« July 2006 | Main | September 2006 »

August 2006 Archives

August 6, 2006

Home Sweet Home

After some 20+ hours sitting on airplanes over three flights, I arrived home this afternoon after a month in Africa.

Internet connection time was elusive the past few weeks, so the blog has suffered, but I'll try to post some trip highlights in the coming days.

August 7, 2006

Dumbledore Is Not Dead!

Here are my results from the "Which Harry Potter Character Are You?" web quiz.

You scored as Albus Dumbledore. Strong and powerful you admirably defend your world and your charges against those who would seek to harm them. However sometimes you can fail to do what you must because you care too much to cause suffering.

Albus Dumbledore


Harry Potter


Sirius Black


Remus Lupin


Draco Malfoy


Hermione Granger


Ron Weasley


Severus Snape


Ginny Weasley


Lord Voldemort


Your Harry Potter Alter Ego Is...?
created with QuizFarm.com

August 8, 2006

Lieberman's Day of Reckoning

Democratic voters in the State of Connecticut have the chance to deny Joe Lieberman the party nomination in his 2006 U.S. Senate re-election campaign. His opponent--Ned Lamont--has built a lead in polls taken during the past two weeks, largely due to the percpetion that Lieberman has been too supportive of the Bush Administration's foreign policy in the Middle East (specifically the Iraq war).

I voted for Lamont in the Senate race and for Dan Malloy in the gubernatorial contest.

August 9, 2006

A Holiday

Happy Nixon's Resignation Day everybody!

August 10, 2006

Heathrow Scare

Just four days ago while en route from Cape Town to New York, I was bemoaning the inefficiency of having to go through security again while in Heathrow Airport, even though I was in transit and presumably already in a secure zone. Given the plot that was foiled earlier today, I suppose the alternative to my being inconvenienced is pretty sobering to contemplate. Apparently terrorists were trying to smuggle liquid explosives onto U.S.-bound flights to blow up multiple planes mid-air, but were stopped due to good work by British law enforcement.

Normally I find Heathrow a frustrating place. It sounds like it became hellish in the past 24 hours, as flights were delayed and cancelled, security lines were backed up, and passengers couldn't take laptops, iPods, or really any hand luggage onto planes.

Glad I wasn't there for that!

Here I Come To Save The Day


When my wireless mouse crashed on me last night, I was unable to use my G5 iMac. So when the Genius Bar genius told me I'd be better off getting a new mouse, I purchased the newly released wireless version of Apple's Mighty Mouse, with right click and scroll bar features.

August 11, 2006

Question Of The Day


August 12, 2006

Joe Must Go

I had decided to vote for Ned Lamont in last Tuesday's Democratic primary here in Connecticut largely because Joe Lieberman has lost touch with his constituency in my estimation: he is too focused on national affairs (instead of the needs of his state) and too willing to defend the disastrous foreign policy of the current Administration (when even the top American generals in Iraq are conceding it's a civil war now).

Lieberman's recent comments in the wake of the terrorist plot to bomb U.S.-bound airlines have really crossed the line. The senator basically equated support for his opponent with encouraging such acts of terror. I find this leap--which more or less echoes exactly what Dick Cheney said earlier in the week--highly offensive. The inability to distinguish honest political disagreement from irresponsibility and disloyalty is another page from the Bush Administration's playbook--and it's patently un-American, in my humble opinion.

I'm now even more convinced that Lieberman is no longer worthy to represent the Nutmeg State.

August 13, 2006



I saw Michael Mann's Miami Vice film tonight. It was stylish, but mediocre overall.

August 14, 2006

Where Is My DVR Remote?

I cannot seem to find the remote control to my DVR--which means I can neither program nor watch anything I have saved on the hard drive. Aarrrggghhhhh!

August 15, 2006

New Engine Under The Hood

Though you probably can't tell, this blog site underwent a major upgrade today, from Movable Type 2.661 to version 3.31. Because I was so intimated by the upgrade process--having read too many horror stories on the web--I actually paid to let the technical support staff at Six Apart do the upgrade.

It should be possible for readers to leave comments, as the updated version of MT supposedly catches spam comments.

I'll probably tackle some design changes in the next couple days to freshen up the look of this site.

August 16, 2006

Fifth Avenue Apple Temple


I am writing this on my first visit to the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue in New York City. The entrance to the underground retail floor is a striking glass cube in the middle of a plaza just off Central Park. One enters either down the spiral stairs or via the cylindrical elevator in the middle of the stairway. A pretty cool place!

