Thursday, June 28, 2007


Typical camp drama. Stuff I can't talk about. Then twisted my ankle. Watched Imitation of Life and had a good story about camp but forgot it.
Oy. That was terribly uninteresting.
Today was all an epic struggle to take a shower I kid you not.
Infrequent Internet access.
One of my students calls me "Teach." Which is disturbing.
Totally cleaned house in poker at Casino Night last night. I friggin rule at Texas hold'em. Also, I ran my craps table like a friggin pro. If I don't get a job in LA soon, I'm thinking about changing my profession. No kidding.
Magical realism class tomorrow. Gangsta.

Monday, June 25, 2007

but a forward from whom?

Where to eat in Gettysburg?
Try The Pub. If you like Buffalo Chicken, you will love the Buffalo Chicken Salad. If you don't like Buffalo Chicken, get the cheeseburger and the to-die-for chocolate-chip cheesecake...
The Lincoln Diner's also good... for a diner.

So apparently Klondike started putting out a Choco Taco, which thrilled me no end when I happened upon it at the Gettysburg 7/11. Unfortunately, I didn't read the fine type and was shocked to taste cinnamon in my Choco Taco. Not spicy cinnamon, just cinnamon. I think that was an error in judgment on the part of Klondike.

At Mamma Ventura's bar, the Spanish teacher said the best thing when the residential director said he once got an email from God.

"Me, too."
"Well, actually, it was a forward."


Friday, June 22, 2007

How do you translate A Clockwork Orange into Russian?

I ask specifically about Russian because the slang in the book depends largely on Russian written out phonetically in our letter system. I think this is a clever way of creating a futuristic slang (especially considering back when it was written people thought the Russians were going to take over everything), but what would you do, or what has been done, when it's translated into Russian? Alot more Russians know English than the other way around, so I don't know how effective making the futuristic slang English written phonetically in the Cyrillic alphabet would work... anyone know the answer to this? It's sad that they'd never have horrorshow (which is from kharasho, which means good in Russian) in not just a Russian translation, but any outside of English. It's such a book for an English audience and, moreso, for one with a basic knowledge of Russian.

Wrenched my shoulder lifting weights yesterday. Heaving giant tomes for the Yale library apparently did not do anything for my upper body strength. Criminy.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Gettysburg, PA

Where Georgian brick buildings go to replicate. No, this place is a SIGNIFICANT improvement upon teaching at Emma Willard, if only due to the existence of air conditioning. Arrived super-late to make an indelible first impression, the kind of which made me look like something of a human coup de foudre, like that commercial where someone tries to pay cash instead of using their credit card. By the way, I find that commercial abhorrent. No one should be made to feel bad for paying with cash. What's good enough for our grandparents is good enough for us...
Was asked to count in Russian today as we made our way through the staff manual. Luckily the Director forgot about his request before we made it to twenty, which I have quite forgotten...

That is all.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

the wedding from cheshire

Mi padre got married today, and oh what a day it was. Held in my stepsister's backyard, the ceremony went on despite a rather alarming number of missing guests and my weeping father's inability to remove the wedding rings from the bearer's pillow. But overall the ceremony was short and sweet. And then the reception got under way... and the thunderstorms broke overhead. As rain started to fall on the tent and thunder grumbled in the distance, my uncle (who I haven't seen in 20 years or so and has a terrible health record) got really sick, and my father, being the hypochondriac he is, called the ambulance and cut the reception super-short. So we were stuck under the tent, in the middle of a pretty awful thunderstorm/downpour, waiting for the ambulance to arrive, and feeling really uncomfortable about the DJ playing Marvin Gaye...

Anyhow, my uncle's okay. He was just dehydrated. But holy moly, what a day.

Friday, June 15, 2007

you like seatbelts, don't you?

Hybrid cars make me feel good. They seem like a step forward in a country that has, until recently, seemed like it hated the environment and considered it a natural foe to all things comfortable and fun. Hybrid cars, like the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic seemed to be changing all that.

