williams - The Beauty of the Rain

The Beauty of the Rain [DVD Audio]The songs are nice, mostly soft and mellow. It's a great album to listen to on a rainy day.
1 Mercy of the Fallen 4:11
2 Farewell to the Old Me 2:45
3 I Saw a Bird Fly Away 2:51
4 The Beauty of the Rain 3:00
5 The World's Not Falling Apart 4:24
6 The One Who Knows 3:47
7 Closer to Me 3:42
8 Fishing in the Morning 2:38
9 Whispering Pines 4:00
10 Your Fire Your Soul 3:04
11 I Have Lost My Dreams 3:05
Her first novel Amalee came out in May of this year to a positive review locally.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindI was surprised when he showed up yesterday afternoon with the DVD. It can't be true, this is not his type of movie. But when he told me he plan to watch it with his girlfriend later, it all made sense. The things guys do for gals they like. That his twin brother said afterward that he liked it too was initially a surprise. Then I remember that he enjoys eclectic and unpredictable movie. So, it wasn't all that surprising after all. Teenagers!

So, I watch it with them. I liked the movie too. Too bad I was distracted with other things that I didn't give it my full attention. Kate Winslet is fabulous as usual. But most remarkable is Mark Ruffalo who plays Stan, a role radically different from the charcter Detective Malloy in In the Cut. If you like Being John Malkovich, you'll be sure to like this one. They were both written by Charlie Kaufman, whom I had to pleasure to watch the interview of him by Charlie Rose last March.

As a final note, what a coincidence that closeyoureyes watched the movie yesterday as well (albeit with a more personal impact). What are the odd?

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Closeyoureyes on the air

It was nice to wake up to Closeyoureyes' voice this morning. On the radio, of course. She's a real trooper to get up at 5am to get over to the studio this morning in the dark and pouring rain. You couldn't tell that by her clear, crisp voice. So, give her a listen on WERS. If you're not in the Boston area, you can listen online:
Weekdays 6-10 AM
Wake up to the Coffeehouse! Tune in to hear the best in local and national folk, light rock, and electric pop. The Coffeehouse features music from international legends like Johnny Cash and Joni Mitchell, emerging independent favorites like Tegan & Sara and Wilco, and local heroes like Brian Webb and Meg Hutchinson.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

He's Just Not That into You

A friend called last night to tell me this book she saw discussed on Oprah recently:
He's Just Not That into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys

From the Publisher

He says:
Oh sure, they say they're busy. They say that they didn't have even a moment in their insanely busy day to pick up the phone. It was just that crazy. All lies. With the advent of cell phones and speed dialing, it is almost impossible not to call you. Sometimes I call people from my pants pocket when I don't even mean to. If I were into you, you would be the bright spot in my horribly busy day. Which would be a day that I would never be too busy to call you.

She says:
There is something great about knowing that my only job is to be as happy as I can be about my life, and feel as good as I can about myself, and to lead as full and eventful a life as I can, so that it doesn't ever feel like I'm just waiting around for some guy to ask me out. And most importantly, it's good for us all to remember that we don't need to scheme and plot, or beg anyone to ask us out. We're fantastic.

For ages women have come together over coffee, cocktails, or late-night phone chats to analyze the puzzling behavior of men.

He's afraid to get hurt again.
Maybe he doesn't want to ruin the friendship.
Maybe he's intimidated by me.
He just got out of a relationship.

Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo are here to say that -- despite good intentions -- you're wasting your time. Men are not complicated, although they'd like you to think they are. And there are no mixed messages.

The truth may be He's just not that into you.

Unfortunately guys are too terrified to ever directly tell a woman, "You're not the one." But their actions absolutely show how they feel.

He's Just Not That Into You -- based on a popular episode of Sex and the City -- educates otherwise smart women on how to tell when a guy just doesn't like them enough, so they can stop wasting time making excuses for a dead-end relationship.

Reexamining familiar scenarios and classic mindsets that keep us in unsatisfying relationships, Behrendt and Tuccillo's wise and wry understanding of the sexes spares women hours of waiting by the phone, obsessing over the details with sympathetic girlfriends, and hoping his mixed messages really mean "I'm in love with you and want to be with you."

Wanting to learn more she decided to ordered the book, but found that all the copies have been sold. How's that for Oprah's influence?

I think my friend wants to figure out what happened to her last relationship that ended nine months ago. In my opinion, he was just not that into her in the way that she wanted him to be. Besides, the timing was off. He really wasn't ready for a relationship with her. In the end, I told her to end the speculation and just ask him outright about what happened. Accept the answer and move on.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Cold Mountain

The book has been sitting on floor for over a year waiting to be read. ·But the movie adaptation got the priority last night.

One of the most touching sequences is about Sara the widow and her infant son. Your heart breaks at the circumstances that war had put her in. ·Then to have someone like Inman come into her life, hoping to ease her lonliness. ·I think that had not for Ada, Inman would have stayed and had Inman found that Ada died, he would have returned to her.

