Tuesday, November 30, 2004

You Think You're Pretty Smart, Don't You Trebek

As all of you Jeopardy fans know, Ken Jennings has ended his run at over $2.5 million. The Final Jeopardy answer he missed was, "Most of this firm's 70,000 seasonal white-collar employees work only four months a year."

This is being reported all over the place, but I thought it was entertaining that H&R Block has offered him free tax preparation for life.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Hope Yours Was Too

Back from the Thanksgiving festivities; they were festive.

In the Moore's Law department, LG has come up with a 7 megapixel camera phone.

And for Canon users, updates to Digital Photo Professional, EOS Viewer Utility and EOS Capture are available.

Weekend watching (too much to list) included Fassbinder's Veronika Voss. I hadn't seen this in many years. It is a visual marvel, recalling Billy Wilder's Sunset Blvd. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Monday, November 22, 2004

Can't Ever Find Wynn When You Need Wynn

I am rarely caught without a camera, at the very least my point and shoot digital, but this weekend we took a whirlwind trip up to Reno to see family. Since we planned on driving up Saturday to see my sister, do a bit of shopping, go to dinner, and lastly on Sunday stop with them in Sacramento to do a bit more Xmas shopping and go home from there, I figured, this was one weekend when there would be little time to be taking pictures.

My first clue that I'd made a tactical error was when we reached Donner pass and it was a bit of the old winter wonderland. Later that evening, driving to dinner, we encountered one of the most glorious sunsets over the Sierras, complete with majestic clouds. And shopping in Sacramento the following day, we ended up in Sac's restored oldtown, which sits along the mighty Sacramento River, and is certainly picturesque. But alas, you'll just have to take my word for it.

On the brighter side, however, on Saturday we made a stop at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, which has turned into a fine little art museum. The permanent collection includes a few very fine Edward Westons and some nice western pieces, but they seem to do a pretty good job of attracting some very nice touring exhibits. You may remember that I saw the Frida Kahlo show there back in the early days of this blog (here). At the moment they have an excellent Ansel Adams show, featuring a few pieces I had never seen before, along with some very fine prints of more familiar works, like Moonrise over Hernandez, New Mexico.

Also appearing at the moment were selections from the Wynn Collection. Consisting of 14 selected pieces from Steve Wynn's private collection. The NMA website describes it,
Highlights of the exhibition include Pablo Picasso’s Le Rêve (The Dream) (1932), a painting depicting Pablo Picasso’s mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter and Vincent van Gogh’s Peasant Woman Against a Background of Wheat (1890), perhaps the most important portrait of a female sitter in van Gogh’s oeuvre. Works by Impressionist painters include Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Among the Roses (Madame Leon Clapisson) (1882) and Claude Monet's Camille a l'Ombrelle Verte (Camille with Green Parasol)(1876)as well as Post-Impressionist paintings such as Henri Matisse’s The Persian Robe (1940), and Paul Gauguin’s Bathers (1902). Other noted works are a Self Portrait with Shaded Eyes (1634) by Rembrandt van Rijn; a landscape by Jan Brueghel the Elder; and a portrait of Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife (1885) by John Singer Sargent. The exhibition also features a triptych portrait of Steve Wynn created in 1983 by Andy Warhol. After its presentation at the NMA, the collection will be permanently installed at Wynn Las Vegas, scheduled to open in spring 2005.
So, I apologize for the want of a camera and the atrocious pun by which I began this posting, but I heartily recommend a trip to the NMA. The Wynn Collection will be appearing until March 30, 2005, and the Adams Masterworks exhibit can be seen until January 30, 2005.

Friday, November 19, 2004

If Pigs Could Fly

Hidden Meanings

Went to see the Incredibles after work yesterday, and it is aptly named. Being, indeed, incredible. Brad Bird and Pixar team up to produce a funny, bright, exciting, and technically astounding, animated adventure that will definitely hold up to repeated viewings (in fact, several of my geekier coworkers have been to see it multiple times already). A cross between one of those Marvel "what if" storylines, a Bondian villain (and villainess with the requisite heart of gold) and some 60s kitsch a'la Thunderbirds designed to appeal to we 40-plussers.

But it did strike me that there was a bit of an agenda (warning, minor spoilers follow), and in fact it might even be a conservative agenda. Sir, you must be on crack, you say. That is besides the point, I respond. Please bear with me for just a moment.

The film begins with what can only be seen as a call for tort reform, a favorite whipping horse of the right wing. The Supers (as the super heroes are referred to) are placed in a relocation program because their daring-do, or the results there of, have lead to a series of frivolous lawsuits, and the government has found the cost/benefit ratio of underwriting the Supers heroics to be too expensive. So Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), his (strangely sexy) wife Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), and their three incredible children are placed in the 'burbs, he to live as a low level insurance company functionary.

