Friday, March 30, 2007

Appreciating the Mac

From an AP report on GWB's visit to Walter Reed Army Medical Center earlier today:
Bush first toured a typical -- but empty -- patient room in Abrams Hall. The room Bush saw featured a wide-screen television and a Macintosh computer on a desk. 'I appreciate that soldiers have got a Mac' to communicate with their families, the president said.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Those were the days

GWB at the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association dinner on Wednesday night:
A year ago my approval rating was in the 30s, my nominee for the Supreme Court had just withdrawn, and my vice president had shot someone... Ah, those were the good ol' days!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

'Namesake' is both epic and intimate

My freelance review:
The Namesake is the kind of movie that I wish we would see more of: An engrossing, character-focused human drama with an appealing and entertaining story.

In this day and age of big-budget, mainstream movies overly-reliant on computer-generated characters and effects -- too often at the expense of focus paid on a core story -- it's refreshing to find a movie that revolves around character and story -- and delivery.

Adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Jhumpa Lahiri, Namesake tells a story of a just-married Indian couple who, in 1977, say goodbye to their family and friends and move to New York City where the husband, Ashoke, has a new job. The wife, Ashima, keeps house and adjusts to life in a tiny apartment.

Soon, the couple starts a family and moves to the suburbs, and the story leaps ahead and focuses on their first-born -- a son named Gogol -- and his struggles and conflict balancing his family's Indian traditions amongst his desires to be a "typical American" teenager and young man.

As Ashoke and Ashima, Irfan Khan and Tabu deliver stunning, understated performances. Kal Penn (Kumar from Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle) shines as Gogol transitioning through phases of his young adulthood.

Namesake is quite effective dealing with aspects of culture. It offers intriguing insights into Indian culture and customs, and when U.S. and Indian customs clash, there is humor but not the kind of looniness offered by My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Ultimately, this is an epic -- but intimate -- film. There's a lot to reflect on from the overall story and the way that director/producer Mira Nair tells it. That is helped, by the way, from some of the most beautiful and powerful cinematography I've seen in a long time (credit to Frederick Elmes) as well by Stephanie Carroll's respectful production design details.

On a side-note: This film makes me want to visit India and experience what it has to offer -- which, I think, is in keeping with the film's general themes of seeing, living and being.

Magnificent Spring

Photos from a Saturday dog walk with neighbor Jackson:The full set of photos is here.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Belated Merry Christmas!

Just added -- photos from Christmas Eve. The above photo -- with Willie and his Aunt Carolyn -- is just one of many.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Happy Spring!

Spring kicks in, officially, in less than an hour. With that in mind, my dog Scooter (the namesake of scoodog's blog) wishes you a Happy Spring.Click here for the entire set of Signs of Spring photos taken last Sunday.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Happy St. Pat's Day!! (belated)

Had fun at the Ancient Order of Hibernians' St. Patrick's Day parade in Dogtown. The snow flurries added some unexpected character! Several photos are below. The full set of photos is here.
The full set of photos is here.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Liver

An artistic photo of my newest dog, Oliver, courtesy of Mark:

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Goodbye Clara

Clara, the 54-year-old elephant at the St. Louis Zoo, died this morning. She was euthanized. While there have been concerns (here and here, for example) that conditions at the relatively-small St. Louis Zoo contributed to her failing health, I was touched by parts of the article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
She also was the herd's leader and disciplinarian. When barn-mate Donna challenged Clara's role as matriarch, Clara bit off her tail. "She is a very strong-willed elephant," said mammal curator Martha Fischer. "Sometimes baby elephants can be brats, and she knew how to keep them in line. She also is one of our more laid-back elephants. There is a calm, stable feeling in the barn when she is around. Some animals will get excited when a new situation comes up, but she has a cool confidence.
Fischer expects the herd will struggle with Clara's absence. Elephants are a social breed that is known to grieve. Seven other females and one male, Raja, reside at the Zoo. "They are going to have to come up with a new hierarchy," said Fischer. "It may take one or two years for them to adjust to the change. If we perceive they are feeling low, we will help them through that."
In turn, the elephants will help their keepers. On Tuesday, Clara's former and current keepers wept as they said goodbye. Yet they are consoled by the arrival of baby elephant Jade, born less than three weeks ago. "That helps somewhat, but still it can't take away how bad we feel," said Fischer, also crying. "We need time to grieve."

Happy Pi Day

I never realized the eve of the Ides of March is Pi Day.

But, there are those who are waiting 2,921 days from now to celebrate Pi Day: 03/14/16.

Will you be there? I hope to be. I'll be 50. And Jaime will be 23. And Bernie will be 21. And Willie will be 15.

It will be here before we know it.

I wonder what life will be like then. What will the iPod be like? How fast will the internet be? What will power our cars? Will the world be a better place? Will there be wars going on? Will we be addressing global warming? Will we be more civilized? Will crime have reduced? Will we be kinder to one another?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


This is the best demo I've seen yet of the iPhone. Looks very, very cool:

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Be kind to dogs

Thanks to my friend Mark for pointing me to Senator Thomas Eagleton's from-his-heart farewell address, written in May 2006 and shared with his family and friends at his memorial service yesterday. It's touching, humorous, political and straightforward. While you may not agree with all of the viewpoints, it is definitely an interesting read.

The whole address is here. My favorite part of it comes at the very end:
So go forth in love and peace — be kind to dogs — and vote Democratic.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Mattie search continues; FOX-2 coverage

Please visit the Mattie web site for more information.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Largest hat in the world?

Or... at least the largest hat "that you wear while being embarrassed while we, the wait staff, sing Happy Birthday to you at this restaurant that your co-workers took you out to lunch to on your birthday!"

Happy Birthday, Diana! More photos of the fun here, all taken by my very-challenged cell phone camera.

Also, a plug for Mi Ranchito, a delicious Mexican restaurant in U City, located off the beaten path but well worth seeking out.