This is the third movie I've seen directed by Anthony Minghella. ·The other two were The English Patient, and The Talented Mr. Ripley. ·It was the latter that I had the pleasure of seeing the director's commentary and hear him describe the emotions behind the expressions and gestures of the characters as portrayed by the actors. ·He was on the mark 100 percent. ·That's what I like, when I understand exactly what an artist wanted to communicate. ·Therefore, I'm looking forward to the director's commentary of this movie (I saw the VHS version). ·Better yet, maybe I should read the book first.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Lisa Loeb - Firecracker

I was aware of Lisa Loeb for a long time. But, it wasn't until I saw Lilith Fair: A Celebration of Women in Music that I decided to hear what she is all about. Besides, her signature eye glasses was irresistable. It had nothing to do with music, but it was influential on a visceral level. Go figure.

1 I Do
2 Falling in Love
3 Truthfully
4 Let's Forget About It
5 How Loeb
6 Furious Rose
7 Wishing Heart
8 Dance With the Angels
9 Jake
10 This
11 Split Second
12 Firecracker
I like all the songs on this album, despite the unflattering review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine at AMG.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Gloria Estefan - Destiny

1 Destiny Dermer, Estefan, Estefan ... 5:13
2 I'm Not Giving You Up Estefan, Santander 4:20
3 Steal Your Heart Estefan, Santander 3:48
4 The Heart Never Learns Casas, Dermer 4:32
5 You'll Be Mine (Party Time) Dermer, Estefan, Ostwald 4:50
6 Path of the Right Love Estefan 5:20
7 Show Me to the Way Back to Your Heart Warren 3:57
8 Along Came You (A Song for Emily) Estefan 6:18
9 Higher Dermer 3:49
10 I Know You Too Well Estefan, Warren 4:55
11 Reach Estefan, Warren 3:49

The Question of God - Part 2

I was still basking in the warm glow of last night's RiverSing event when I started to watch the second part of The Question of God. So, understandably, I was slightly distracted at the beginning. With lower expectations, I was pleasantly surprise to find it better than Part 1. Perhaps it was due the questions of free will, morality, suffering, death, and other morbid subjects.

On the subject of free will, I'm reminded of the excellent section called The Doctrine of Free Will in Bertrand Russell's essay Has Religion Made Useful Contributions to Civilization?.

Since Freud is a major character in this series, it was interesting to me to learn the historical background surrounding the writing and publication of Civilization and Its Discontents and Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality. These are two excellent books. The latter holds a special memory for me due to reading most of it some 20 years ago in a cafe while in Vienna for the weekend.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Friendship according to Aristotle

I was looking for something else when I came across this nice description of Aristotle's definition of friendship:
Two men are friends when each has a fixed disposition of liking and goodwill toward the other and both are aware that this is the case. There are three kinds of friendship: in the first, two persons are friends because they are pleasing to one another; in the second, because they are useful to one another; in the third, because they are both good and may help each other toward excellence. Of these the last is the highest kind, the second the lowest. Friendship of all kinds is the cement that should hold society together, and in the ideal state the friendship of citizens should be that of the highest kind.
Frankena, William K., Three Historical Philosophies of Education (Chicago: Scott, Foresman, 1965), p52.

Monday, September 20, 2004

An overall delightful day

As predicted, the weather was beautiful yesterday. Here are two of many wonderful events of the day:

Semitic Museum
The Semitic Museum is one of the Harvard University Museums, housing collections of archaeological materials from the Ancient Near East. Our current exhibits explore everyday life in ancient Israel during the Iron Age; a 2nd millennium BCE Hurrian city, located in modern-day Iraq; and the history of ancient Cyprus through ceramics and metal objects. ...

Seven Harvard University Museums within walking distance of each other:
Harvard Museum of Natural History
Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology
Semitic Museum
Adolphus Busch Hall
Sackler Museum
Fogg Art Museum
Busch-Reisinger Museum
were open to the public yesterday between 1pm and 5pm. The Semite Museum was the only one I haven't visited. Since I went alone, I was able to enjoy the lecture and exhibits without the usual concerns if I had children or out-of-town guests with me.

Massachusetts Horticultural Society
Massachusetts Horticultural Society (MassHort) at Elm Bank Horticultural Center is a gorgeous 36 acre all-season property located on the Charles River, featuring (among others) the New England Trial Garden, the historic Olmstead-designed Italianate Garden, and whimsical Weezie's Garden for Children. MassHort's Education Center hosts programs for children and adults, and the library houses an extraordinary collection for the expert or amateur gardener. MHS is adjacent to the Elm Bank Reservation walking trails and canoe/kayak put-in.
I was invited to a friend's home for dinner last night. She asked me to come a couple of hours early so that she can show me the nearby Elm Bank Horticultural Center. I was delightfully surprised to see the many spectacularly beautiful and well maintained gardens. As designed, each garden has its own unique sitting areas that's great for picnics. This is a place that I definitely have to visit again.

Should you go, you might consider visiting the Wellesley College campus as well. It is only half a mile away.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Le Peuple Migrateur

Le Peuple Migrateur, also known as Winged Migration is awesome. Yet I will have to agree with the user comment ("Too Much Squawking Too Little Talking ... ") if you see this as is.