August 17, 2006

Theater Double-Header


I spent yesterday in New York City, catching two Broadway shows: a Wicked matinee and an evening performance of Sweeney Todd.

A little over a year ago, I realized that I was seeing more theater in London than I was in New York, which is rather ironic for a resident of Connecticut! So I resolved to get in to the city to see shows at least a couple times a year. Heading in to New York on a Wednesday--something that is not really possible for me when school is in session--enables me to catch two performances in one day.

Wicked is a wonderfully subversive version of The Wizard Of Oz from the perspective of the misunderstood Wicked Witch of the West. The show is an upbeat visual effects spectacle with a peppy Stephen Schwartz score and a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

On the other hand, the current incarnation of Sweeney Todd is a stripped down rendition, with just one stark set and the ten cast members doubling up as the musicians (and stagehands, as well!). This very dark story was presented in a dramatically gripping style. The casting was first rate, especially considering the versatility needed in actors/singers who could also handle the challenging instrumental duties. This show, though very different than the afternoon production, was a treat, too.

Thwarting Regional DVD Coding


It's always been a source of frustration to me that DVDs I buy abroad usually won't work on DVD players or computers back home due to the regional coding (in North America, we can only play Region 1 or Region 0 [universal] discs on our machines). I discovered a work-around, however, that enables me to watch foreign DVDs (like the two British television series above, which I picked up from Amazon U.K.) on my iBook (or on any computer, for that matter). VideoLAN is an application that is free to download and provides the capacity to watch DVDs coded for other regions as easily as domestic releases. In fact, in full-screen mode, one can't tell the difference!

Safari Highlights

What follows is an overdue glimpse at my spectacular visit to Kruger National Park, South Africa, at the beginning of the month. Among the animals we ran into were:

bush baby
rhino (white)

as well as lots of different birds. Four of "the Big Five" (all but a leopard) are on the list above, so we had very good luck on only two game drives. Here are a few choice photos from the trip:

The New Look

Yes, loyal readers, I decided it was time for a new layout and color scheme. I'm not sure I've settled for good on this particular one; I may keep experimenting a bit. In any case, I'll make some more tweaks to this page in the days to come (I'll finally update the recent books, music, etc. for example). In the meantime, feel free to post a comment and tell me what you think of the new design.

August 18, 2006

Yankee Territory vs. Red Sox Nation


The cover story of the sports section in this morning's Times has a fascinating article on the geographic divide between Yanks and Sox fans. Of course, living halfway between Boston and New York, the border is pretty close to me. And the world in which I operate--a New England boarding school--seems to be split close to evenly between aficionados of each of the two clubs. It was this way even up in Andover, Mass., when I taught there; the 1986 World Series between the Sox and the Mets exposed a fault line right down the middle of the 44-person dorm in which I lived, given so many students from New York City and its environs.

The article could have explored the eastern end of Long Island, too. There's a border there for two reasons: (a) Sox legend Carl Yastremski hails from Bridgehampton; and (b) in the old days, the east end got Sox games on the radio from Rhode Island. Thus there are pockets of Sox fans out there.

An Amusing Ditty

Though I'll cop to liking the music of James Blunt, I still find this very funny.

Life At The Top


U.S. News & World Report just released its 2007 rankings of colleges. Once again, Williams College is ranked #1. My alma mater achieved a perfect score of 100, finishing just ahead of some random school in Amherst, Massachusetts.

August 19, 2006

The Bronx Bombers Win A Pair

I watched the second game of the Yanks' double header at Fenway to the bitter (actually, sweet, in this case) end . . . this showdown set the major league record for the longest nine-inning game ever. Having shellacked the Sox in the afternoon contest by a 12-4 score, the Yankees then prevailed in a seesaw 14-11 nightcap that included a seven-run seventh inning rally for New York. This puts the Sox 3.5 games behind their hated rival in the AL East race.

Happy 60th, President Clinton


You may not have been perfect, but it's increasingly clear how badly we miss you!