And then I watched Who Killed the Electric Car? and it reminded me that, in many ways, the hybrids are a consolation prize given to those of us mourning the electric car, which was murdere by the oil companies, the federal government, the California Air Resources Board, the car companies (GM comes off looking particularly bad in this movie, which means I will never buy a car from them), and, I think, bad advertising. Do you remember how the electric car was marketed? As "the car of the future," and an awfully creepy future at that. Reasonable prices weren't offered, and the ads never showed how fast the electric car went. They showed it being stalked by kitchen appliances, or in the distance, as if the car hadn't arrived yet. As if the car was a dream. The electric car never seemed like a tangible reality to most people, especially since the car manufacturers chose to put in a less efficient battery in the car, limiting its range, when it had access to one that would have provided enough miles to calm most consumers' fears. Why the car companies built the electric car, except as a show of good faith to the zero emissions mandates that were starting to show up, only to sabotage it is beyond me...

Until you realize what the auto manufacturers have to lose. The doc depicts this really well, and it never occurred to me. If you have an electric car, your angle is how clean and energy-efficient it is. Which means... all your other cars... are evil. It's schizophrenic. By marketing this one experimental car as good, you'd be making all your other products look bad. This could be a potential profit problem, not to mention an image problem, and the manufacturers weren't ready and/or willing to convert them all.

So how did we get the Toyota and Honda hybrids? The Japanese auto manufacturers got scared because all the American manufacturers were making test models of these machines they had no intention of pushing on consumers. And as American manufacturers pulled back hybrids and electrics in exchange for Hummers and SUVs (grrr, we can run over your hybrid, grr), the Japanese produced the new, hot, lucrative car we've all come to know and love. Mmm, hybrids.

Republicans and libertarians say you can't force the government to force auto manufacturers to do the right thing. Free enterprise and all that crap. But without federal legislation, we wouldn't have seatbelts, airbags, or half the other implements that keep cars from killing us en masse. The White House suing California to drop their zero emissions mandate is, hence, the sickest thing I've ever heard.

No, I take that back. The push of coal, which is like telling someone you'll replace their malignant brain tumor with liver disease, the decision to drill in the Arctic Wildlife Preserve (a year of oil equals destroying nature? sure!), and all this hydrogen cell crap to appease the happily ignorant consumers who only know that oil seems to not be the best energy solution right now -- those are disturbing, too.

So, go watch Who Killed the Electric Car? -- your kids will someday have to watch it in school for history class...

I also watched Ocean's 13 last night as well. Mildly charming, but considering tonight's viewing, an egregious waste of time.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

the favorite word competition goes on

Over at Education Action, "serendipity" is winning ("serendipitous" is better, but neither should be winning), someone misspelled "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" (how hard is that, honestly?) and I have been moved to concede "archipelago" may indeed be a superior word to "indubitably." Sad no one's picked "potato." You can't say "potato" without feeling better.

People, please, go put something. America is insanely under-represented... "Taqueria" is also a good word... The lack of words starting with "v" is a travesty... "Wallaby" should be in there, too.

phrases I've invented, the strangeness of Esquire, flat tires

My car is falling apart. First, the crash, then my tires give up the ghost. Oy.

Instead of referring to tall thin people as string beans, what about calling them haricot vertical? Ants coming out of the woodwork in droves? A wainscoterie...

That was fun.

Esquire gave a funny blurb for their upcoming July issue, which features a novella by the King. Pay specific attention to this last sentence

According to Esquire, "The Gingerbread Girl" tells "the story of Emily, who flees to the secluded Vermillion Key off of Florida's coast after the death of her infant child. Her new neighbor also enjoys the privacy of the key, but the women he brings with him never return home. Emily's curiosity leads her right into the hands of the madman, but it's her legs that are her only hope for survival."

Her legs are her only hope for survival? Are we talking Rose McGowan fashion in Grindhouse? Is she going to shoot him with a peg leg-AK47? Or just beat him senseless with legs that he may or may not have already sliced off? Are we merely talking outrunning him? Kicking him in the crotch? Does she wear stilettos? Is her foot fungus lethal?

I can't imagine putting so much pressure on my legs. They're nice, but pretty wimpy when it comes down to facing off against evil Stephen King characters...