To really appreciated this documentary, you need the DVD version. Watch a little bit of this as presented for the sheer visual beauty of it (minus some of the squawking) and then switch over to the director's commentary track. There, learn what's going on. After that, watch the near hour long segment on how the film makers made it to answer the question you have all along. By now, you're almost four hours into this, two and a half hour more than you probably intended.

To further appreciate this documentary, you should watch it all over again straight up. But this time, you'll see it with a different set of eyes from a different point of view. It will be a great way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon. It was for me.

Jem - Finally Broken

Sigh, another senior moment. I searched in vain all over in notes I left behind for a clue. Jem has a familiarity. What was the connection? Searching the Boston Globe archive found a Dido connection:
Published on April 2, 2004
Jem makes her mark on her debut album with a taut 40-minute set of pop filled with languor, yearning, heartache, and more than a little bounce to offset the moodier moments. The Welsh singer is surrounded by swirling strings, layered keyboards, and textured guitars on most of these pleasing tracks and, no doubt, she's going to be spoken in the same breath as Dido or Beth Gibbons. But while her sound is familiar, there's nothing derivative or contrived about the music, which arrives ...
Well, I don't know Beth Gibbons, but I do about Dido. Jem's music is nice, but not quite like Dido's.

1 They Griffiths, Young 3:16
2 Come on Closer Griffiths, Young 3:47
3 Finally Woken Griffiths 3:58
4 Save Me Griffiths, Young 3:33
5 24 Griffiths, Griffiths 3:54
6 Missing You Griffiths, Griffiths, Nevo 4:01
7 Wish I Griffiths 3:56
8 Just a Ride Caren, Griffiths 3:20
9 Falling for You Coler, Griffiths, Higgins 4:17
10 Stay Now Griffiths, Wahl, Whitecross 3:43
11 Flying High Griffiths, Herman, Nevo 4:08
Now I remember, Jem was in town recently

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Alejandro Sanz - No Es lo Mismo

I was disappointed that Robi Draco Rosa didn't win at the 5th Latin Grammy Awards earlier this month. After listening to No Es lo Mismo, I can understand why Alejandro Sanz did. Four awards, no less:
1 No Es lo Mismo Sanz 6:04
2 Hoy Llueve, Hoy Duele Sanz 4:52
3 He Sido Tan Feliz Contigo Sanz 3:52
4 Try to Save Your S'Ong Sanz 3:41
5 Eso Sanz 4:17
6 Labana Sanz 5:28
7 Sandy a Orilla Do Mundo Sanz 3:27
8 1 2 Por 8 Sanz 4:40
9 Al Olvido Invito Yo Sanz 4:21
10 Refálame la Silla Donde Te Esperé Sanz 4:50
11 Lo Dire Bajito Sanz 4:33
12 Si, He Cantado Mal Sanz 0:21
The songs get progressively better through the album. It's too bad I miss out on the lyrics. Seems three years of high school Spanish didn't help. But wait, after the forth time around, some of the words are coming back.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

The Corrs - Borrowed Heaven

Borrowed Heaven
As good as the performance was, the songs from Borrowed Heaven sound so much better when played from beginning to end:
1. Summer Sunshine (Corrs) - 2:53
2. Angel (Corrs) - 3:25
3. Hideaway (Corrs) - 3:17
4. Long Night (Corrs) - 3:47
5. Goodbye (Corrs) - 4:08
6. Time Enough for Tears (Bono/Friday/Seezer) - 5:03
7. Humdrum (Corrs) - 3:43
8. Even If (Corrs) - 3:02
9. Borrowed Heaven (Corrs) - 4:21
10. Confidence for Quiet (Corrs) - 3:10
11. Baby Be Brave (Corrs) - 3:58
12. Silver Strand (Corrs) - 4:25
In fact, I like all their albums. Some weekend, I'll play them all back to back. That should be an enjoyable treat.

Question of God

There was nothing new for me in last night's Question of God. I don't hold out hope that the second part next week will be any different:

Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud with Dr. Armand Nicholi
This program explores issues that preoccupy all people. What is happiness? How do we find meaning and purpose in our lives? How do we reconcile conflicting claims of love and sexuality? How do we cope with the problem of suffering and the inevitability of death?
This and the review for the show was enticing enough. However, it didn't live up to expectation. Come to think of it, four hours is not enough time. Using Lewis and Freud as props were not sufficient. They come off as anecdotal distractions.

The question of God shouldn't be so hard. It should be as simple as gravity, something that all of us not only experience and know, but can demonstrate.

For those who are interested, Bertrand Russell gave a convincing agument (at least to me) on one side of the issue in Why I Am Not a Christian : And Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects, which should really renamed to Why I don't believe in God: ....


I was looking forward to attending the SPIN (Software Process Improvement Network) meeting last night. After a two month summer recess, I was ready to meet up with old professional acquaintances. Besides, the scheduled presentation, Real Time Process Improvement with SCRUM was of particular interest to me.