Tennis On Television

The novelist David Foster Wallace has a brilliant piece on Roger Federer in the "Play" magazine insert in tomorrow's New York Times (which arrives on Saturday for home subscribers like me). In the article contains a spot-on analysis of the limits of appreciating the sport on television:

TV tennis has its advantages, but these advantages have disadvantages, and chief among them is a certain illusion of intimacy. Television’s slow-mo replays, its close-ups and graphics, all so privilege viewers that we’re not even aware of how much is lost in broadcast. And a large part of what’s lost is the sheer physicality of top tennis, a sense of the speeds at which the ball is moving and the players are reacting. This loss is simple to explain. TV’s priority, during a point, is coverage of the whole court, a comprehensive view, so that viewers can see both players and the overall geometry of the exchange. Television therefore chooses a specular vantage that is overhead and behind one baseline. You, the viewer, are above and looking down from behind the court. This perspective, as any art student will tell you, “foreshortens” the court. Real tennis, after all, is three-dimensional, but a TV screen’s image is only 2-D. The dimension that’s lost (or rather distorted) on the screen is the real court’s length, the 78 feet between baselines; and the speed with which the ball traverses this length is a shot’s pace, which on TV is obscured, and in person is fearsome to behold. That may sound abstract or overblown, in which case by all means go in person to some professional tournament — especially to the outer courts in early rounds, where you can sit 20 feet from the sideline — and sample the difference for yourself. If you’ve watched tennis only on television, you simply have no idea how hard these pros are hitting the ball, how fast the ball is moving, how little time the players have to get to it, and how quickly they’re able to move and rotate and strike and recover.

The entire article can be read here (registration required).


Tough Weekend For The Fenway Faithful


With their 13-5 victory today, the Yankees have scored at least 12 runs in each of the first three of a five-game series at Boston. UN-lucky for Sox fans!

August 20, 2006

Look-Alikes (Supposedly)

This site uses facial recognition software to analyze one's photo and compare it to faces of well-known people. The celebrity with the highest similarity to me? Roger Federer . . . also a tennis player . . . with whom I share a birthday . . . hmmmmmmm . . .

For the record, the rest of the line-up is: actor Dermont Mulroney, Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora, presidential candidate General Wesley Clark, actor/comedian Bill Murray, Mark Feehily (in an Irish boy band called Westlife), actor Michael Vartan (from Alias), and actor Cary Grant.

Roddick Rebounds


Andy Roddick captured his first title of 2006 in the Cincinnati tournament, finding form that has been long elusive. His defeat of Juan Carlos Ferrero was a replay of the 2003 Flushing Meadows final. Hopefuly Roddick can ride this momentum into a strong U.S. Open; he can't do much worse than his first round loss last year! Hard to imagine this former world #1 has dropped outside the top 15 in the rankings in recent weeks. At least this result ought to get him among the top 16 seeds in the Open, which will be critical in helping him avoid other contenders before the second week of the event.

Tiger Looking Tough


Tiger Woods coasted to his 12th major title today in winning his third PGA Championship crown. He's clearly pulling away from Mickelson et al. and looking more like the unbeatable golfer we saw a few years back.

Digital Clutter

Apple has encouraged us to use our Macs as the hub of our digital lifestyle. Having done that--used my desktop iMac as a repository for almost 12,000 iTunes songs, almost 19,000 photographs (most of them in relatively high resolution), a handful of iMovie videos--I find that the 233-odd gigabytes of my hard drive are now just about full. Though I probably have more applications than most would have loaded on my Mac, the bulk of the clutter is digital musical, photographic, and video content. This means I need to do some pruning: dumping those out-of-focus pictures from iPhoto, converting MP3s recorded at 320 or 192 kbps to 128 kbps AAC files, and storing old video data in one of my two external storage drives.

August 21, 2006

Dissection Of A Disaster


I am currently reading Fiasco, an excellent overview of the current Iraq war, written by Thomas Ricks, longtime Pentagon correspondent for the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. Recommended for anyone who wants to understand exactly what has unravelled in Iraq and how it happened. While the author doesn't appear to have a particular ideological axe to swing, he has turned in a fairly scathing indictment of the arrogance and incompetence of the current administration.

Is Bush Hitting The Bottle Again?

Okay, this is kind of sophomoric, bit it IS pretty funny: click here.

Bring Out Those Brooms

The Yankees just completed a five-game sweep of the Red Sox in Fenway Park. This series was as humiliating a string of defeats as I've seen in the regular season--surpassing even the fabled Boston Massacre of 1978. At this point, it's difficult to envision the Sox making the playoffs this fall.

August 22, 2006

In Case You Are Counting . . .

. . . it's been 1800 days since President George W. Bush said he would "get Osama bin Laden dead or alive."

