Friday, May 27, 2005

Good word

"I made the Posh-Sporty switch a while back. Posh is so dull."

--Kenneth Burns, 22 May 1998

I loved, loved, loved Star Wars: Episode III. Analysis to come.
Good word

"Now, I've got nothing against freelance writers; I've been one myself, and tomorrow morning I'll become one again. It's a respectable way to make a living (even if a fiscally preposterous one)."

--Daniel Okrent
One from the vault

Hey Junkers fans, here's a rarity: a jingle for the radio station WMMM the Junk recorded some two years ago. I just laid hands on a copy.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Ring ring

Recently I went to a screening of the Jet Li film Unleashed, which I reviewed in Isthmus. During the movie I was vexed by a din of cell phones: they rang frequently, and even more maddeningly, their owners took the calls. The kid in front of me must have taken four calls, and when he was not speaking, he seemed to be texting.

Isn't this a bit much? Why bother to go to a movie at all? I might have spoken up except that I was there on a press comp, a privilege that, as I have learned, theater managers can revoke with extreme prejudice. So I like to keep a low profile. But if I had paid for that ticket! Actually, even in that case I probably would have just tried to find a more isolated seat. In these situations I usually find that active protesting only stresses me out.
Ink in the coinky

Weekday afternoons rarely find me on State Street, but today I had to drop off a video at Four Star, so downtown I went. Because I parked at a meter that had almost two hours on it, and because the weather was extremely pleasant, I decided to loiter a moment. I grabbed a couple of newspapers and was sitting on a bench, reading, when I noticed someone standing in front of me and smiling incredulously. It turned out to be my old college friend Andrea, whom I have not seen in something like 13 years! She's here interviewing for a job at Lands' End in Dodgeville. We ducked into a java den and caught up. Then I had to get back to work and she had a plane to catch, so we said farewell, for now.

How lovely is that? Thanks to whoever put the extra money in the meter, because otherwise I would have missed the whole thing!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


To the list of links to articles I've written, over there on the right, I have added reviews of CDs by Audrey Ryan and Maia Sharp, a profile of the Madison pop-punk band Screamin' Cyn Cyn and the Pons ("Nutty by nature"), and concert previews for Green Day ("Idiots beware") and Chicago pianist Patricia Barber ("Latin lover").
Good word

"Though Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve's chairman, has resisted characterizing the housing market as a bubble, he warned last week that parts of the country showed signs of 'froth.'"

Jennifer Bayot, The New York Times
No more war

It has been a radical few days. On Saturday we watched a film I've long wanted to see, Running on Empty (1988), the Sidney Lumet-directed story of a couple of 1960s radicals (Judd Hirsch, Christine Lahti) who are living underground and raising two sons. One of the sons, played by a mesmerizing River Phoenix, is about to finish high school, so the parents struggle with not only the pain of separation but also the fact that once he is in college, they can't stay close to him and maintain their cover. Sad stuff. Stories like this fascinate me, in no small part because the son of jailed members of the notorious Weather Underground was a neighbor of mine in Chicago.

And last night we watched Guerilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst, an "American Experience" broadcast on PBS. The Hearst story is an absorbing one: her captors, the Symbionese Liberation Army, were among a rapidly dwindling number of violent counterculture radicals, and her kidnapping was one of the last gasps of the 1960s. When the SLA abducted her in 1974 America's involvement in Vietnam was mostly finished, and there wasn't much left to protest. In the film what emerges of the SLA's philosophy is some unspecific plans to overthrow Western capitalism and a few details about how the early-1970s energy crisis was supposed to be a government plot to throw laborers out of work. One of the most striking things about the SLA is that at its height, this army boasted about eight members.

The Madison public television station WHA, channel 11, will rebroadcast the Patty Hearst documentary tonight at 11:00.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Something to ponder

I learn from the Internet Movie Database that the British title of Police Academy was Police Academy: What an Institution!