I haven't read the book on which this movie is based; from what I hear, the movie is quite different than the book. The movie was more about the family, and in particular, the mother; the book is probably more about the son (the "namesake"). I skimmed parts of the book in a bookstore, and I disliked how the director and screenwriter changed around the story. From the DVD special feature on the making of the movie, it was clear that the director had a very different vision of the story than the novel. She certainly did a good job of imposing her view on the story.
Enjoyable, but I would not recommend it highly.
Did you know that Cracker Jack, Aunt Jemima's, the zipper, the Ferris wheel, and the electric dishwasher were all first introduced at that fair? The fair was also the first major demonstration of widespread use of AC electricity. I recommend this book highly.
Andrius Zlabys (piano) was great. The other performers were good, but not as well-prepared.
Interesting fact mentioned in the movie: Donnie's teacher says that a linguist claimed that
Cellar door is the most beautiful phrase in the English language: that person was Tolkien.
The author, Yoram Bauman, apparently has given up a tenure-track position teaching economics, and now is a standup comic. Or, as he puts it, a "standup economist". You can see some of his routines on the web, of course!
There was a special exhibition of Felix Vallotton's work, which was interesting: I learned something!
This was not a great movie, but it was worth watching for the visuals. It is also amazing how exotic Paris must have been 50 years ago.
In any case, this book is an exciting intellectual tale of how economics developed; I recommend it highly.
Wow, what news!
Buy a T-shirt.
- Our bodies do not notice differences of 100 calories/day. So the easiest way to lose weight is to eat <100 calories less per day, and you'll lose 10 pounds in a year.
- Easy-to-get food gets eaten. The easier, the more it is eaten.
The Phillips Collection is wonderful: the first modern art museum in America. It was free, too, since there were no special exhibitions and we went on a weekday! This Renoir (Luncheon of the Boating Party) is their most famous piece, and one of the docents explained some interesting things about it. I'll let you just admire it, though.
This photo has some of the same enigmatic qualities as the Mona Lisa. The background is also vaguely reminiscent of that portrait, as well.
We saw the following exhibitions:
- Desiderio da Settignano. Renaissance sculptor. Amazingly beautiful statues!
- Joseph Mallord William Turner. This exhibition will be at the Met in summer 2008, so we'll get to see it twice. Amazing collection of a ton of paintings; I wish I could have taken some photos. I wish I knew how Turner made his oil paintings shimmer like watercolors.
- Edward Hopper. This was a pretty large collection of Hopper's paintings, including the famous Nighthawks.
Neither was particularly interesting except as a diversion from a long flight. Spiderman in particular seemed pretty bad: it was an utter mess of storytelling, and I couldn't even hear the sound! Or maybe the lack of sound made it obvious how bad the movie was...
The Pirates sequel was harder to follow without sound, but the basic storyline didn't really matter much anyway. Lots of crazy plotlines and backstabbing, with some over-the-top action sequences.
I figured that since I live in NYC, I should go see the US Open at least once. A friend was psyched to go as well, so we trudged out to Flushing Meadows for some quarterfinal matches at night. Fantastic stuff!
Venus Williams beat Jelena Jankovic in the first match, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(4). It was a seesaw battle, and I really thought Jankovic would win. Venus was attacking, attacking, attacking, and was really sloppy: if she had been consistent she would have destroyed Jankovic. Venus missed lots of shots: low 1st-serve percentage and lots of unforced errors. She did dominate the 2nd set: she broke Jankovic in almost every one of her service games by being aggressive. Venus took control of the 3rd-set tiebreaker quickly, and the match ended pretty quickly.
The Federer-Roddick was riveting tennis, and really close: closer than the score of 7-6(5), 7-6(4), 6-2 would indicate. Roddick had the first break point chance of the match (erased) in the second set. No double faults in the entire match for either player! You had to feel bad for Roddick after the match: he played his heart out, and hit some amazing shots and serves: but Federer was just better...
Roddick serving to Federer
Anyway, Opus is a wonderful play written by a Oberlin-trained violist who became a playwright instead of a musician. I thought it was wonderfully written, in a style that reflects how people talk in real life. A fine cast, and we were lucky enough to see it on closing night: there was a long wait list to get in!
