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February 2010 Archives

February 1, 2010

More Muckraking


Just finished the last of the backlog of rented movies from the iTunes Store: Food, Inc. This was another exploration of the American food industry, though one with a broader focus than King Corn. This film certainly gives me plenty to think about next time I go to the supermarket.


Super-heroes say the darnedest things (and so do their pets). [Click to enlarge.]


February 2, 2010

The Last Piece Of The Puzzle


I just ordered a ticket to a Timon Of Athens performance on June 10 in Boston, which will be the last of the 39 plays in the Shakespeare canon I'll have seen staged. I plowed through this list in a little over two years (and I even included Edward III and The Two Noble Kinsmen--which some scholars don't consider part of the "official" canon--in my quest).

February 1, 2010

The Wooden O


This summer's season at Shakespeare's Globe in London is "Kings And Rogues," and I have booked tickets for three of the history plays--Henry VIII, Henry IV Part One, and Henry IV Part Two--around the beginning of August. Shakespeare's Globe is a recreation of the original outdoor space used by The King's Men in the early 1600s and it's a fantastic place to see productions of The Bard's plays in period costume.

February 2, 2010

Maybe This Will Shut Up The iPad Nay-Sayers?


(Thanks to Boing Boing.)

February 3, 2010

"Nothing Is Irreversible"


So the two-hour Lost premiere answered a couple of questions--we now have a better sense of the conflict at the heart of the saga (Jacob vs. his nemesis, who now looks a lot like John Locke when he is not a smoke monster)--and, as expected, raised a bunch more. The show appears to have branched into two storylines: one in which the nuclear explosion reset our characters onto a 2004 Oceanic 815 flight that does not crash (but still experiences some strange happenings and divergences from the established backstory, such as a "lucky" Hurley) and another in which the protagonists stuck in 1977 return to their "proper" time in 2007, wherein apparently the nuke did not explode. All sorts of intriguing possibilities could unfold in this final season. This was a compelling start to the final 16 installments of Lost.

February 2, 2010

The 2010 Oscar Races


No huge surprises among the Oscar nominations announced this morning. I thought that with ten Best Picture nods, Star Trek might have earned one, but I guess District 9 is the sci-fi sleeper instead (of course neither of these would have a chance in hell of winning the big prize). You have to think that the five Best Director nominations indicate the films most likely to earn Best Picture votes, no?

February 4, 2010

The Republican Mind


Scary stuff: this is data from a survey of self-identified Republicans, as cited in this article in The Economist.

New U2 Album (Sort Of)


Subscribers to U2.com will be getting Artificial Horizon, a collection of remixed songs by the band, sometime soon. Here is the list of tracks:

1. Elevation (Influx Mix)
2. Fast Cars (Jacknife Lee Mix)
3. Get On Your Boots (Fish Out Of Water Mix)
4. Vertigo (Trent Reznor Remix)
5. Magnificent (Falke Radio Mix)
6. I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight (Live U2360° Remix)
7. Beautiful Day (David Holmes Remix)
8. Staring At The Sun (Monster Truck Remix)
9. Happiness Is A Warm Gun (Danny Saber Mix)
10. Get On Your Boots (Justice Remix)
11. City Of Blinding Lights (Hot Chip 2006 Remix)
12. If God Will Send His Angels (Grand Jury Mix)
13. Staring At The Sun (Brothers in Rhythm Ambient Mix)

February 5, 2010

In-Flight Wi-Fi


I am posting this entry high above New Jersey, where I am connected to the Internet via the Gogo service on my Delta flight to Atlanta. First time for airborne Web access, which is pretty nifty!

This segment of my trip is delayed, so I am hoping the Atlanta-to-West Palm Beach flight I am connecting with will be behind schedule as well so I can get to Florida tonight. Otherwise I may well be spending the night in Georgia.

Now This Is What The iPad Was Meant For

Late last year, the folks at Time Inc. assembled a demo of an interactive Sports Illustrated issue on a tablet that looks an awful lot like an iPad. If realized, this new form of media could become a "killer app" for the new device and also salvage the ailing periodicals business. Rumors are that Steve Jobs and company are huddling with newspaper and magazine publishers right now, trying to cut deals, presumably for subscriptions on the iPad. Will Cupertino be creating "iMags" before the tablet launches next month?

February 7, 2010

Required Viewing


The unedited footage of Jon Stewart's appearance on The O'Reilly Factor is a must-see. Stewart brilliantly dissects Fox News as an organization and scores some good laughs along the way.

