Sunday, March 31, 2002
Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthday, dear me
Happy Birthday to me
Another Easter, another B-day: believe it or not, this is the second time my birthday has fallen on Easter Sunday. This time it's not such a big deal, but last time was virtually devastating. It was my 21st birthday.
Let me tell you, the party possibilities for a newly-minted legal drinker in a small college town on Easter are not copious. I did finally find a liquor store that was open, but given the fact that I've looked 25 for most of the last 20 years (according to some sources), I didn't even get carded and thus have the joy of proving my legitimacy as a purchaser of spirits. But the champagne I ended up getting was a lovely way to ease into the ranks of the alcohol empowered nonetheless.
If you're so inclined, think of me when you raise a glass today. I'm always glad for the good vibes.
Posted @ 3:59 AM
Sunday, March 24, 2002
With a little more than half an hour until the start of the Oscars, I suddenly realized I'd better get my predictions up here so that they're logged and people will have proof this time that I got them right. Almost as suddenly, I realized I don't have any predictions. I'm pulling for Lord of Rings and A Beautiful Mind, but other than that I'm just going to kick back and enjoy the silly, frivolous, glorious spectacle of it all.
After several months and some twists and turns, I finally took possession of the digital camera I got for Christmas. Its battery is charging now, and I can't wait to start playing with it. Tomorrow, I think I'll run into DC and see what pics I can snap; the cherry blossoms should be out in some places and they're always a great subject. If I get anything good, you'll see here later in the day.
Today's words of wisdom: if you put enough flavor on a rice cake, it's acceptable.
Posted @ 7:52 PM
Friday, March 22, 2002
Posted @ 1:46 PM
Sunday, March 17, 2002
A few months back, I postulated that Nathan Lane's throat problems might force him to leave the hit Broadway show The Producers before his contract ran out. I further went on to guess that, in keeping with the recent trend of having television and recording stars headline musicals, Jason Alexander might step into Lane's role of Max Bialystock. Alexander's sitcom Bob Patterson had just been cancelled, and I felt he had the chops to do Bialystock right.
I was quite serious about that guess, and also quite wrong. I never heard so much as a whisper about Alexander joining the show. In fact, I was so wrong it seemed clear I was just hopelessly naive about the subject. There was no way the folks in charge of the biggest show to hit Broadway in twenty years were going to choose some sitcom actor to replace one of the original leads.
Fast forward to today. As I type this, Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick are in the middle of their final performance of the show. When the curtain next goes up on Tuesday, British actor Henry Goodman will be playing Lane's part, and Broderick's role of Leo Bloom will be filled by Steven Weber, formerly of the long-running sitcom Wings. So I had the right idea, just the wrong role and actor.
Only time will tell if Weber can pull this off. He's always struck me as a solid journeyman actor, but not much more. On Wings, that odd amalgamation of Cheers and Taxi set in a small-town airport, Weber played his role competently, essentially staying at the same level as the mediocre material he was given. I've only seen him in one remarkable project, the wonderful slice-of-gay-life in New York City film, Jeffrey. As the title character, Weber mostly stayed out of the way of the other actors, including Patrick Stewart in his brilliant turn as interior designer and "Pink Panther," Sterling.
The reviews for the new Bialystock and Bloom will probably be out in a few days. I'll be taking note of what the critics have to say, to see if Weber can rise above his former work and fill Broderick's very big shoes.
So much for the idea of Senator Tipper Gore. She's decided against running for her husband's old seat. I'm proud to have been on the bandwagon for its last day of existence.
Posted @ 3:50 PM
Saturday, March 16, 2002
Coming from someone who doesn't live in Tennessee and wields no political clout, this probably won't make even the slightest bit of difference, but I'll add what little weight I can by joining those urging Tipper Gore to run for the Senate. The country needs more strong, intelligent women in Congress, and she would fit that bill wonderfully.
And before the bitching about that PMRC stuff in the mid-eighties starts up, let me just say please don't bother. Everyone else moved on a long time ago; please catch up.