In any case, the food was good, although a tad pricey for the number of calories. But I would go back; in fact, I think I was in this restaurant in 2005, so it seems to have survived pretty well.
We were able to go into the Chelsea Art Museum, which was wonderful. Only $6, and they had some pretty interesting stuff. One artist, Federico Uribe, makes animals/jungle scenes out of Puma sneaker parts. Check out the museum's web site: it's pretty astonishing.
The other interesting exhibit was of Miwa Yanagi's photography. She has a pretty interesting way of viewing the world; some of it quite disturbing.
I also think that Snape will be the one to actually destroy Voldemort's new body: he is the only wizard powerful enough to do so. Harry doesn't have any real experience or power, and the only reason that he has defeated Voldemort several times is that he has always been underestimated by the bad guys.
Well, we'll see!
It was fun to see Timothy Olyphant as the bad guy (he plays the sheriff in Deadwood) and Justin Long as the hacker kid (he is "Mac" on the Apple TV ads).
- the restaurant was too noisy: all the surfaces seemed to reflect sound
- the service was OK, but not great for the price
Overall, worth a meal, though! Don't make a habit of it, or it will break your finances...
Gillian Anderson looked nothing like her character in the X-Files! This movie is definitely worth watching, although there are some really hard-to-watch scenes.
I enjoyed his description of the Tsukiji fish auction in Japan, where $25M of fresh fish is auctioned every morning. My friend Mike Epstein has said that it is quite a sight!
about Mary Chung's is that eating there brought back fond memories, even though they are in a different location than when I was an undergraduate at MIT.
The script would have been better if the story had been set in some a 1950's setting: in a modern-day setting, it was just too implausible.
Most of the interesting parts of the book appeared in the John McPhee Reader, which is one reason this book was so quick to read. Although McPhee's writing is wonderfully elegant, I find his subjects (fascinating and quirky people) more compelling than the writing itself. Although maybe that is because his writing lets the quirkiness shine through...
For reference, here is a useful fact sheet about how to get rid of paper junk mail.
I've been reading an apocalyptic book titled The End of Food, by Thomas F. Pawlick. It opens with the most startling information, which is that the nutritional value of most foods has been dropping over the last half-century. The theory underlying this set of facts is that industrial production of food seeks to maximize production, which leads to examples such as overuse of fertilizers (which makes the soil less rich) and grain-fed cows (which leads to lower-quality beef).
Overall, the book presents some interesting information, but I found it a little too over the top. It is somewhat unsurprising that "mass-produced" food is low quality: it will always be the case that the highest-quality food costs much more than many people can afford. I agree with the author that it is very short-sighted of our civilization to misuse natural resources in the way that we do, but all of these implicit decisions are driven by increasing populations.
Without having done a careful analysis, it feels like this season was mostly centered around Al Swearengen: the end of the season finishes with a shot of him. The first season felt like it was more about Seth Bullock.
We then went shopping at Whole Foods. Always an experience, and usually hard on the checkbook...
We also saw through the Jeff Wall retrospective, and the exhibition on Armando Reveron. There were some fascinating paintings in each exhibition, although we weren't overwhelmed by anything in particular.
One of our favorite paintings at MOMA is Andrew Wyeth's "Christina's World":
One minor note: this book would have been more interesting if there had been pictures of how different types of toilet work.
The extras on the DVD were almost funnier than the movie: in particular, the appearances that Borat made on Conan O'Brien and The Tonight Show.
Zero waste: can we achieve it? This article made me wonder how right some economists are that the market will solve problems. Maybe they are right, but the time scale could be wrong for certain kinds of problems.
For example, it could be that we need the doomsayers to move the population to act; they could be the impulse function in reaction to the recognition of a problem (say, global warming). In that metaphor, government and the media act as delay functions. The problem is that if the time needed to act is longer than the delay imposed by the delay function...
I really enjoyed the excerpts from A Roomful of Hovings. Unfortunately, the NY Public Library doesn't have this book! Some of the other excerpts didn't grab me as much: in particular, I found the story about Monopoly from A Sense of Place fairly awkward in its structure.
