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February 2008 Archives

February 1, 2008

Changes In Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes

It's Long Weekend break at school--we are off until Monday night--and I'm in the Charlotte airport right now, on my way to Miami for a bit of warm weather and a visit with my parents (tomorrow is my dad's birthday). I expect the 80-degree temperatures will be a welcome respite from the New England winter.



I arrived in Miami a bit before 10 p.m. The new terminal complex at MIA is worlds better than its predecessor. It still took me far too long to get my bag (still can't seem to travel light enough to avoid checking a bag, even for a weekend getaway) and get my rental car. Fortunately the Doral Resort, where I am staying through Monday with my folks, is not very far from the airport. Walking out of the terminal into the warm air was a welcome feeling indeed!

February 2, 2008

Groundhog Day


It's February 2, and I am taking advantage of the "holiday" to watch one of my favorite movies, which just arrived from Amazon this week in a new DVD edition: Groundhog Day. This is a terrific Bill Murray flick, with plenty of comedic moments surrounding a romantic story thread.

Barack Obama For President


It's endorsement time in "As Far As You Know," what with the Connecticut presidential primary now just a few days away. I have resisted declaring a favorite thus far, preferring to approach the race with an open mind, and watching the campaign unfold.

Frankly, each of the Republican candidates is pretty seriously flawed, so the GOP is a non-starter for me at the presidential level in 2008. Moreover, the Republicans have had eight years at the helm and . . . well, let's just say the current administration won't be remembered in history as one of our finest moments as a country.

Some of the Democrats in the race that I found most attractive--specifically John Edwards and Connecticut's own Chris Dodd--have already abandoned their campaigns. So my choice is now between Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama. There's lots to like about Senator Clinton; she has consistently outperformed expectations on behalf of the people of New York and has proven herself a far more effective U.S. Senator than her critics--who are legion--have given her credit for. I've seen her in person and she exceeded my own expectations as well. Moreover, she has been a savvy and resilient campaigner. I'll certainly support Clinton should she win the nomination. But my vote next Tuesday will be cast for Barack Obama.

Our country surely needs a break from the possibility of a quarter of a century of Bushes and Clintons trading terms in the White House. That's just too much politics as usual. But as a colleague of mine pointed out to me the other day, that's not enough of a reason not to vote for Hilary. And she's right. I am supporting Obama because (1) he has the best chance to put the Executive Branch under Democratic control after the disaster of the past eight years--he will be more electable in my estimation; (2) he embodies a message of change that will reposition America's role in the world in a fundamentally positive way (and having traveled the globe a lot in recent years I can testify that this is a development we desperately need); (3) he has already shown an ability to engage and inspire Americans who have largely been turned off by politics, especially young people; and finally, (4) he has the temperament, the commitment, and the intelligence to be an effective president.

Today's editorial page in the Los Angeles Times sums it up pretty well:

In the language of metaphor, Clinton is an essay, solid and reasoned; Obama is a poem, lyric and filled with possibility. Clinton would be a valuable and competent executive, but Obama matches her in substance and adds something that the nation has been missing far too long--a sense of aspiration.

In short, Obama is the best person for the job.

February 3, 2008

Michael Clayton


Saw the fifth of the Oscar nominees for Best Picture tonight, catching the late showing of Michael Clayton. Not exactly a mystery, nor a conventional legal thriller, but engaging in its development of the title character, portrayed by the always reliable George Clooney. This film won't win the Academy Award, but it's worth seeing.

A Private U2 Show


I drove up to West Palm Beach this morning to catch the U23D concert film on an IMAX screen. I had the theater to myself in the 11 a.m. show. That didn't diminish my enjoyment, however; this was an AMAZING presentation. The 3D technology created the sense I was in the front row, in the 10th row, standing next to The Edge on screen, or floating over Larry Mullen Jr.'s drum kit at various times. A great sound system in the theater made the excitement of audience palpable. The music was drawn from the South American leg of the Vertigo tour and the band was in fine form. The "Love And Peace Or Else"/"Sunday Bloody Sunday"/"Bullet The Blue Sky" sequence (with snippets of "Johnny Comes Marching Home" and "The Hands That Built America" included for good measure) in the middle of the concert was terrific; these are songs that are always better showcased in a live setting than in the studio versions. And I defy anyone who sees this movie to tell me you didn't think Bono was about to touch your face halfway through "Sunday Bloody Sunday." See this while you can, preferably in in IMAX screen.

