There's only one thing good about being sick. Well, maybe not a whole thing, but half a thing: getting to watch stupid TV while recuperating. I watched an episode of Reaper, which is hilarious! Ray Wise as the devil; it's very reminiscent in a weird way of his role in Twin Peaks. But maybe I've been just reading too much about the new Twin Peaks DVD set that just came out...

Flags of Our Fathers

Flags of Our Fathers is a fine movie. Although this was the first of a pair of movies from Clint Eastwood, this was the second one that I saw. This movie makes a point of illustrating the different needs of individual soldiers, the army, the government, and the populace. Extremely well done, although I still think that Clint's westerns are his best work.

Funny Face

We watched Funny Face, with Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire. It certainly had a "vintage" look! The star of the production was Kay Thompson, I'd have to say: she certainly had the best voice of the 3 primary actors.

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.

Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations

Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations by David Warsh is a fine read. It covers the history of economics from the point of view of interrelationship between economic growth and the advancement of knowledge. Apparently it was not until the early 1990's that the development of knowledge was explicitly modeled by economists as an important part of the real economy: prior to that, knowledge was outside of economic models (partially due to tractability of the models, I guess).

In any case, this book is an exciting intellectual tale of how economics developed; I recommend it highly.

Stephen Colbert on Meet The Press

MSNBC Video > > by date > page 1

Stephen Colbert for President! Yee ha!

Albus Dumbledore outed

Dumbledore is gay, 'Harry Potter' author reveals -

Wow, what news!

Buy a T-shirt.

Remember The Milk

Lifehacker had a post on Remember The Milk, a web-based application for managing tasks. It's pretty well-done!

Food psychology

I finished the book Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink, a professor at Cornell. Fascinating book: the web page also has a link to his blog. I recommend this book highly. Some interesting factoids from the book:

  • 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.

Babette's Feast

Babette's Feast won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 1987. I remember when it came out, but I never got around to seeing it until now. I don't think it's aged very well; although it was a nice movie to watch, the pacing didn't feel right, and it seemed all very predictable.

Michael Clayton

Michael Clayton is a fine movie: great writing and great actors. I have to agree with one of the reviewers of this movie on Rotten Tomatoes, though: it was entirely compelling to watch the movie, but it wasn't as satifsying after it ended. Maybe the ending was just a little too easy/happy/contrived. Despite that flaw, though, more movies should be this good.

Letters From Iwo Jima

Letters From Iwo Jima was a great movie: I almost wish I had seen it on a big screen, but the intimacy of a TV was almost acceptable, given the nature of the emotions on display. Definitely worth watching!

The Awful Truth

Cary Grant and Irene Dunne are great in The Awful Truth. I prefer His Girl Friday for sheer pleasure in dialogue (both in the writing and in the delivery). But this was still delightful in a different way: the subtlety was quite refreshing, given modern cinema.

The Phillips Collection


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.
Posted by Picasa

Viggo rules

Eastern Promises was a fine movie and definitely worth watching. Viggo was great, and he works really well with David Cronenberg. I thought this was better than A History of Violence, but maybe that's because urban settings attract me more than farm country. For some reason I thought that Naomi Watts would play a larger role in the plot, but it felt like her character mostly existed to move the plot forward. Kind of like "Who killed Laura Palmer?" or "Who killed the Comedian?" (name those stories): secondary stories/plot devices that suck you in to the main story.

15 Minutes of Fame


Well, not really "fame". When we were walking around DC, this fellow asked us to take his picture, so I obliged. Since I took the picture, I thought it deserved to be published. Why not?
Posted by Picasa

National Museum of the American Indian

The National Museum of the American Indian is pretty cool architecturally. The exhibition of women's dresses didn't do it for me, though: I just am not that interested in female clothing.

National Gallery

We went to the National Gallery, which had some pretty impressive special exhibitions, as well a pretty good permanent collection. One of the notable pieces in their collection is the only Leonardo da Vinci work in the Americas, a portrait of Ginevra de' Benci.

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.

National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery has some fascinating historical paintings. Three that I found particularly interesting, mostly because their names are so important in certain cities: John Jacob Astor, David Rittenhouse, John Singleton Copley. Can you tell who is who?

International Spy Museum

I decided to pony up $15 or so and go through Operation Spy at the International Spy Museum. It was mildly entertaining: more kid-oriented than I would have hoped, and given that the group I wound up in had only 2 kids, not as much as it would have been with either all adults or mostly kids. Amusing, though!

Red Dust

I finished Red Dust, by Ma Jian. The book is a memoir of the author's travels through rural China near the beginning of China's transformation to a modern economy. Very disjointed writing, without much obvious structure; nonetheless, I found it to be a fascinating read.