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Coast of U-going-to-sleep

So I didn't see any NY theater this year other than The Coast of Utopia, but I promise you, it wasn't enjoyable. Billy Crudup is genius, so yes I'm thrilled beyond words or even grunting sounds that he won, but Jennifer Ehle? Slightly less shrill than her fellow castmates and overdramatic in several interchangeable female roles that she couldn't have done much with anyhow. Directing? Puh-lease. The play, particularly parts two and hree, were well-choreographed but everything else was dull, dull, annoying, grating, and dull. When Billy Crudup's character died, I spent the rest of part two hoping the theatre would burst into flames. And during number 3, I chastised myself for continuing the self-flagellation of watching Stoppard's "I read a bunch of Russian history/philosophy books and then mangled them in with some pseudo-romance trash to give you a migraine for 9 hours"...

Anyhow. Hoorah for Billy.

Rented the British mockumentary Confetti the other night, which stars Martin Freeman, from the original The Office and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. If you'd like a softer, Britisher version of Christopher Guest's mockumentaries, this might be to your taste. I liked it. It's a small inconsequential thing, but the poor bloke who plays the tennis wedding husband is pretty great at being both sympathetic and despicable at the same time. Should get a BAFTA for it.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

my goal in life is to one day have this article rewritten about me...

well, at least the teaser headline and first paragraph

summer lovin'

Everyone has a "best songs of summer" list, but that clearly changes every year, or every week, as the case may be. I don't consider this definitive for any day but June 10, 2007.

OK, time for uptempo, upbeat, chipper and cheerful summer music mix making. The key to the summer mix is not to keep a song off because it's embarrassing. If it's something you'd dance to in the privacy of your bedroom, put it in, even if it is a showtune.

Of course, "Summer Nights" from Grease, courtesy of Olivia Newton-John Travolta, would be on that list. Here are other ones that I'd put in a mix.

"Wipe Out" the Surfaris (unfortunately, Peewee ruined "Tequila")
"Help Me, Rhonda" The Beach Boys
"Zoot Suit Riot" Cherry Poppin Daddies
"Rock Steady" No Doubt
"Boogie Shoes" KC and the Sunshine Band
"Summer Sunshine" the Corrs
"Smile" Vitamin C (if it's not too commercial for you)
"Steal My Sunshine" by Len (terrible singing voice, but still)
"Grace Kelly" MIKA
"Surf City" Jan and Dean
"Summer Love" Justin Timberlake (if you haven't heard it on the radio too much)
"Vacation" or "We Got the Beat" the Go-Gos
"War" Edwin Starr (just for the "Good God, y'all")
"School's Out" Alice Cooper
"Walking on Sunshine" Katrina and the Waves
"Low Rider" War
"American Woman" by Lenny Kravitz
"Barbara Ann" by The Beach Boys (which my generation knows best for its moment in the sun on "Saved by the Bell")
"Here Comes the Sun" George Harrison

OK, I think that's good for now. I don't even own half these songs, but... maybe soon...

What would you include? I deliberately left off some obvious ones like "Margaritaville" and Will Smith's "Summertime," which I just don't like that much... No Don Henley either please, thanks.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

pilot -- up, up, and away

So I finished my pilot and registered it with the WGA, and now it's off to FOX. Hoorah! Because I feel so good about it, I'll even tell y'all the title. "Lucy Moreau: World-Famous Explorer." Catchy, huh?

Muchos excited.

Also, figured out a tiny plot problem in my novel. I work slowly on the novel, quickly on the pilot. That's how life is, I guess.

Watched "My Super Ex-Girlfriend" last night. It was at the library, so I figured, what the heck? I finally realized something. Luke Wilson cannot act for the life of him. If he is the leading male in a film, particularly a romcom, the film will probably suck. He just isn't good. Sorry, Luke. Loved "The Royal Tenenbaums," but in general, you're just not leading man material.

Anyhow... got to go help the Moms clean the rug. I know, lots of excitement.