Game Time


I am settling in to watch my first SuperBowl since 2005. Two years ago I was on a plane from Florida to Connecticut and missed most of the game. Last winter this time I had just arrived in Cairo, where NFL coverage didn't seem to be a broadcasting priority. This year I actually care about the two teams squaring off, so I will enjoy this game and its associated hoopla (after all, a good chunk of the ritual is the commercials aired between bouts of football).

Great Audi Ad

Super Bowl commercial update #1: Beautiful Godfather homage in the Audi R8 commercial!

Giant Carrier Pigeons

Super Bowl commercial update #2: FedEx scored with its ad featuring humungous pigeons.



Super Bowl commercial update #3: I am a sucker for this sort of thing, but that was a pretty good looking trailer for the Iron Man movie.

Back To Narnia


Super Bowl commercial update #4: The preview of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian sure was pretty to look at; hope the eye candy of the special effects is matched by a good script and good acting.

A Worthy Super Bowl


So many Super Bowl games turn out to be duds, but this year's delivered: it was dramatic until the closing seconds of play. The Giants defense was spectacular in shutting down the usually formidable Tom Brady. And Eli Manning pulled the rabbit out of the hat more than once in his final game-winning drive. Too bad to see the Pats miss out on the 19-0 season, but as a New Yorker, I found it satisfying to see the Giants back in the winner's circle.

February 4, 2008

A Reluctant Departure

My long weekend break in South Florida has come to an end. I am mildly tramautized just putting on long pants in preparation for the flight back to Hartford (and sub-40 degree weather). This has been a perfect getaway of family time, reading, and a couple of movies. I am also finishing up season 3 of The Wire, with one more DVD set to get me up to date before I can enjoy the current final season currently airing.

Free Wireless In The Airport

The Charlotte airport, like Bradley Airport back home or the JetBlue terminal at JFK, offers free wireless access. Most airports have a deal with a provider like T-Mobile that charges a flat rate for an hour's or a day's worth of time online. I wish all airports followed the Charlotte model.

An iPhone Glitch


After a few weeks of technological bliss, my experience with the iPhone took an unfortunate turn yesterday. The bottom half-inch of screen has become unresponsive, which prevents me from accessing the on-screen keyboard while text messaging or hitting the space bar or accessing numbers and punctuation in those application in which I can get a keyboard. This is pretty limiting for many functions of the device. I've checked out this phenomenon online and it turns out this is a problem other users have experienced, even if rarely so. So I will be stopping at the Genius Bar in the Apple Store at West Farms Mall on my way home from the airport and I expect my phone will be replaced.

Senator Weasel


I see Connecticut's junior U.S. senator, a Democrat, is squiring the Republican presidential front runner around the state the day before Super Tuesday voting. I'm all for bipartisanship in general, but Lieberman is not exactly endearing himself to the Democrats among his constituents. Then again, this may be a form of payback to this group, which abandoned him in favor of Ned Lamont in the 2006 primary, as well as a thank you to the Republicans in the Nutmeg State who sent him back to Washington.

The Apple Store Experience


I stopped at the Apple Store in Farmington tonight so one of the resident Geniuses could replace my defective iPhone (it was simple: he swapped the SIM card into a new unit in the store, then I quickly restored the data from my iMac back home and I didn't miss a beat).

I was struck once again by the elegant experience of Apple's retail operations. Clearly these stores have been a runaway success, with their simple but effective designs. They function as showrooms for Apple's latest technological innovations as well as a sort of temple for the faithful. I have long referred to the Regent Street Apple Store as "my London office" because I really can settle in their for a few hours while away from home to take advantage of the free wireless so I can use e-mail and surf the 'Net.

Service is a key part of the experience. I bought my dad a new iPod Nano in South Beach the other day and the staff could not have been easier to deal with (the store even saves paper by e-mailing me the receipt, since my credit card is associated with my Apple account). Tonight a concierge arranged an appointment for a Genius to look at my iPhone, even though there were no appointments left for Monday night. Once that happened, my device was replaced without question.

Other retailers could learn a lot from how Apple runs its stores.

February 5, 2008

Your Civic Duty


It's primary day here in Connecticut (and in many states across the country). Don't forget to cast your ballot! I just voted this morning. Instead of pulling the lever on a machine, there was a paper ballot with a bubble to fill in next to the name of each candidate: sort of like a one-question SAT!

February 7, 2008

Year Of The Rat


Happy New Year.

For Everyman


Jackson Browne, the archetype of the 1970s singer-songwriter--or perhaps one who shares top billing with James Taylor--is performing here in Wallingford on April 6. He is one of my favorite artists and I am already looking forward to seeing him for the first time live.

