29 November 2006

In a telling sign of exactly how principled I am, yesterday I used a socialist transportation method to get to the most bourgeois grocery store imaginable.

21 November 2006

In 1972, Pauline Kael wrote:
Robert Altman is almost frighteningly nonrepetitive. He goes out in a new direction every time, and scores an astonishing fifty percent—one on, one off. M*A*S*H was followed by Brewster McCloud, and McCabe & Mrs. Miller has now been followed by Images. I can hardly wait for his next movie.
Altman's next movie after Images, it turns out, was The Long Goodbye, which goes a long way towards explaining why this guy had the most interesting career in American movies. When he directed M*A*S*H, he was already in his forties, and I guess I assumed that he would be around forever. I never thought I'd see the day when there wouldn't be another Altman movie around the corner, but I suppose that day had to come.

(On the other hand, there are approximately twenty-five post-M*A*S*H Altman movies that I still haven't seen, which makes me feel a little better. As David Thomson once wrote, "There is nothing like knowing that one has still to see a body of great work. And no gamble as interesting as pushing the desire to its limit.")

20 November 2006

Phew, it appears Rangel has escaped from Al From's underground dungeon and returned to his old rascally ways. There's nothing like renewing calls for a draft to make America excited about a Democratic Congress!

15 November 2006

Today a paper titled Lame curves with bad reduction was posted on the arxiv. Turns out not to be quite as funny as it seems (see the abstract and see if you can figure out why).

14 November 2006

Today's IMDb poll asks, "Which actor's movies would you watch, even if you didn't know what that film was about, just because he was in it?" The winner, with 26.2% of the vote, is Johnny Depp. The runner-up is "Other."

(Curiously enough, neither Tom Hanks nor Christopher Walken is on the list. And which actor got my vote? Well...)

11 November 2006

Who abducted Charles Rangel and replaced him with a tax-cutting imposter? Is the real Rangel locked in a closet somewhere deep beneath the DLC headquarters? Is that where they'll keep the real Pelosi too?

09 November 2006

I'm not sure why, but I really want to see this movie about the dancing penguins. Maybe it's because the director is the same guy who made The Road Warrior.

08 November 2006

In totally unrelated news, I finally made myself a puzzle website. There are two brand new puzzles up there if any of you are bored.
By the way, I was wrong about my stock portfolio. I'd forgotten that from Wall Street's point of view, the prospect of gridlock is a good thing.
It is indeed a good day. Here's what I want the Congress to do (from a popularity point of view) in its first weeks in power:

1) raise the minimum wage
2) enact port security measures
3) pass pro-stem cell research legislation
4) do NOT begin censure proceedings
5) do NOT focus on things like detainee rights, repealing Alec's tax cuts, and all the other wedge issues that Republicans scare people with.
6) increase military pay
7) do NOT call for immediate withdrawal from Iraq; there's plenty of wiggle room for changing strategies and timelines and whatnot
As Torrey and I were heading to the opera last night, we noticed a large number of people walking with us who weren't exactly in the opera-going demographic. Turns out they were heading for a concert. (Sorry Alec, we stuck with the opera.)
My thoughts:

  • Hooray!
  • Minnesota is not the liberal bastion it used to be, but things are not as bleak as they were a few years ago. Not they just need to repeal the stupid concealed weapons law.
  • How did a Democrat get 70% of the vote for Wyoming governor?
  • My representative (Barbara Lee) got 85% of the votes in her district. Talk about gerrymandering.
  • Ballot measures are also looking good: a parental notification law lost in California, the South Dakota abortion ban lost, and someone, somewhere (Arizona, to be precise) rejected a gay marriage ban. Unfortunately, Californians still refuse to tax anyone and instead passed about $50 billion of bond measures.
  • Berkeley passed a city resolution by a 2-1 margin calling for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney. There will always be a Berkeley.
A few thoughts that ran through my head this morning:
1. Sweet.
2. Hmm, a recount. Are we any good at those?
3. This can't be good for my stock portfolio.
4. I hope these guys don't raise my taxes.
5. Seriously, just let me keep the dividend tax cut.
6. No? Fine. But I'm watching you, House Majoricrats.
All in all, though, it's been a good day. Spitzer in 2016!

02 November 2006

In his terrific autobiography, Robert Evans talks about meeting Darryl Zanuck, the legendary studio chief, and realizing where the real power resides in Hollywood: "Not some actor shitting his pants over whether he gets a role, but the guy [i.e., the producer] who says, 'The kid stays in the picture.'" It's as true today as it ever was. Which just goes to show you, Tom Cruise is awesome. And very, very smart.

01 November 2006

For some reason, I always thought of William Styron as being vaguely my age. He died today at age 81. I'm not sure what this means.