February 5, 2010

Almost There

I managed to fly over the storm that is bringing the middle Atlantic states to a standstill today. The conditions are rainy and overcast here in Georgia, but nothing like the blizzard hitting D.C. As my plane was landing, we were flying through low cloud cover until the runway appeared just a couple hundred feet below. My flight was delayed leaving Hartford and my connection out of Atlanta is similarly behind schedule (I actually missed the plane to West Palm Beach I was supposed to be on, but Delta went ahead and booked me a seat on the next flight out, thankfully). But it looks like I will make it to Florida tonight. Good think I am not connecting in Charlotte!

February 6, 2010

This Week's Fringe


I just finished this week's installment of Fringe. Very good episode, with a fair dose of mythology included and a great cliffhanger at the end. Unfortunately, no new episodes until spring.

Further Thoughts On The iPad


Ten days after the introduction of the iPad, I am even more convinced this device is positioned to emerge as a great success, carving out a new place in people's lives. As others have observed, the iPad is all about media consumption, not media creation--and so it really is different from a laptop or desktop computer. It certainly can't replace the computer, but it can extend the concept of the digital hub much more easily. Some things I've been mulling over:

  • Living in an academic community, it's easy for me to imagine how an iPad might be successfully marketed to college and high school students: if Apple or a third-party developer could implement handwriting recognition (presumably using a suitable stylus on the multi-touch screen), a student could take class notes on the same slim device that contains all of her textbooks. She could also access her schedule, e-mail, and Internet sites of interest. No more bulging backpacks! This could easily become the must-have campus accessory before too long.

  • Apple needs to get moving on the periodicals subscription front. I receive The International Herald Tribune daily on my Kindle; it was very simple to set up a subscription and takes no effort to download each new edition via Whispersync (at least in the States--doing so abroad means transferring a file from my laptop). The iPad has the potential to revolutionize the periodicals industry as I discussed a few days ago (and please do check out the tablet-optimized Sports Illustrated demo). If digital delivery to a tablet is the future of publishing, sign me up. (By the way, since Steve Jobs now is the largest single shareholder of Disney, he seems to be able to leverage this position into ABC providing content for iTunes; why can't he now do the same with recent Disney acquisition Marvel Comics? Seems the iPad platform is ideal for making digital comics work on a large scale.)

  • Since I own about a dozen or more Kindle e-books that I can read on an iPhone app, I wonder if Amazon.com and Apple will allow me to read these on a Kindle app for the iPad? I hope so, but it would constitute an end-run around Apple's iBookstore and also encourage Amazon customers from purchasing the dedicated Kindle hardware. It will be interesting watching this unfold.

  • Yes a camera--or even two, one facing each way--would be nice, but surely this will be a feature of iPad 2.0 once it can be implemented without making the device too expensive.

  • Too bad the iPad won't be able to play Flash, but I predict the Adobe vs. Apple conflict will result in web developers moving away from Flash-based programming in favor of more open standards. I can't imagine them writing off iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad users by using Flash on any new web pages under development when there are alternatives available.

The question for me is not whether to get the iPad but how soon to get it. Perhaps I will do what I did with the iPhone: get the first and third generations.

February 7, 2010

Meanwhile, Back Home . . .


The Johnson Athletic Center is hosting squash matches as part of the U.S. National High School Team Championships. Choate co-hosts this event every year with Yale University. In addition to running our own junior tournament in mid-February, the school will also host men's and women's intercollegiate national championships this month as well.

Saints Come Marchin'


Congrats to the city of New Orleans! In light of the Katrina disaster, it was hard not to root for this team.

February 8, 2010

Northward Bound

My time in the warmth has come to a close; I am about to jump on a plane to Hartford. The way back I am taking a direct flight. But I am not looking forward to the ice and snow.

Game Change


I started reading Game Change, the "inside baseball" account of the 2008 presidential campaign, over the weekend and spent some time with the book on the plane up to Connecticut today. It's a great read, a pretty gripping narrative about the Obama, Clinton, and McCain organizations.

February 10, 2010

Stunt Casting


I have just been cast as Officer Krupke in this spring's school production of West Side Story. It's sort of a glorified cameo, I guess, but it should be fun. Fortunately I won't have to spend much time rehearsing, which would be a problem during tennis season.