Not only didn't my former colleagues show up, Sutherland's presentation didn't address any "Real Time" issues. In fact, there wasn't anything substantive on SCRUM either. Instead, he gave a lengthy history of the events that lead to it, none of which was very convincing. Nevertheless, it was an interesting trip down memory lane.

It turns out that one of the turning points in the shift away from a water-fall model of project management occurred during the implementation of CCPDS-R by TRW. This coincidentally occurred at the same time that I was at MITRE, involved with the CSSR project by GTE. You see, MITRE was the general system engineer for the United States Air Force that oversaw both of these projects among many others.

And there I was, in S building's conference room at MITRE, the host of SPIN. It's remarkable how little has changed in the appearance of the company's campus. It is as well kept as it was 18 years ago. But alas, everyone I knew then have either left, or have retired.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Gone like a dream in the night

The title of this entry could be the title of one of Maligna's poems. So, what do you say Mal, ready for another challenge?
You are betrayed. You fought for something you did not get. And the glory of the armies and navies of the United States is gone like a dream in the night, and there ensues upon it, in the suitable darkness of the night, the nightmare of dread which lay upon the nations before this war came; and there will come some time, in the vengeful Providence of God, another war in which not a few hundred thousand men from America will have to die, but as many millions as necessary to accomplish the final freedom of the people's of the world.

-Woodrow Wilson
A prediction after World War I, as recited by Robert McMcNamara in The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara

Monday, September 13, 2004

Journal keeping - the art of living and learning twice

That's the title of the inspirational article I read three and a half years ago. It speaks RyukyuSoul's recently entry Why blog?. I'll just include the highlights from my copy:

March 22, 2001

Author: Kathleen Hirsch, Globe Correspondent

It was another writer's words more than a decade ago that prompted me to build a window seat in my living room devoted to memory. His book, "Time and the Art of Living," urged me to become more aware of how I used my days, to learn to better treasure them, in order that I might live into the wisdom of knowing with some clarity what it was I really thought, experienced, loved.


My journal is the place where I set these images down. Also, where I give vent to doubt, resentment, desperate wishes, struggles, and the dredgings of dream - all the unexpected, unhoped-for miracles of the every day that we call "life," but rarely get around to cherishing as we should.

Journals have given my life an expansiveness that simply living each moment of it doesn't, because, in writing it down, I live it twice, the second time often more imaginatively and deeply than the first. The impulse, always, is insight, a deeper glimpse into meaning. In the journal, I gather what Virginia Woolf has called, "a mass of odds and ends," verbal snapshots, snippets of quotations, recipes for living, in the hopes that when I return to them weeks and months later, the collection has, in her words, "sorted and refined itself and coalesced . . . into a mould, transparent enough to reflect the light of our life, and yet steady, tranquil compounds with the aloofness of a work of art."


As Deena Metzger, another advocate of journal-keeping, writes, "One can say that one of the basic conditions of contemporary life is the unfulfilled longing of the self for the self." This is where the journal comes in.

In lives that can feel like a beautiful but tangled garden, in which we can't see what's what, much less attempt a harvest, the journal is a powerful ally in preserving a sense of order and continuity. It forces us to slow down. Simply choosing to spend 15 minutes observing, instead of dashing, puts us in a different relationship to our actions. When we write, we pay attention. We begin to see and to honor what is unique to our journeys. We become more adept at peering beneath the surface of matters, to inner workings of the soul, and through this to the heart of those questions we may be asking ourselves (or wanting to ask) without having had the courage before.


Far and away the question I am asked most often, however, is: "How do I sustain the discipline of journal-keeping? How do I do it day after day?" A journal isn't an object, much less a duty. It is a relationship. Like most relationships, there are a variety of ways to make it work over time. The key is to give yourself permission to use your curiosity about your world in ways that work for you.


Acquaintances have changed careers, left partners, plunged into new forms of creativity, all because their journals have pointed them in the right direction and haven't run away when the going got rough. Most of those who maintain serious spiritual practices keep journals. They are a writer's basic tool. But journals make even the most ordinary of us pilgrims and artists in our own rights. Becoming larger beings, risking spiritual growth, daring to envision, plan, and, finally, act on change, learning what we love, are all possibilities awaiting us within the blank journal.

For more on journal writing, try: "A Walk Between Heaven and Earth" by Nina Holzer (Bell Tower), "Life's Companion" by Christina Baldwin (Bantam), and "A Voice of Her Own" by Marleme Schiwy (Simon & Schuster), and "Leaving a Trace" by Alex Johnson (Little Brown).

Copyright 2001 Globe Newspaper Company
Record Number: 0103220031

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Dan Fogelberg - The Innocent Age

1 Nexus Fogelberg 6:04
2 The Innocent Age Fogelberg 4:15
3 The Sand and the Foam Fogelberg 4:19
4 In the Passage Fogelberg 6:28
5 Lost in the Sun Fogelberg 3:53
6 Run for the Roses Fogelberg 4:18
7 Leader of the Band Fogelberg 4:48
8 Same Old Lang Syne Fogelberg 5:21
9 Stolen Moments Fogelberg 3:12
10 The Lion's Share Fogelberg 5:10
11 Only the Heart May Know Fogelberg 4:09
12 The Reach Fogelberg 6:30
13 Aireshire Lament Fogelberg 0:52
14 Times Like These Fogelberg 3:02
15 Hard to Say Fogelberg 4:00
16 Empty Cages Fogelberg, Kunkel, Putnam ... 6:24
17 Ghosts Fogelberg 7:16

The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara

I would have rather been outside yesterday enjoying the beautiful weather instead of being homebound nusing a sore foot. So, it was just as well that I watched this documentary.