Posted @ 8:54 AM
Wednesday, March 13, 2002
As expected, much of my non-job search time is being sucked up by Civ III. Mastering this one is going to be a hell of a lot harder than Civ II, but that's the point, after all. I'm having a ball with it, and it's helping drive away the unemployment blues. A guy couldn't ask for much more out of a distraction.
When I'm not playing the game, I'm reading. I've just finished the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, which I highly recommend to anybody who wants to read a Great American Novel with a comic book theme. Last night, I started David Sederis' best-seller Me Talk Pretty One Day. I picked it up on the recommendation of my brother Geoff, the toughest audience I know. He read a passage to me a few weeks back that made him laugh to the point of tears, so I'm expecting many a giggle fit from the book myself.
The best bit of reading I've done recently combines these two main leisure activities: this FAQ for Civ III written by Dennis "Fox" Doucette. Most such works are pretty dry laundry list affairs devoid of style, humor or even a basic command of syntax. This one is funny, engaging and well-written. One moment he's doing a great riff on gamers' propensity to see themselves as the gods of the scenarios they play, the next he's referencing Ricardo’s Law of Comparative Advantage. The FAQ is almost more fun than playing the game itself, and further proof that good writing is good writing, regardless of the subject.
Posted @ 4:15 PM
Thursday, March 07, 2002
Cas Scheer, my late paternal grandfather, started his career as a cub reporter for the Kenosha Evening News. One of the most important lessons he learned while working there was the need to be clear and precise in one's writing. If a word or phrase is left open to misinterpretation, Grampa would often tell me, that's exactly what will happen.
This principle is particularly true of headlines, the California haiku of journalism. Despite the fact that all editors worth their salt drill this law into their writers' heads, errors slip through all the time. Which brings me to my case in point, from the AP wire via Excite last night:
On seeing this, my first thought was "What did the Green Bay Packers do to piss off Glenn Close?"
A couple of seconds later, I figured out what the headline writer had actually intended to say. It was a realization accompanied by the welcome memory of my grandfather's warm and gentle laugh.
Posted @ 12:51 PM
Tuesday, March 05, 2002
It's a rare day when a guy finds and adopts a whole new philosophy of life. That being the case, it's safe to say I'll be celebrating March 5th as a personal holiday from here on out. For today is the day I discovered the key to unlocking my full potential, and that key is called Structured Procrastination, as espoused by my first new personal hero in nearly half a week, Dr. John Perry, Henry Waldgrave Stuart Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University.
To boil it down to its essence, Structured Procrastination states that a procrastinator should pile on as many projects and obligations as possible. When these items are ranked, the ones that seem most important and pressing will rise to the top. In order to avoid those supposedly imperative tasks, the procrastinating person will focus his or her energies on the mid-list things that are, in reality, the ones that actually need doing.
It's so damn simple. I should have worked this out for myself years ago.
I still need to field-test this way of thinking, but my gut tells me it is going to change my life for the better in very short order. It's certainly going to be a hell of lot more effective than such tripe as Successories or Franklin Covey has ever been, and it didn't cost me a dime.
Posted @ 1:43 AM
Sunday, March 03, 2002
A smattering of links to make up for (and in the last case, explain) my silence this past week:
In need of someone to admire? Look no further than my new hero, Queen Rania of Jordan. Not only is she intelligent, savvy and a skilled diplomat, but she also gets massive points for being able to live with and love one of the world's biggest Star Trek fans.
Posted @ 6:15 PM
Have you seen Oolong yet? If not, get thee hence.
If I'm not around much for the next few weeks, you can blame it on a game. I broke down and bought Civilization III a couple of days ago, and I think I'm going to be spending a great deal of my time (except when I'm job searching, of course) trying to master the thing.
Am we talking to myselves?
The Astroprison Chronicles
The Big DumpTruck
Insane Troll Logic II
Life of Riley
Living in the Past
Mental Flotsam, Mental Jetsam
The View From Here
Too Much Information
By The Way...
Wil Wheaton (out of order)
Wil Wheaton: In Exile
Overheard in New York
Eddie From Ohio
The Boogie Knights
Write Club NYC
My IMDb Film Rankings
Comics Book Resources
News & Comment
The Morning News
The New York Times
Urban Legends Reference Pages
The Washington Post