Tempest In A Teapot

The forecast for a debilitating winter storm wiped out scheduled contests among New England prep schools today, but the fearsome blizzard never quite materialized. So we've lost a good day of competition. While it's a bit messy out there today, we probably could have salvaged some games.

February 11, 2010

Summer Plans

I've signed on for teaching duties once again this summer, but have begged off taking the Kennedy Institute kids to D.C. for a week in July. I have taught most summers since I began my career and mostly enjoy the change of pace represented by the summer school, but I don't think I can schlep around muggy Washington again. This way, I'll be able to enroll in the course at Yale I am planning to take, too.

February 12, 2010

Rom Com Time


Instead of practice today, our squash team went to the movies to see Valentine's Day, which I would describe as an American version of Love Actually (but nowhere near as good). This romantic comedy boasts a huge ensemble all-star cast. The girls generally liked the flick, and I thought it was inoffensive at best. Not a total drag to sit through, but nothing I'd have run out to see on my own.

A Harry Potter Knock-Off


For my second trip to the cinema in six hours, I saw Percy Jackson And The Olympians: The Lightning Thief tonight and wanted to like this movie, but found it pretty middle-of-the-road. The premise--a boy discovers he is the son of the Greek god Poseidon--is promising but the execution was mixed. Lots of pretty special effects, but this story (at least on flim--I haven't read the series of books) didn't have as much heart as it could have.

February 9, 2010

A Fitting T-Shirt


A former student of mine saw this T-shirt in a catalogue and thought "it had my name on it" and so he sent it to me with a nice note. Sweet!

February 13, 2010

Big Day In The WJAC

Lots going on in the Worthington Johnson Athletic Center today: Choate is hosting the Class "A" League Wrestling Championships as well as the Choate Junior Squash Championships. Looks like both tournaments are running smoothly. As busy as the facility is this weekend, these "event" days are always fun.



I left the Choate campus about 3:00 this afternoon to drive down to the University of Delaware campus for a performance of Cymbeline, one of the few remaining plays in the Shakespeare canon I had not yet seen. It was an easy--if lengthy--drive, but the play was worth it. This work is an under-appreciated gem, with an intricate plot that weaves together elements found in a handful of the Bard's other plays. This production was staged by the graduate students in the university's drama program and the acting and production values were quite good. The theater was a black box, with seating on all four sides and the show employed no scenery to speak of and very few props. This kept the focus squarely on the language and the action, and thus was a memorable evening's entertainment.

February 14, 2010

I Am My Own Travel Agent


Spent some time online tonight, surfing for deals on flights and hotels in Copenhagen, London, Ontario, Vancouver, Seattle, and Ashland, Oregon. The Expedia and Marriott websites have been the backbone of my searches, but I make a point to do some comparison shopping before booking anything. It looks like I've gotten some good deals by paying weeks or months in advance.

February 15, 2010

The Quantified Life

A high school teacher in California tracked various aspects of his life in the calendar year 2009 and came up with this engaging "annual report" in video form:

Dan Meyer's 2009 Annual Report from Dan Meyer on Vimeo.

You can follow him in the blogosphere.

February 16, 2010

Our Revels Now Have Ended


The Tempest is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays and I battled through the snowstorm in Connecticut to get down to Brooklyn to see it tonight (New York City has virtually no snow on the streets, while there is over a foot on the ground back home). I've now seen all four productions by The Bridge Project, an Anglo-American collaboration that stages two plays in repertory and takes them around the world for the better part of a year. Last year in the inaugural season for this company, The Cherry Orchard and The Winter's Tale were paired; I saw the former in New York in the winter and the latter in London in August. The cast of tonight's play was the same one I saw perform As You Like It a few weeks back.

I liked this version of The Tempest. British actor Stephen Dillane was a marvelous Prospero in particular. The sets and lighting were inventive, with the rear of the stage filled with a couple inches of water. The play was staged without intermission, running a bit more than two hours, but it was engaging throughout.

February 17, 2010

Haven't Seen A Minute Of The Games


We're nearly a week into the 2010 Winter Olympics and I haven't yet watched even a snippet of the television coverage from Vancover. I actually know a few of the competitors and haven't even tuned in to see them. Now that I am part of the HD world, I guess I'll try to see some of the action this weekend.

February 18, 2010

A New Look For The Penny


This is the new flip side of Mr. Lincoln's profile on the one-cent coin. Looks kind of retro to my eye.

