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?