Recommended Comedy


Little Miss Sunshine is a very funny movie. See it.

August 23, 2006

Today I Am Listening To . . .


. . . the new compilation of traditional sea chanteys featuring such singers as Bono, Sting, Lou Reed, Lucinda Williams, and two Wainwrights (father and son), among many others. The double CD is entitled Rogue's Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, & Chanteys. The Bono cover is particularly affecting.


I'm also listening to the Death Cab For Cutie iTunes Originals playlist. The iTunes Originals series includes some spoken word tracks with exposition from band members, some "greatest hits" cuts, a few versions of the band's songs re-recorded specifically for this collection and--at least in this case--some music videos, all for $9.90.

August 24, 2006

I Feel Pretty

Check out this ad, which I'm sure will be in heavy rotation during the U.S. Open the next couple of weeks.

August 25, 2006

Revolving Door Of Justice

I had a 2pm court date today. I got busted in May for driving my car with an expired registration. So I pleaded "not guilty," renewed my registration, and brought the paperwork to my hearing today and was out the door (with all charges dropped) ay 2:07.

August 26, 2006

Getting The Alarm Clock Ready

Since I returned home from Africa earlier this month, I've kept the alarm clock turned off and avoided wearing a watch. That's not to say I haven't been doing any work--I've been in the office most days this month--but I've been able to apportion the hours of the day how I want. The pace has been leisurely. Of course, with school about to start, that's all about to change. I head into New York for a conference the next three days, I'll spend most of Tuesday at the U.S. Open, and then Wednesday marks the start of the school year for me: new faculty orientation begins then and athletic team captains return to campus Thursday night. So the alarm clock will be a regular part of my morning routine starting next week.

Season 3 Ahead


This promo ad for Lost has me looking forward to the third season of this excellent show.

August 27, 2006

Tennis Nostalgia


Just checked into my New York City hotel. On the eve of the U.S. Open, there are lots of tennis folks around town. (I am here for the USTA's conference for coaches.) As the Open will be Andre Agassi's last event before his retirement, ESPN Classic is now replaying the final of the 1995 Australian Open final between him and Pete Sampras. I have warm memories of this particular tournament, which Agassi won. It was the first appearance of the "pirate look" for Andre; he had finally cut his dyed long hair before playing in Melbourne, radically changing his image. It was also the year when Sampras experienced a semi-breakdown during his quarterfinal match against Jim Courier, in light of the medical difficulties Pete's coach Tim Gullikson (who later died of brain cancer) was going through at the time. At the time, the two players were ranked #1 and #2. Arguably each was at his peak (or, in Agassi's case, one of his peaks!). The final was of remarkably high quality and it was called by the all-star ESPN commentary squad of Cliff Drysdale, Fred Stolle, and Mary Carillo. It's a treat to watch it again.

The Center Of The Universe


Just got back from Times Square, where I saw the flick The Illusionist. (It was reasonably entertaining, if awfully predictable.) You really feel the place is the axis mundi--there's such an energetic vibe to the place. It's like Piccadilly Circus on steroids.

August 28, 2006

1996 Tony Award Winner


Just saw the Broadway production of Rent. Yeah, I know I'm ten years behind its debut, but I figured it was about time.

Night Play At The U.S. Open


Upon returning from the theater, I caught Andre Agassi's rebound in the third set of his first round match from a 0-4 deficit to a tiebreak win. The fourth set will start past midnight.

August 29, 2006

Agassi Wins One


After a tight start, Agassi pulled out his first round match against a game Andrei Pavel.

Jimmy Connors


I was supposed to spend most of the day out at the U.S. Open, but rain washed out the schedule of matches. This morning, Jimmy Connors was featured in the closing session of the USTA conference in New York. Having been a rabid "Jimbo" fan in the 1980s, it was cool to hear him wax philosophic about tennis past and present.

August 30, 2006

Dylan's Latest


Bob Dylan's recent release, Modern TImes, arrived in my mailbox yesterday and it's a good listen. The album captures a lot of what's great about American music and Dylan in particular, without wallowing in nostalgia.

August 31, 2006

Late Night Drama


Andre Agassi is on serve, 3-2, in the fifth set of his match with #8 seed Marcos Baghdatis and this is another match about to head past midnight!

About August 2006

This page contains all entries posted to As Far As You Know in August 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

July 2006 is the previous archive.

September 2006 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.