Most notable is the characterization of Curtis LeMay by McNamara. Some might remember him as the vice president running mate to George Wallace in 1968. When he commanded the Strategic Air Command after World War II, he was quoted:
"if the U.S. is pushed in the corner far enough we would not hesitate to strike first." ... when pointed out to LeMay that preemptive attack was not official national policy. LeMay replied, "I don't care. It's my policy. That's what i'm going to do."

-- The Button: The Pentagon's Strategic Command and Control System, Daniel Ford, pg106
Chilling isn't it? Anyway, here are McNamara's eleven lessons:
1. Empathize with your enemy.
2. Rationality will not save us.
3. There's something beyond one's self.
4. Maximize efficiency.
5. Proportionality should be a guideline in war.
6. Get the data.
7. Belief and seeing are both often wrong
8. Be prepared to examine your reasoning.
9. In order to do good, you may have to engage in evil.
10. Never say never.
11. You can't change human nature.
BTW, this film won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

High Context experience

This entry has nothing to do with investment or Warren Buffett. I had just finished the book a couple of days ago and found reading it to be a high context experience:
Context: High and low context refers to the amount of information that a person can comfortably manage. This can vary from a high context culture where background information is implicit to low context culture where much of the background information must be made explicit in an interaction ...
To digress further, I found these humorous stories of high and low context interactions:
Here's another way these differences can be observed. Jack, an American, is in France. He takes Marie, a Frenchwoman, out to dinner and a show. Afterwards, she invites him to her apartment. It is midnight. She serves coffee and cognac. Jack starts talking about all the things they have in common. He stares meaningfully into her eyes. He tries to cuddle closer to Marie. Marie says, "Relax, Jack. You are going to spend the night. Don't rush it." Jack thinks he's a great Casanova. He does not know that the context has already determined what content-- sleeping together or not-- will ensue in this situation.

Jules, a Frenchman is in America. It's the same scene as above, only Mary is an American. Just after coffee and cognac, Jules jumps on Mary. Mary is horrified. Jules does not understand. He has just received all the context markers for seduction. He does not know Mary expects a lot of content, before cutting to the chase. She wants to know what they have in common, to discuss their relationship, to share details of intimacies, and to exchange medical records, before she can switch to the context of a romantic entanglement.
Anyway, Beyond Culture has more to say on the subject. And, if you like the book, you ought to check out The Silent Language, and The Hidden Dimension. Oh, I almost forgot, Warren Buffett Portfolio is a good read too.

Friday, September 10, 2004

No Doubt - The Singles 1992-2003

In anticipation of closeyoureyes going back on the air at WERS, I thought I'd revive my weekly music entries, starting off with one of her favorite group No Doubt and vocalist Gwen Stefani. This album is not so soft, but it has a level of energy and a mix of eclectic beats that I can handle, unlike the ones from Fuel her other favorite group (sorry to read about their drummer).
1 Just a Girl Dumont, Stefani 3:25
2 It's My Life Friese-Greene, Hollis 3:45
3 Hey Baby Dumont, Kanal, Price, Stefani 3:26
4 Bathwater Dumont, Kanal, Stefani 4:00
5 Sunday Morning Kanal, Stefani, Stefani 4:31
6 Hella Good Hugo, Kanal, Stefani, Williams 4:02
7 New Dumont, Stefani 4:24
8 Underneath It All Stefani, Stewart 5:02
9 Excuse Me Mr. Dumont, Stefani 3:04
10 Running Kanal, Stefani 4:00
11 Spiderwebs Kanal, Stefani 4:26
12 Simple Kind of Life Stefani 4:15
13 Don't Speak Stefani, Stefani 4:22
14 Ex-Girlfriend Dumont, Kanal, Stefani 3:31
15 Trapped in a Box Dumont, Kanal, Stefani ... 3:23
Gwen has a fabulous voice. I like 12 of the 15 songs. Not bad. The comment in Bathwater about "why do good girls only want the bad boys" was an unexpected surprise. Got a chuckle out of that.

OK, going forward, any soft music recommendations?

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Go away a little closer

Go away a little closer is from the chapter called “The Approach-Avoidance Dance: Men, Women, and Intimacy.”.
Intimacy. We hunger for it, but we also fear it. We come close to a loved one, then we back off. A teacher I had once described this as the “go away a little closer” message, I call it the approach-avoidance dance.