February 19, 2010

Collegiate Squash Comes To Choate


Once every three years, Choate co-hosts (with Yale University) the Men's Intercollegiate National Squash Championships. We are lucky to be able to see a handful of the top-ranked college teams in action right here in the Johnson Athletic Center. I got to see #1 Trinity extend its domination of the CSA in a quarterfinal win over Western Ontario as well as an entertaining showdown between Ivy powers Princeton and Harvard.

It's especially gratifying to see so many Choate alums competing in this tournament. By my count there are 12 Wild Boars in the event (a few of whom never played on squash teams here at school!).

February 20, 2010

Closing In On The Canon


Here is an update on my progress seeing all of Shakespeare's work staged. I am within a few months of completing my quest.

Thank God for the Internet; without the Web, I don't know how I would have tracked down some of the more obscure theatrical offerings I have arranged. For example, a little Shakespearean company in New Jersey is staging the Wars Of The Roses plays (all three parts of Henry VI along with Richard III) in the space of one day in early March, dubbing the experience the "War-A-Thon." Attending this enables me to knock off three hard-to-find Henry VI shows.

Here is what I have seen thus far (not counting anything I saw before the spring of 2008):

1. 4/24/08, Macbeth, Broadway
2. 6/20/08, Hamlet, Shakespeare In The Park, The Public Theater, New York City
3. 6/26/08, King Lear, American Shakespeare Center, Staunton, VA
4. 6/27/08, Twelfth Night, American Shakespeare Center, Staunton, VA
5. 6/28/08, Measure For Measure, American Shakespeare Center, Staunton, VA
6. 7/3/08, All's Well That Ends Well, Shakespeare & Co., Lenox, MA
7. 7/18/08, The Comedy Of Errors, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland, OR
8. 7/19/08, Othello, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland, OR
9. 7/22/08, Romeo And Juliet, Old Globe Theater, San Diego, CA
10. 8/8/08, The Merry Wives Of Windsor, Shakespeare's Globe, London
11. 8/9/08, The Taming Of The Shrew, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford, U.K.
12. 8/13/08, Much Ado About Nothing, Oxford Castle, Oxford, U.K.
13. 9/9/08, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hartford Stage Company, Hartford, CT
14. 10/3/08, The Tempest, Classic Stage Company, New York City
15. 5/14/09, The Merchant Of Venice, Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York City
16. 6/13/09, Julius Caesar, Stratford Festival, Stratford, ON, Canada
17. 6/20/09, Henry V, Richmond Shakespeare Festival, Richmond, VA
18. 7/10/09, Pericles, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Garrison, NY
19. 7/19/09, Titus Andronicus, American Shakespeare Center, Staunton, VA
20. 7/26/09, Two Gentlemen Of Verona, Colonial Theater, Westerly, RI
21. 7/28/09, Antony And Cleopatra, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Center Valley, PA
22. 8/1/09, As You Like It, Shakespeare's Globe, London
23. 8/1/09, The Winter's Tale, The Old Vic, London
24. 8/16/09, Troilus And Cressida, Shakespeare's Globe, London
25. 8/22/09, Henry IV, Part 1, Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, Philadelphia, PA
26. 8/26/09, Henry VIII, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland, OR
27. 8/28/09, Coriolanus, Old Globe Theater, San Diego, CA
28. 9/27/09, Richard III, Chicago Shakespeare Festival, Chicago
29. 10/28/09, Love's Labour's Lost, Annenberg Center, Philadelphia, PA
30. 12/10/09, King John, Williams College, Williamstown, MA
31. 1/10/10, The Two Noble Kinsmen, Guerrilla Shakespeare Project, New York City
32. 2/13/10, Cymbeline, University of Delaware, Newark, DE

(I have seen some of these plays two or three times in the last two years, but I am only counting the first viewing in tallying the canon.)

And here's what I have on tap in the next few months (I already have booked tickets for each of these shows):

33. 3/7/10, Henry VI, Part 1, Collingswood Shakespeare Company, Collingswood, NJ
34. 3/7/10, Henry VI, Part 2, Collingswood Shakespeare Company, Collingswood, NJ
35. 3/7/10, Henry VI, Part 3, Collingswood Shakespeare Company, Collingswood, NJ
36. 4/3/10, Richard II, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Washington, DC
37. 4/13/10, Edward III, Richmond Shakespeare Festival, Richmond, VA
38. 6/10/10, Timon Of Athens, Actors' Shakespeare Project, Boston, MA
39. 8/1/10, Henry IV, Part 2, Shakespeare's Globe, London
(Technically I saw Henry IV, Part 2 as part of a combined Henry IV production a Lincoln Center some years back, but I am not counting that as part of this series.)

