Monday, April 17, 2006

March of the Penguins

I liked March of the Penguins  a lot. The DVD is even better because the documentary about making the film gives a lot more information about what you see in the main movie.

For example, did you know that these noble, long-marching birds are morons? The sea is a short walk from their camping place, but in a different direction. Instead of waddling 60-70 miles one-way to breed or feed, they could just go HALF A MILE in the direction of the filmmakers' outpost to the water's edge. (Even when it's iced over, access to that part of the sea would presumably not be more than about 10 miles away.)

I agree with the points made in this skeptical review.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Titles

Books

Why? by Charles Tilly of Columbia U (great rev at NYer by Gladwell)
*no local yet

NEJM March 23 2006 issue failed antidep studies GDL
*G-HQ, FP

by Robert Cialdini
  Influence - how and why people agree to things (1984)
  *FP 153
  Influence : The Psychology Of Persuasion (1993)
  *GD-GB 153.852
  Influence : Science And Practice (2001) 4th ed?
  *GD-O 153.852

Lincoln's melancholy
by Joshua Wolf Shenk (2005)
*GD-F-HQ-GB Biog

Going Sane: Maps of Happiness
by Adam Phillips (2005)
"why a sane life might be more worth living than, say, a happy life, or a healthy life, or a successful life." pos rev in WP 02/19/2006
*GD-F 616.89

Satisfaction: the Science of Finding True Fulfillment
by Gregory Berns (2005)
pos rev in WP 02/19/2006 – SCI AM gave it thumbs down; excerpt is a waste of time
*ELPL, Bf Twp, etc

What about the Gigerenzer I ordered?

Tristram Shandy, who broke all records for meandering, was in his 40's.
by Laurence Sterne
*

Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star
By Tab Hunter & Eddie Muller (2004or5)
*GD-F

MY FATHER THE SPY: An Investigative Memoir
by John H Richardson [Jr] (2005)
*

Inventing Modern: Growing up with X-Rays, Skyscrapers, and Tailfins
by John H. Lienhard (and lots of other Lienhard books)
*GMI

Traveling through the Boondocks: In and Out of Academic Hierarchy
Terry Caesar 2000 (essays, incl "On Teaching at a Second Rate U")
*MSU, UM-AA EMU WSU

Movies


Movies in the UN:
  >America! doc Alastair Cooke *GD-F,D,Fen,GB,M,O
  >N by NW *GD-C,D,Fen,GB,M,MtM
  >Peacemaker, The (1997) Clooney & KIDMAN! *GD-F,D,Fen,GB

*Before Night Falls (2000) something gay?
GD-C,D,Fen,M,MtM

*fantastic four
GD-FT-F-GV etc

*Mean Girls (Tina Fey movie)
GDL-B-GB-M-SC etc

*Mar Adentro The Sea Inside (2005) right-to-die
GD-Fen-GV-GB

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The UN Headquarters

Did you know that in 1946, when the UN was first being formed, the initial thought was to create a sort of independent city-state for it headquarters? Get a peice of ground several miles on each side and put up a city with residences for something like 40,000 people! They considered several huge sites, including the Presidio in San Francisco for it, before George Lucas took it over.

Isn't that interesting?

Then some guy died and plans fell through and Mr. Junior offered the riverside lot in New York City with space just for assembly rooms and administrative offices and voila, the UN we know and love.

I found this out from architect Le Corbusier's book about the process, complete with napkinlike sketches, such as the one below. Frank Lloyd Wright said about Corbu something like, “[Oh, now he's gone and built something. I suppose he'll write 3 books about it now.]”


(I flipped it so it would say "UN"!)


It is truly a beautiful building. I watched Sydney Pollock's The Interpreter 4 times last weekend. It was filmed at the UN and offers many shots of its captivating design, especially if you luxuriate over them frame-by-frame on the DVD. But the new giant video screens completely ruin the impressiveness of the front of the General Assembly room. They're like a goofy airplane's wings. Compare the before and after:

Before

After

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Blog’s fate uncertain

Writing for this blog is not paying off well for me. I feel both constrained and pressured in unproductive ways. I think I may keep it around and add perfunctorily to it from time to time, just so I have a place on the web to post pictures or refer people from forum posts if there's something I can't put at a forum post.

Plus, I can keep track here of what books I want to borrow from the library, since I always leave my list at home and I don't have a Blackberry yet.

So, this is the first in a long line of perfunctory posts. Bloggin's not for me, I guess.