The conventional wisdom says that women want intimacy, men resist it. And I have plenty of material that would seem to support that view. Whether in my research interviews, in my clinical hours, or in the ordinary course of my life, I hear the same story told repeatedly. “He doesn’t talk to me,” says a woman. “ I don’t know what she wants me to talk about,” says a man. “I want to know what he’s feeling,” she tells me. “I’m not feeling anything,” he insists. “Who can feel nothing?” she cries. “I can,” he shouts. As the heat rises, so does the wall between them. Defensive and angry, they retreat – stalemated by their inability to understand each other.

Women complain to each other all the time about not being able to talk to their men about the things that matter most to them – about what they themselves are thinking and feeling, about what goes on in the hearts and minds of the men they’re relating to. And men, less able to expose themselves and their conflicts – those within themselves or those with the women in their lives – either turn silent or take cover by ...
It's so true. Women are more in touch with their feelings. This is a wonderful book. You're sure to enjoy it.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Defining moments

I had a different entry in mind for today. Then I read PhoenixM's recent entry about the circumstances surrounding her birth. ·In my case, had my brother not died at around the same age as I was in the photo, I would not have been born. ·Three children were all they wanted. ·So, I guess you can say these were defining moments in our lives. ·No matter how long ago they happened, the memory about them never leaves us.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

What any of us would want

My First Mister (2001)I had my doubts about this movie at first. But after I watched it over the weekend, I was delighted. What a nice and positive story. It is about an unlikely relationship between a 17-year-old girl and a 49-year-old man. Two people on the surface who are polar opposites. Yet beneath, they are kindred spirits. And over time, they developed a friendship and love for each other that, I think any of us would want, not only to want to know each others inner lives but to help each other live a fuller and happier one.

You have to see this. Read the reviews to know more.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Sarah McLachlan - Afterglow

Almost didn't recognize her. ·She looks and sounds fabulous. ·Afterglow is soft, mellow, and ·soothing. ·Great bedtime music. ·I'm a fan now more than ever.
· · · 1 ·Fallen ·McLachlan ·3:47 ·
· · · 2 ·World on Fire ·Marchand, McLachlan ·4:22 ·
· · · 3 ·Stupid ·McLachlan ·3:24 ·
· · · 4 ·Drifting ·McLachlan ·3:23 ·
· · · 5 ·Train Wreck ·McLachlan ·4:36 ·
· · · 6 ·Push ·McLachlan ·3:56 ·
· · · 7 ·Answer ·McLachlan ·3:58 ·
· · · 8 ·Time ·McLachlan ·4:07 ·
· · · 9 ·Perfect Girl ·Marchand, McLachlan ·4:43 ·
· · · 10 ·Dirty Little Secret ·McLachlan ·3:56

Shakespeare women

More Tragic
Ophelia: 1 votes
Juliet: 0 votes
Dedemona: 1 votes
Lady MacBeth: 1 votes
Gertrude: 1 votes

Othello (1404)

Othello, a noble Moor, is employed by the Venetian state as a general. He secretly marries Desdemona. the daughter of Barbantio, a powerful Venetian senator, who accuses him of seducing his daughter by magic and unlawful means. Desdemona, in the presence of the Duke, denies this, professes her love for Othello, and pleads to be allowed to follow him to Cyprus, where he has to fight the Ottomans, in order to be near him. In Cyprus, Iago, Othello's servant who hates him, sets about to make him jealous and succeeds in convincing him that Desdemona is unfaithful to him with Cassio, his lieutenant, whom Othello dismisses from his service when he is found drunk on watch. Emilia, lago's wife and Desdemona's chambermaid, finds a handkerchief which Othello gave Desdemona as a wedding present and gives it to her husband who drops it in Cassio's house, then convinces Othello that Desdemona gave the handkerchief to Cassio as a love gift. Othello foolishly believes him, orders him to kill Cassio, and he suffocates Desdemona in her bed. Emilia reveals she gave the handkerchief to lago, and he stabs her in order to silence her, but with her dying breath she tells Othello that his wife was faithful. Othello goes mad and stabs lago, then when he is told that he would be taken to Venice to stand trial, he stabs himself and dies on Desdemona's lifeless body.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Summer scenes at the Cambridge Fresh Pond Reservation

These photos were taken Sunday morning, June 20th on the first day of Summer. At 6am, there weren't that many people around. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy them. For comparison, take a look at the Spring Scenes taken three months earlier, and Winter Scenes taken three months before that.

Several pointers if they are not obvious. Clicking on the main photo will display the next photo in the sequence. You can also use the navigational links above the photo to move back and forth. Alternatively, you can view the photos as a slide show by changing the number of second between pictures to anything other than zero. Click start to begin and stop to well, stop. However, due to caching, that might take a while the first time you do this. Lastly, you can scroll to and click on the thumbnail of the photo you want to see in the frame on the left. You can remove the thumbnail display if you choose. Of course, if your browser doesn't support frames, you won't have this option.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

An American invention?

A favorite dish of mine has been an American invention after all?

Tracking a Chinese-food delicacy
Menus at home lack chicken dish ubiquitous in US

By Ted Anthony, Associated Press | August 8, 2004

WENJIALONG, China -- Zuo Kuanxun wrinkles his face in skepticism, and you can hardly blame him. A foreign visitor has appeared without warning to inform him that his great-great-great grandfather -- battlefield hero and crusher of rebellions against the imperial Qing court -- is renowned on restaurant menus across the sea.