Fitting, I think, to finish my quest in the recreated Globe Theatre in London!

God Of Carnage


Broadway's God Of Carnage is a fairly biting comedy of manners, a black comedy for sure. The four-person cast (Christine Lahti, Jimmy Smits, Annie Potts, and Ken Stott) was excellent in this witty send-up of modern bourgeois values.

February 21, 2010

Adventures In Handbrake


I am trying to prepare some clips from some Region 2 DVDs for my Shakespeare class this spring. I've used Ripit with some success to create a "virtual" replica of a DVD on my hard drive, but it's not handy for excerpting clips. So I am now employing Handbrake to rip just the movie file from The Shakespeare Collection, the complete set of BBC-produced plays for television. Doing this creates files that I can open in iTunes--which means I can view the films on an iPod, iPhone, or my AppleTV.

February 22, 2010

Tidbit Of The Day From The Commentariat

A snippet from today's Paul Krugman column in The New York Times:

Republicans insist that the deficit must be eliminated, but they're not willing either to raise taxes or to support cuts in any major government programs. And they're not willing to participate in serious bipartisan discussions, either, because that might force them to explain their plan -- and there isn't any plan, except to regain power.

February 21, 2010



I didn't plan to start watching Caprica--the Battlestar Galactica prequel series that debuted just a few weeks back--but got sucked in by the first episode, which was a free download on iTunes, and now appear to be hooked.

February 22, 2010


(click to enlarge)

Someone posted this on my Facebook page today in the wake of last night's U.S. defeat of Canada in Olympic men's hockey. Pretty amusing.

February 23, 2010

Nifty New Headgear


The fashionable accessory of choice made its debut today: Choate Squash knit hats, which the girls' and boys' teams ordered. They have arrived just in time for the last match of the season tomorrow against Deerfield.

February 24, 2010

Tournament Prep

I am up to my eyeballs this week in getting draws up and running for this weekend's New England Squash Championships. The Tournament Committee had its seeding meeting last night, so the real work of getting everything set to go at three different venues is mostly on my plate at this point. Hard to believe this is the 24th time I'll be running this event!

February 26, 2010

King Of The Road

I am traveling through much of New England through some dodgy weather today. I drove to Suffield, Connecticut, to drop off materials for the boys' "C" squash tourney there before trekking up to Exeter, New Hampshire, to get the "A" event underway. (I actually had to stop for about 20 minutes for a conference call related to my presentation at the TABS Risk Management Conference in Delaware this June.) Now that play is winding down here, I will head out with the Choate team for a late supper before driving to West Springfield, Massachusetts, for a night in a motel. First thing in the morning, I get back on the Mass Pike for the trip to Salisbury, CT--the boys' "B" venue--and then back to Suffield before finally joining the Choate girls in Deerfield just after lunchtime; I'll be there through the end of play Sunday afternoon. Whew!

February 25, 2010

Media Spotlight


Busy week here dealing with the media. Because three members of the U.S. Women's Ice Hockey Team are Choate graduates, the school has been getting a lot of coverage in the local papers on the airwaves. I've talked to a bunch of journalists and facilitated camera crews and reporters coming to campus to shoot some footage and interview Choate coaches and athletes. Tonight, I am hosting our girls' varsity ice hockey team for a pizza dinner while the gold medal game in women's hockey is contested between the U.S. and Canadian squads. We'll have visitors from the Hartford Courant, NBC Connecticut, and public radio on hand. After tonight, all of this attention should subside, no matter what happens in the game!

February 27, 2010

Country Roads

Earlier today, I got to see a part of Connecticut I've never seen before: driving from Salisbury to Suffield through the northwestern part of the state, I left Route 44 (which I do know pretty well) for a pleasant drive through all sorts of towns I've never seen before: New Hartford, Barkhamstead, Salmon Brook, Hungary, and West Suffield. It sure is a nice part of the Nutmeg State.

February 28, 2010

Another Squash Season Put To Bed


This weekend brought the close of the squash New England tournaments (which cap what is always my most frenetic week of the year, I think), the end of squash season, and the last gasps of the winter term here at school. After a weekend with a lot of time behind the wheel and some intense matches to coach through, I am sure ready to crash right now!

About February 2010

This page contains all entries posted to As Far As You Know in February 2010. They are listed from oldest to newest.

January 2010 is the previous archive.

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