- It is all well and good to say that externality pricing reduces the effects of the externality, but how politically easy is it to impose such prices? As we've seen in NY, it is extremely difficult.
- The book claims that as the standard of living in China has increase, that large-particle pollution has gone down. That may be true, but when I was just in China I felt like the pollution was stifling.
- The book claims that there is correlation/causation between protectionist policies and intensive farming. I'm not sure I believe that, and the book did not provide a compelling argument as to why that might be the case.
I did enjoy the depth of portrayal of 17th-century Spain, although I am not in a position the historical accuracy of the extended ruminations on Spain's downfall. However, for fiction I tend to prefer books with more interesting plots or with better character development. Well, I guess you can't expect everything from a novel.
What could be less Western than Ikea?
And look at this: the shopping channel in China, which is selling toy pigs (2007 is the Year of the Pig)!
While in Xi'an, we visited the famous terra-cotta soldiers that were created for the Qin emperor's tomb. Amazing! It was a little disappointing when we learned that all of the items had been reassembled and refired; for some reason I thought that they had been carefully dug out of the ground.
Can you tell that this elevator panel is in China? The 13th floor is missing, as is traditional in Western buildings. Note that 4, 14, and 24 are also missing. The number 4 is unlucky because it sounds like the Chinese character for "dead".
After spending some time in Beijing, I decided that LA and BJ should be sister cities. They share many important characteristics of modern cities: traffic, sprawl, and smog. The first two are linked, of course, and contribute significantly to the third.
One noticeable change in China since the first time I went (in 2001) is that the number of cars has increased dramatically. In 2001, bicycles still outnumbered cars in Beijing. In 2007, cars vastly outnumber bicycles.
This photo is of a pretty little city park that contains the last remnants of the Beijing city wall. Chairman Mao ordered the entire wall torn down, and this is the last remaining piece, unfortunately; otherwise, it would be a wonderful tourist attraction today! Note the Marriott's odd architecture in the background.
Highly recommended light reading!
Wikipedia has an interesting discussion about this topic. Overall, it talks about a lot of commonsense stuff, but maybe that's easy to see in hindsight. Some of the claims in the book about how society was deteriorating seem completely overblown: the book implies that a lack of emotional intelligence was responsible for many societal ills.
I'm still mulling this over to see if this classification describes me well.
The suggestion that Lake Chad has been destroyed because of global warming seems to be untrue, based on some of the reading that I have done.
Gore should have suggested that we eat less meat, buy fewer processed foods, and buy less stuff. The former consumes a great deal of energy (unless it is grass-fed), and I bet food processing does too. Finally, capitalism itself (more accurately, consumption for the sake of consumption) is responsible for a lot of the energy we consume, because all of the environmental damage is externalized. My conclusion is:
Consume less stuff. Consume less food. Consume less energy.
in this week's NY Times magazine. Well worth reading, even though its recommendations overlap with almost all of the other reading I've been doing about food. I love the opening sentences:
Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
|From Around NY|
Busy museum day. We went to the Met and saw two exhibits:
- Louis Comfort Tiffany and Laurelton Hall . Tiffany was a brilliant artist who worked in many different media, which I didn't know.
Glitter and Doom was an exhibit of German portraiture during the Weimar Republic. There were some really incisive portraits. My favorite was Max Beckmann's The Old Actress, which seemed extremely familiar.
Both of them were amazing!
Lawrence Wright wrote a New Yorker article this is worth a read.
My first reaction after seeing this film: is Woody Allen working on some guilt because he killed someone? Why has he made two films about murder and guilt?
- We tend to keep separate mental accounts for our money; don't let these mental accounts affect your spending patterns.
- Losses affect us more than gains hurt us, so we get more reckless in trying to avoid losses.
- Sunk costs do not matter.
- We are affected by how issues are framed: reframe issues so that you see them both as gains and losses.
- Don't ignore small numbers, such as mutual-fund fees.
- We tend to anchor on irrelevant information, and we treat events that are likely to be the result of change as non-random; don't pay attention to such irrelevant information.
- Don't be overconfident about your abilities if you have little training.
- Avoid "confirmation bias", which is our tendency to treat information as though it confirms our decisions.
- Don't follow the herd.
- Avoid too much information. Information can cause us to act emotionally.