Friday, June 8, 2007

better know a district representative

I haven't seen an ep of The Daily Show or The Colbert Report in ages, but I'm watching the latter show right now, and I must tell you, run, don't walk, to The Colbert Report's Web site and watch Rep. Adam Smith of Washington's 9th district interview. You will die. In the good way.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

the gospel according to Craig's list

Being a bit naive, I totally thought an ad on Craig's list for a job blogging on TV for MSN was legit. So I wrote some sample posts and sent it to the email address. Or tried to, anyhow. No go. Either such an address doesn't exist, or I screwed it up. Rather than have the writing die, I present the samples here, for your entertainment.

Casting Coop

The creators of Nip/Tuck really underestimate their audience. While refusing to tell TVGuide’s Michael Ausiello what character Bradley Cooper will play in a five-episode arc during the upcoming fifth season, they did say he won’t be a “love interest for anyone, male or female.”
Well, that’s just plain ridiculous. On Nip/Tuck everyone gets a little nookie, whether they be serial killers, family members, violently disfigured patients, or people of ambiguous genitalia. Heck, even his character from The Wedding Crashers could get a quickie in the break room.
Hence, (that’s right, hence) if Cooper is on for five episodes, the only way he’s not going to be the object of some sort of seduction, crush, or sexual exploit is… and I’m sure you’ve already figured this out… but if you haven’t, don’t read any further if you would rather be surprised… is if his character isn’t corporal. In other words, no booty, no booty call.
That’s right. You heard it here first. Free from his mortally cute coil, Cooper must have been cast to play God on Nip/Tuck. Well, maybe not the God, but certainly a god. Or at the very least an awfully cute angel.
So what kind of god do you think would visit Doctors McNamara and Troy? Could a devil be next, or would that be redundant?

Wrong Channel, Right Wife

I know this show isn’t on Lifetime, or WE, or the O!, but I never can remember which channel it is on. After all, The Starter Wife belongs among its kind, shows for women about women. I mean, honestly. Imagine someone told you that a reality TV show, overflowing with brand placement, drawn-out results episodes, and cranky judges, had just debuted on one of the networks. Wouldn’t you immediately switch to Fox?
Eventually, I figured out where the show was (USA – it was on USA!) this morning, as I scanned the Channel listings, only to remember, bittersweetly, that Joe Mantegna has said farewell. Thank God.
Don’t be ashamed. Secretly, I know you’re relieved, too. Sure, Joe’s character was cute, charming, debonair, and really seemed to get Debra Messing’s Molly, but he was also jaded by Hollywood and disenchanted with just about everyone and everything. Who wants middle-aged, depressed, and bitter, when you can have young, judgmental, and emotionally unavailable, like Stephen Moyer’s character? The second Moyer appeared to save Molly from her ill-advised sea kayaking adventure, we knew Joe was toast. I just thought Molly would string him along for a few more episodes before she gave into the mysterious, sexy, possibly British, definitely poor surfer dude.
But we were wrong. No prolonged misery for Joe or for us! The guy gave into his self-doubt, loathing, and bottle of beer, took The Awakening/ Virginia Woolf way out and walked into the sea. With nary a surfer dude to dive in and save our poor Joe (it was evening, after all), Molly watched as her beautifully cooked food got cold and her shot at a drawn-out “which one should I choose?” got swept out with the rip tide.
Can’t wait for tonight when Molly dons a blonde wig to go visit Judy Davis in rehab and, in between times, has a very WE dalliance with the hot surfer dude.
What other shows would have been better if they just killed off the guy who wasn’t going to win the girl?