February 8, 2008

The A Team


Just ten weeks after winning the Davis Cup, the U.S. squad is back in action in a first-round tie in Austria. With Andy Roddick, James Blake, and the Bryan brothers back in captain Patrick McEnroe's roster, the American squad is expected to cruise, even on a slow red clay surface.

February 12, 2008

In A Galaxy Far, Far Away


Apparently George Lucas is not finished with Star Wars after all. Showing up on big and small screens later this year is a computer-animated Clone Wars series (not to be confused with the animated shorts of the same name that ran on Cartoon Network a couple years back), documenting the adventures of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker and friends between the events of Episode II and Episode III.

February 14, 2008

How Cool Is This?

It's a safe bet that I'll be in the theater on May 22. Come to think of it, I believe I saw the other three Indy movies on the day they were released. So I can't break my streak.

February 16, 2008



I caught a matinee of Jumper today. It was reasonably entertaining, but I'm glad I only paid the bargain price of $5.00. The sci-fi concept is kind of neat, but it's hard to like the protagonist much at all, since he comes across as an amoral creep. Best parts of the flick were the visuals in a few of my favorite places: Rome, Cairo, and Tokyo.

February 17, 2008

An Afternoon With Mozart


My subscription with the Handel & Haydn Society brought me to Symphony Hall in Boston today for a program that included a terrific Symphony No. 39 as well as the Requiem, both by Mozart. The symphony was especially exquisite, particularly the clarinet work in the fourth movement. And the Requiem recalled scenes from the film Amadeus as I listened.

February 19, 2008

The Only Way To Fly


Wow. Someone went to a LOT of trouble to create a hot air balloon based on Darth Vader's helmet. Pretty cool.

February 21, 2008


It's a hectic time of the year for me. Running the New England prep school squash tournaments--which I am now doing for the 22nd year--pretty much will consume the next three days of my life, so blogging opportunities will be rare.

February 24, 2008

Some Nice Recognition


The Choate squash team was once again recognized with the Team Sportsmanship Award, a distinction voted by all the other teams in New England.

February 26, 2008

More Momentum


Senator Chris Dodd's endorsement of Barack Obama's candidacy only adds to the sense of a train picking up steam. Hard to see Hillary derailing this momentum in tonight's debate, the last showdown before the Ohio and Texas primaries, which have to be seen as the last stand for Senator Clinton.

February 28, 2008

The E Street Band Is In Town


Bruce Springsteen kicked off the new leg of his world tour tonight in Hartford and this guy was there to take it all in. I had seen The Boss in Hartford just a couple years back, but he was performing solo in support of his Devils & Dust album, and it was a more somber and restrained concert. This was my first outing with the entire E Street ensemble on stage and it's easy to see why the band is so effective live. There was tremendous energy and chemistry on display all night. Moreover, I don't think I've ever observed a performer exhibiting such obvious delight as I saw from Springsteen tonight. He clearly made an effort to connect with individuals in the crowd throughout the evening and was smiling and laughing often. The highlight for me was a rousing version of "Born To Run" in the encore set. I remember being a teenager, listening to the top five requests of the night on WPLJ in my room and that song landing the top slot every single night!

Springsteen's Setlist

From tonight's concert at the Hartford Civic Center:

So Young And In Love
Radio Nowhere
Lonesome Day
Gypsy Biker
Reason To Believe
Loose Ends
She's the One
Livin' In The Future
The Promised Land
Waitin' On A Sunny Day
Janey Don't You Lose Heart
The River
Devil's Arcade
The Rising
Last To Die
Long Walk Home

Girls In Their Summer Clothes
Kitty's Back
Born To Run
American Land

February 29, 2008

Leapin' Lizards!

It's February 29: Superman's birthday, if memory serves.

Change Of Plans

I was planning on a road trip during the first part of next week: Philadelphia, Annapolis, Washington, and New York City. But I canceled my hotel reservations this morning. I'll still head into the Big Apple on Wednesday (I have tickets for two shows) but I could use the time here to get caught up on some projects without feeling like I am spending all of my break living out of a suitcase.

A Great Episode Of Lost!


I watched this week's new episode of Lost tonight (I recorded it on the DVR while I was at the Springsteen concert) and it's a terrific Desmond-themed episode involving time travel (sorta). We also meet the crew on the boat and find out that time may pass on the island at a different rate than in the outside world!

About February 2008

This page contains all entries posted to As Far As You Know in February 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

January 2008 is the previous archive.

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