Gen. Zuo Zongtang, a hometown legend in his south-central province of China, was the fiercest of 19th-century warriors. Yet today, most of America associates the late military strategist with a chicken. And a tasty one at that.

Odds are you know him as General Tso, General Chao, General Zhou, even General Ching -- namesake of the succulent, sweet-spicy chunks of dark-meat chicken that features in most every Chinese restaurant in America but is almost entirely unknown in China itself.

General Tso/Zuo himself, however, is well known -- decidedly real and born in 1812 in this tiny valley in Hunan province. And a bit of detective work turns up the fact that, indeed, there is an obscure Hunan chicken recipe that bears his name -- though no one can say quite how that happened.

Read the rest of the article. You're sure to get a couple of chuckles out of it.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

A tale of two worlds

Last month, on August 26th, I finished reading Donald Norman's book Emotion Design. The article Over half world's homes have running water, WHO report finds appeared in that day's newspaper:
"The fact we've got so many people on the planet who actually have water at home is a stunning success," said Jamie Bartram, coordinator of water, sanitation, and health at the WHO in Geneva. "The economic and health benefits for the poor population of ready access to water are huge."
Then I reflected on the discussion in the last chapter of the book, "The Future of Robots" and thought, oh great, some of us are designing emotions into robots even before all of us have running water at home.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Patti Scialfa - Rumble Doll

This is a delightful album. Nice rhythms, great voice. I like all 12 songs. It's just what I expected after watching the Music Choice show last Sunday night.

1 Rumble Doll Scialfa 3:26
2 Come Tomorrow Scialfa 3:54
3 In My Imagination Scialfa 4:22
4 Valerie Scialfa 4:59
5 As Long as I (Can Be With You) Scialfa 4:47
6 Big Black Heaven Scialfa 3:38
7 Loves Glory Scialfa 3:47
8 Lucky Girl Campbell, Scialfa 4:08
9 Charm Light Scialfa 3:44
10 Baby Don't Scialfa 3:11
11 Talk to Me Like the Rain Scialfa 3:44
12 Spanish Dancer Scialfa 4:50
Review by Tim Griggs
Rumble Doll proves that Patti Scialfa is more than a beautiful redhead with good connections. The 12 songs on the album don't necessarily jump out at the listener on the first listen. Instead, it's more of a slow seduction. Scialfa, who penned all the songs on the album, incorporates a '60s-style vibrato reminiscent of Ronnie Spector; however, the production is low-key compared to '60s girl singers produced by Phil Spector. There's not a bad song in the bunch, and the title track is a gem. Mr. Scialfa is a lucky man to have such a lovely and talented wife.
That was a joke right? Mr. Scialfa a lucky man? Apparently Mr. Scialfa is Bruce Springsteen. Cute.

Gordon Lightfoot - The United Artists Collection

1 Rich Man's Spiritual Lightfoot 2:44
2 Long River Lightfoot 2:46
3 Way I Feel [Version 1] Lightfoot 3:43
4 For Lovin' Me Lightfoot 2:25
5 The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face MacColl 3:10
6 Changes Ochs 2:30
7 Early Morning Rain Lightfoot 3:04
8 Steel Rail Blues Lightfoot 2:48
9 Sixteen Miles (To Seven Lakes) Lightfoot 2:05
10 I'm Not Sayin' Lightfoot 2:28
11 Pride of Man Camp 2:41
12 Ribbon of Darkness Lightfoot 2:39
13 Oh Linda Lightfoot 3:09
14 Peaceful Waters Lightfoot 2:01
15 Walls Lightfoot 2:51
16 If You Got It Lightfoot 2:28
17 Softly Lightfoot 3:23
18 Crossroads Lightfoot 2:56
19 A Minor Ballad Lightfoot 3:13
20 Go-Go Round Lightfoot 2:37
21 Rosanna Lightfoot 2:39
22 Home from the Forest Lightfoot 3:02
23 I'll Be Alright Lightfoot 2:25
24 Song for a Winter's Night Lightfoot 2:58
25 Canadian Railroad Trilogy Lightfoot 6:19
26 Way I Feel [Version 2] Lightfoot 3:02
27 Wherefor & Why Lightfoot 2:51
28 The Last Time I Saw Her Lightfoot 5:10
29 Black Day in July Lightfoot 4:10
30 May 1 Lightfoot 2:19
31 Magnificent Outpouring Lightfoot 2:20
32 Does Your Mother Know Lightfoot 3:33
33 The Mountain and Maryann Lightfoot 3:35
34 Pussywillows, Cat-Tails Lightfoot 2:48
35 I Want to Hear It from You Lightfoot 2:22
36 Something Very Special Lightfoot 3:19
37 Boss Man Lightfoot 2:10
38 Did She Mention My Name Lightfoot 2:27
39 Long Way Back Home Lightfoot 3:02
40 Unsettled Ways Lightfoot 1:51
41 Long Thin Dawn Lightfoot 2:57
42 Bitter Green Lightfoot 2:42
43 Circle Is Small (I Can See It in Your Eyes) Lightfoot 3:26
44 Marie Christine Lightfoot 2:54
45 Cold Hands from New York Lightfoot 5:16
46 Affair on 8th Avenue Lightfoot 3:25
47 Don't Beat Me Down Lightfoot 3:16
48 The Gypsy Lightfoot 2:45
49 If I Could Lightfoot 4:02