When Pilots Die – And Not Like Greg Grunberg on Lost

Ever wonder what happens to those over-hyped pilots when the networks decide they’d rather buy another reality show? Me too.
After all, who of us wouldn’t love to see the pilots for Football Wives, the Americanized version of popular Brit soap, Footballers’ Wives? I was all psyched to see James Van Der Beek, Gabrielle Union and Lucy Lawless finally together where they belong. And, hello, Bryan Singer directed. Sounds like gold to me. Moreover, what about the TV-version of Mr. and Mrs. Smith? I once saw Jordana Brewster fall off an elliptical machine in an outfit she owns in about six different colors. That was pretty entertaining, so I can’t imagine how small-screen Mr. and Mrs. Smith wouldn’t be worth a gander.
I’m sure there’s some legal reason for not airing or selling or leaking to YouTube the DOA pilots they’ve already purchased, but…
You’d think with American Idol and comparable series, it would have occurred to the networks that what you can do with singers, you could probably do with TV itself. Rather than guessing with a few focus groups, why don’t executives make the whole country do their jobs and vote on the pilots? What better way to fill some airtime and hype the fall season – and guarantee at least a couple of hits – than by making what is put on the air America’s choice?
What shows from the pilot season were you disappointed didn’t make the upfronts? Would you watch a TV show about TV, or would you ignore it, like On the Lot? Be honest. I can take it.

oh Bono

The World Entertainment News Network doesn't know the difference between "Variety" and "Vanity Fair" magazines (per IMDb news).

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Today in "Which is More Horrifying?"

A) The new Olympic logo... induces seizures.

B) On the top of my sister's "Master List of Amazing Movies" (I am not making this up) is... White Chicks.

Adam Sandler, really?

The Question Song

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

in Asia the heart would only take up South Korea

There's this picture on the LA Times website, regarding today's Grauman's Theater hand-cementing for Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and Matt Damon, of a poster that says "Brad, your heart is the size of Africa" with a drawing of Africa and a heart in the middle of it.

My problem is, the heart is more like the size of Sudan, not Africa. I'm just saying, if you're going to make a claim and then illustrate it, be accurate. You never know what movie star/African nation you might offend.

girls and body image, zucchini cake

Being largely one of those people who likes some distance between their mouths and vegetables, it may be somewhat surprising that I am head-over-heels for zucchini chocolate chip cake. My mom made it last night, and I love it just as much today as I always have.

Apparently, some horrible woman named MeMe Roth with the National Action Against Obesity group said she "saw diabetes" when she looked at AI winner Jordin Sparks. Though the death threats against her are equally reprehensible, does this woman not understand that to say such a thing of a 17 year-old girl can have irreperable damage. Why do you think all these starlets in Hollywood are drug addicts and anorexic -- because their weight is a subject of constant focus in the media. Jordin had the misfortune of being a traditionally-built girl who had to stand next to petite Ryan Seacrest who, in comparison, made her look enormous. But she's beautiful and her health and eating habits are none of anyone's business. Trying to fight obesity is a great thing, but saying a 17 year-old girl makes you think of heart disease puts you on the same level as Don Imus.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

money, virginity, pancakes

Three things you should NEVER take from a woman without her express consent.

Friday, June 1, 2007

getting library fever

If you want to know what kind of crack team of librarians work at the Yale library, consider this. Earlier this week we finally got around to discharging (means getting on library shelves) a "new" book called...

"Pluto and Planet X."

I'm just waiting for "What to Do About Y2K" to come down the pipeline.

Had some delish chicken tikka masala and naan tonight, then went to see "Mr. Brooks" at the Criterion (not my choice). The lovely people behind us spent half the movie trying to figure out if Marg Helgenberger was actually Michelle Pfeiffer or not. I wished Kevin Costner would stop killing people onscreen and start killing people who can't keep their mouths shut during a particularly predictable film.

OK, so I was a little predisposed to hate the guy because his reaction to the "Daywatch" trailer was: "I'm not going to see that film. The trailer insulted my intelligence. It gave too much information."

Go take a gander at the "Daywatch" trailer (it's the sequel to the Russian blocbuster "Nightwatch") and tell me if you agree. Because honestly, I think this guy has way too high an opinion of his intelligence.

Will stop ranting now.

Highlight of the day: fixed the library copier for a handsome young man with rather fierce, leonine eyebrows. Spent rest of hour at empty returns desk considering how unpleasant sex on the returns desk would be on the knees, back, neck, so forth... and yet, totally worth it, just to have actually had sex in the library (which, for those of you who don't know, is like a grand Gothic European cathedral without all the damn catholicism).
In summing up, I wish I had some kind of affirmative message to leave you with. I don't. Would you take two negative messages?
-- Woody Allen