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Friday, July 12, 2002

A few words about All Things Considered:

:: I miss Linda Wertheimer. Now they Have Jacki Lyden, who's ok, I guess. I like her better than I liked Noah Adams, who is on leave writing a book about the Wright brothers. It's funny; I can't quite recall what Noah Adams sounds like anymore. A lot of the NPR guys sound the same, except for the the more nasal ones like the guy who does the sports and the guy who does the Washington money stories.

:: I started listening around `91, when I started working at a desk job where I used Lotus to parse large text files filled with book shipment data. A boring job. I often carried around a Walkman with little earplugs, listening to All Things Considered. I remember hearing the Rodney King verdict when it was announced (I think I said "oh, shit," or something equally prescient).

:: Sylvia Poggioli is cool. Especially when she says her name: "This is Syl-vee-ah Poe-joe-lee for NPR News, Milan."

Not what I wanted to hear: Silicon Valley's New Pessimists Talk of Pain Beyond the PC (New York Times, registration req'd). "To grasp the depth of the Valley's decline from its peak, it is only necessary to review the fortunes of the Fast 50, an annual list of the region's fastest-growing companies maintained by Joint Venture: Silicon Valley, a coalition of government, corporate and civic groups."

"Of the top 10 companies on the list in 2001, only one, eBay, was profitable in the last quarter. Two companies, Excite@Home and Exodus Communications, filed for bankruptcy protection and have since been acquired. Seven others on the list had losses in each of the last four quarters, including Commerce One, which reported a staggering $220 million loss in the first quarter of this year. Finally, the stocks of four of the eight survivors in this group are now trading for less than $1."

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

It's Canadian, so it's a little left-skewed, but it still gave me solace to see that the National Post picked up on how Bush's teflon days may be coming to an end. I think it was a struggle for all lefty types, watching GW striding across the platform trying to look Rooseveltian (or at least Eisenhoweresque), while we were told that arresting people without due process is the right thing. It isn't. It's also nice to see GW look like Clinton.

Not funny, but strikes me as odd: David Hasselhoff in crisis. "The rugged chief lifeguard on Baywatch ... has checked into the Betty Ford Center for treatment of a drinking problem." Why is this being announced?

Friday, July 05, 2002

Recent movies:

:: The Game, trying to see all the David Fincher movies. The script had had lots of neat ideas about money and happiness, but something was missing, and I think it was Michael Douglas. Although portraying someone emotionally dead who needs to be reawakened, Douglas just looks beat-up and sad rather than actually sympathetic. And the epiphany he experiences comes off trite, which really disables the premise. Maybe if they had cast less of a "movie star"? Douglas is undeniably skilled at portraying investment bankers and stock brokers... but that's not really a complement, is it? (I argued with Sugar that Tom Hanks should do a Fincher movie, but she says that's too against type, no one would buy it. What about Adam Sandler?) The movie had some great moments, particularly the taxi ride and the multiple endings, but I wanted more human emotion.

:: Prime Cut, with my hero, Lee Marvin. I first read about this in a list of Jim Jarmusch's guilty pleasures, and I can see why he liked it. Marvin underplays his acting like the professional he was, and the movie's bizarre and somewhat hushed violence fosters a sense of dread that Fincher can only aspire to. The story is completely simple, the pacing is a model of economy, and the mood is early-Seventies cynicsm played against golden Kansas fields -- you could call it "4-H noir." Like nothing else I've seen in a while. Director Ritchie plays out some of the Gothic touches a little too overtly (like the relationship between Gene Hackman and his brother) but who cares?

Monday, July 01, 2002

Trent Lott (the one my girlfriend's mom refers to as "the one with the cow paddy on his head") thinks that Bernard Ebbers is someone that Mississippi should be proud of (alphabetical; scroll to see it). Pretty weird. [via tpm]

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