Eva Cassidy - Imagine

1 It Doesn't Matter Anymore Anka 3:13
2 Fever Cooley, Davenport 3:57
3 Who Knows Where the Time Goes? Denny 5:41
4 You've Changed Carey, Fischer 4:48
5 Imagine Lennon 4:36
6 Still Not Ready Izzi, LaSota 4:48
7 Early Morning Rain Lightfoot 4:05
8 Tennessee Waltz King, Stewart 2:33
9 I Can Only Be Me Wonder 3:17
10 Danny Boy Weatherly 3:43

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Ben Folds Five - Whatever and Ever Amen

Sorry closeyoureyes, I didn't like any of the song. But it seems, Thom Owens thinks differently:
Review by Thom Owens
Expanding on the hook-laden songcraft of their eponymous debut, the Ben Folds Five turn in another glitzy array of Todd Rundgren-esque, piano-driven pop on their second album, Whatever and Ever Amen. Though it isn't as consistently tuneful and clever as their first record, Whatever and Ever Amen has a snazzy sense of popcraft — the hooks of "The Battle of Who Could Care Less," "Brick," and "Fair" sink in nearly as effortlessly as Billy Joel, Elton John, or Joe Jackson — which makes the record enjoyable ear candy. Occasionally, Folds' smug humor — whether it's the alternative rock skewering of "The Battle" or the borderline misogynist humor of "Song for the Dumped" — can undercut his melodic gifts, but Whatever and Ever Amen is confirmation that the showy pop pleasures of his first record were no fluke.

What if you had a second chance with the one that got away?

That's the premise to the new movie Before Sunset. I just saw the prequel Before Sunrise
'Before Sunrise' portrayed the attitude of an X generation's point in time, now a decade later 'Before Sunset' shows how idealistic youth gives way to adult reality, making it all the more poignant. And this time round, time is of the essence, too. Where the young Celine and Jesse spent some 14 crazy and unbidden hours together their adult versions only have 90 minutes onscreen real-time to figure things out before Jesse has to catch his plane back home. Will he catch it in time? Will he want to? The ending comes as a complete surprise and pulls off that rare thing again; it leaves you hanging but completely satisfied. It leaves you hopeless if you are a cynic and hopeful if you are a romantic.
Well, I guess I'm a romantic. I suspect that I'll remain a romantic after watching Before Sunset.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Patti Scialfa followed by Robi Draco Rosa

I'm going to have to block out Sunday nights from now on between the hours of 9pm and 11pm to tune into the broadcast of Music Choice on CN8, The Comcast Network. Last night was the second time that I stumbled in by accident. The first was a month ago, on The Corrs.

Similarly, I tuned in late to Patti Scialfa who is completely unknown to me. It was a delightful sight to discover this georgous red-head (though not as georgeous as magnolia, of course) singing harmony with the other red-head Soozie Tyrell, the violinist in the band. The energy of the band was so engaging that I gladly set aside my normal preference for soft music. This is especially significant, as it was getting close to bedtime and I certainly don't need too much stimulation.
MUSIC CHOICE® presents singer-songwriter and E Street Band member Patti Scialfa featuring special guests Steve Jordan, Nils Lofgren, Willy Weeks, Clifford Carter, Mark Stewart, Bruce Springsteen, and Soozie Tyrell! This rare and intimate television performance, filmed in New York City in April 2004, includes some of the most talented members of the world-renowned E Street Band like you've never seen them before! Patti will be performing songs from her upcoming solo release, 23rd Street Lullaby, which is due in stores June 15th. Don't miss this unique opportunity to see one of rock's finest female artists!

After the show on Patti Scialfa, I decided to see what Robi Draco Rosa is all about. He's complete new to me also. After five minutes, I was hook for the rest of the hour, even though it now past my bedtime.

I'm not usually a Latin music fan, although I like Santana and Mango Blue. But I found Robi Rosa very different. He has a very provocative stage presence. I have only one word to describe him, eclectic. Sufficiently so that I'll have to listen to his albums to get a better appreciation.

There were a couple of songs that I'm sure closeyoureyes will like, for someone who like the music of Fuel.
MUSIC CHOICE® presents Robi Draco Rosa as part of our concerts in June! Latin singer-songwriter and producer Robi Draco Rosa began as part of the teen pop sensation Menudo and then became the lead singer of the critically acclaimed alternative band Maggie's Dream. Robi also helped to write hit Latin pop songs "Livin La Vida Loca" and "Cup of Life" for fellow Menudo member Ricky Martin! Robi's latest endeavor, Mad Love, is a passionate Latin rock album that features introspective tracks and bluesy guitar riffs. Don't miss this breakthrough show!