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Archive for May, 2008

Leaving New York, Never Easy.

New York, New York, the center of the world, the city that never sleeps. If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. And if you can’t…well, then, I guess you pack up a U-Haul and move on down the road. (Or is it “Then we take Berlin“?) At any rate, after a seven-year stint here in the Harlem-Morningside environs, Berk and I are leaving Manhattan on Wednesday for (hopefully) greener pastures. My next real destination is still undetermined, pending the vagaries of the job search, but for now I’ll be returning to the nest to continue writing the dissertation and otherwise scrounge for remunerative employ. We’ll see how it goes from there.

As for NYC, on one hand, I’m really going to miss this town. The sheer energy of Gotham always puts a spring in my step, and I really enjoy that distinct New York sensation of living in the center of the hive, ever-so-slightly in the future. On the other hand, I’d be lying if I didn’t concede that this city tends to aggravate my natural Irish melancholy, particularly once you factor in the usual grad school isolation, the happenstance that many of my better friends left some time ago, and the sad fact that, romantically speaking, I got crushed here…twice. But, no hard feelings, New York. Sure, there are lingering ghosts in this city, and if I never live as alone again as I have the past two years, it’ll be soon enough. But, I still love Manhattan, and I always will, and I would definitely look forward to doing another stint here at some point, if it turns out to be in the cards.

In any case, the future — however hazy at the moment — beckons. So, I’d expect it to be quiet here over the next few days as my brother and I lug my accumulated belongings down the Eastern Seaboard. Until then, hope everyone had a relaxing and appropriately reflective Memorial Day, and I’ll be in touch on the other end. And, if you’re an NYC reader and I didn’t see ya before I left, I expect I’ll be back for visits, more often than not. (I mean, this is New York.) Until then, be safe, y’all.

The Way He Was.

“First, I have to satisfy the needs of popular art. Second, I don’t want to be intellectually insulting. I want to raise issues and questions that are sufficiently intriguing — so people I care about will like them, too.” Sydney Pollack, 1934-2008.

An Unexpected Party.

“Like Guillermo says, apart from extreme circumstances, we would never recast a character who appeared in the LOTR trilogy. You can read The Hobbit and pretty much see which characters play a part. The unknown facter is Film Two, which we are still developing.” Over the weekend, Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro ventured online to discuss The Hobbit. Not much in the way of news made (other than the quote above), although it’s worth reading for Del Toro’s thoughts on Smaug, among other things. It does sound like they’re winging this second “filler” movie, tho’, which could be real trouble.

On the Road.

“What’s moving and shocking about McCarthy’s book is that it’s so believable.’ Mr. Hillcoat said. ‘So what we wanted is a kind of heightened realism, as opposed to the “Mad Max” thing, which is all about high concept and spectacle. We’re trying to avoid the clichés of apocalypse and make this more like a natural disaster.’” Also in movie news, the NYT checks in with the filming of John Hillcoat’s The Road, based on the book by Cormac McCarthy and starring Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee as father and son respectively, along with Guy Pearce, Robert Duvall, and Michael Kenneth (“Omar”) Williams. I mean, it kinda figures that Omar would’ve survived the Apocalypse.

Flight of the Phoenix.

In my dreams it couldn’t go as perfectly as it went tonight, we went right down the middle.” Touchdown: NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander, soon to look for water in the Martian Arctic, lands without incident in the Vastitas Borealis plains. Congrats!

Death Wish.

“My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don’t understand it.” A Freudian slip, or just the Mother of all Gaffes? Classy to the end, Sen. Clinton, perhaps inadvertently, blurts out her Vulture Strategy. Now, that should go over like gangbusters. Ugh, go away already.

Update: “Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, reacting to Mrs. Clinton’s comment through a spokeswoman, said only, ‘This is beyond the pale.’

Update 2: In a special comment tonight, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann blew a gasket over Clinton’s remarks, and offered a concise and damning litany of the ridiculousness Sen. Clinton has subjected us to over these past few months. To be honest, I think Olbermann is pretty far over the top here. That being said, the riff beginning at 7:13 is very worthwhile.

Secrets of the HVL.

“If your catch needs work, both Ms. Guerette and Mr. Butt suggested practicing putting your blades in and out of the water while sitting in the catch position at full compression (legs bent, chest nearly touching thighs, arms extended). Ms. Guerette recommended doing this drill in shallow water, since there’s a chance you could fall into the drink.” By way of several ex-rower friends: In the NYT, Charley Butt (my former HVL coach) and one of his current proteges, Olympian Michelle Guerette, offer pointers on how to improve your stroke, and sum up how I spent a good bit of time in college. (See also the accompanying slideshow and video.)

Just Like a Woman…we think.

What’s stranger than Christian Bale as John Connor in McG’s forthcoming Terminator trilogy? How about the one and only Charlotte Gainsbourg reprising Claire Danes’ character from the third film? Uh, really, what are y’all doing in this hackmeisterly cash-grab?

Update: Order is restored: Gainsbourg is out, and Bryce Dallas Howard is in. That sadly makes more sense.

Jeepers Veepers.

After Sen. Clinton gets toxic and ridiculous over Michigan and Florida — In a clear attempt to poison the well (and fire up the smoke machine), she compared the DNC’s decision to adhere to the rules she herself agreed to (when it suited her) to Election 2000, Zimbabwe, and the civil rights movement — her aides, fundraisers, and husband try to foist Sen. Clinton as Obama’s veep. But Rural Votes’ Al Giordano says hold up: “The Field can now confirm, based on multiple sources, something that both campaigns publicly deny: that Senator Clinton has directly told Senator Obama that she wants to be his vice presidential nominee, and that Senator Obama politely but straightforwardly and irrevocably said ‘no.’ Obama is going to pick his own running mate based on his own criteria and vetting process.

In the meantime, regarding delegates: Obama picked up two more Edwards delegates and supers Pilar Lujan (GU) and Rep. Dennis Cardoza (CA) crossed paths switching (Lujan to Clinton, Cardoza to Obama.) Also for Obama since the last update: Rep. Jim Costa (CA), Rep. Joe Courtney (CT), and DNC members Scott Brennan (IA), Jenny Greenleaf (OR), and Wayne Dowdy (MS). (In the meantime, Clinton picked up 2 more UADs from Ohio and Massachusetts.) Thus, the most recent tally: Obama +7, Clinton +2. Sen. Obama is now 57 delegates away from the (current) magic number of 2025.

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