The recurring theme played out especially with the male heir to the incredible superpowers, young Dash, can be summed up thusly. When everyone is special, no one is special. Is this not nothing more than a screed against PC attitudes in modern society, and a call for a meritocracy based on genetics. Can eugenics be far behind? OK, I'm going over the top here, but you get my point.

Seriously, I think there might be a bit of a "point of view" here, but it is mild and in good humor, as is this screed. I would say that the filmmakers are at most poking fun at some of the extremes of our society. The movie is a delight. Go see it.

On a side note, moviegoers were treated to Pixar's short film Boundin', which was a lot of fun as well. There was also teaser trailers for Pixar's next (and final Disney) outing, Cars. And finally, it is that time again. The teaser trailer for Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith has been unveiled. My prediction... It will stink as much as Episodes 1 and 2.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Cannery Row

In his prologue to Cannery Row, John Steinbeck wrote,
Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream. Cannery Row is the gathered and scattered, tin and iron and rust and splintered wood, chipped pavement and weedy lots and junk heaps, sardine canneries of corrugated iron, honky-tonks, restaurants and whore-houses, and little crowded groceries, and laboratories and flop-houses. Its inhabitants are, as the man once said, "whores, pimps, gamblers, and sons of bitches," by which he meant Everybody. Had the man looked through another peep-hole he might have said: "Saints and angels and martyrs and holy men," and he would have meant the same thing.

John Steinbeck

Monday, November 15, 2004

Try the Soup

This weekend's excursion lead to San Gregorio State Beach, Pescadero, Duarte's Tavern (of the aforementioned soup, get the half/half, Artichoke and Green Chile with the hot sourdough bread) and Pigeon Point Lighthouse.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


I have a gallery of some images I took in Monterey yesterday. Have a look.

Pink Floyd album cover?
Like a Candle in the Wind

A very interesting story at the New York Times on digital archiving. Short version: Those pictures on CD or on your hard drive aren't as safe as you think.

Read it here.

Monday, November 08, 2004

I'll Sleep When I'm Dead

Going to be a light week for blogging. Work obligations will have me on the road and in meetings a large portion of the time. There is a trip to Monterey as part of these responsibilities that might allow a bit of time for photoblogging.

So stay tuned.

Currently on iTunes, the Warren Zevon tribute album Enjoy Every Sandwich. Recommended! And next up in the DVD player (time permitting), Festival Express.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Back to Pictures

Just to keep some balance in life. I took this picture a while back on a photo excursion with a friend and fellow photog. It is a bit of a mishap, but there is something I like about it for some unknown reason.

Futurballa on the Future

My dear friend and (sometimes) political counterpoint George Wallace, has a thoughtful piece on the future of the democratic party and the political landscape in general, over at his blog, A Fool in the Forest. I think he makes some very fair and reasonable statements, and reading his posting had the further benefit of nudging me into writing about some of my own thoughts on the subject of, what next.

My thoughts are nothing new in the post 2/11 world. Amy Sullivan, over at Washington Monthly has written on similar subjects for quite some time. However, I think I have an unique perspective, because I'm a Jewish, died in the wool Democrat, born and raised, pro-choice, pro-union, pro-environment, and happen to be married to an evangelical Christian. My wife is a very reasonable woman, and we agree to disagree on many subjects. She is actually not one of the 51% who voted for Bush, though I'm not sure if she supported Kerry or abstained.

She has a great heart and is deeply troubled by every death in Iraq. Both our soldiers and every Iraqi life being lost for a war that seems to be a personal matter for the persons in charge at the moment, and not a part of the war on terrorism, strikes her as a tragedy. And while she agrees with Bush on a number of social issues, she does accept my premise that social justice in society is also a moral issue.

One point that she has made to me numerous times is that Democrats need to learn to talk to people of faith. She says that she often feels that the left is condescending and often downright insulting to people who hold her viewpoints. Democrats need to understand this, going forward. We certainly can have common ground with people of faith, as my marriage is living proof. And don't misunderstand me, I would not compromise on our core values regarding Choice, for example. But there is so much that we can have in common with many of our church going brethren. There are many religious Christians who do struggle with the war in Iraq, who struggle with tax cuts for the wealthiest, and who struggle with the rape of the planet.

What we need to do is frame the debate on these issues as a moral issue, which it is. And we need to accept that people can differ with us on issues like abortion without calling them stupid. To me, as a Jew, issues of social justice, caring for the earth, fighting for peace, do resonate with my religion. And they can resonate with Christians as well, if only we can learn to not be afraid to talk to them on equal terms, and not be afraid to use the language of faith when discussing these issues.

This question came up at my office quite a few times yesterday. Along with, which floor is it best to jump from? (We have 18.)

How To Move to Canada.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


For lack of anything better to say regarding last night's events, I'll just post some pictures I took of my halloween pumpkins.

Jack Skellington


Jack and Sally

Come in...