« June 2010 | Main | August 2010 »

July 2010 Archives

July 1, 2010

Serena On Track


Though the Ladies' Singles field has been marked by the early departures of past champions and other supposed contenders--Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, Justine Henin, and Kim Clijsters have all been put out--Serena Williams appears to be the overwhelming favorite to claim her 13th major title this weekend, having advanced to the final today. NBC must be thanking its lucky stars she is still around to lend some star power to the closing stages of the women's event.

A Piece Of Work


On my first unscheduled night in over a week, I headed out to the cinema, where I was the only one in the theater for a screening of Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work, a well-reviewed documentary about a year in the life of the 75-year-old comedienne. This was a pretty engaging profile of someone still driven to command the spotlight after decades in show business.

July 2, 2010

Berdman Tops The Djoker


DIdn't see much of this match at all, but it's disappointing that Novak Djokovic once more was flat on a big occasion. His Australian Open win a couple years back aside, the Serb's career has been marked by letdowns when opportunities have arisen. Djokovic was quietly working his way through the draw, playing awfully good tennis, and in a position to perhaps win a second major title this weekend (especially after Federer was knocked out of the event). No doubt an in-form Tomas Berdych had a lot to do with the result today. But this has to be seen as another huge setback for Nole.

Spaniard Serves Up Stunning Semi


Andy Murray played very well in his Wimbledon semifinal today. But it wasn't good enough to overcome an increasingly impressive Rafael Nadal. The Mallorca native moved incredibly well, blasted forehands all over the court, carved vicious underspin backhands, and countered everything the Scot could throw his way. When on his game, Nadal is a far better player than he was even two years ago: he serves bigger, is more comfortable and effective at net, and has much better tactical variety in his game.

It would have been exciting to see a Brit contend for the title on Sunday, but it now looks likely Rafa will bag an eighth major crown this weekend.

July 3, 2010

On Top Of The Game


No one came close to beating Serena Williams at Wimbledon this fortnight. In winning her 13th major title, she showed the enormity of the gap between herself and the rest of the women's field. No reason to think Serena can't continue winning majors the next few years.

July 4, 2010

The Return Of The King


It wasn't a great final round match. But it was an emphatic statement of Rafael Nadal's position of dominance in the men's game right now. It's as if after his 2009 Australian Open win he disappeared for a year and then picked up right where he left off, owning the European clay court season and then winning titles at Roland Garros and Wimbledon--an amazing feat to with the biggest crowns on red clay and then grass in the space of just a few weeks!

Nadal pretty much has locked up the #1 ranking for the rest of the year with a lead that will only increase if he has a strong summer on the North American hard court circuit. And Rafa really seems keyed in on winning a first U.S. Open title--the only major accomplishment in the game yet to elude him.

Happy 234th America!


Have a happy and safe Independence Day, fellow Americans.

No Holiday For Shoppers

I stopped at the Apple Store at Westfarms Mall on my way to South Windsor this afternoon (I had to see about a minor repair to my MacBook Air). I was surprised the store was even open on Independence Day, as were most stores in the mall. It wasn't crowded there, of course, but I guess commerce does not take a vacation on one of the year's biggest holidays.

Wimbledon Wrap-Up


The final weekend was anticlimactic, I suppose, mostly because this year's Wimbledon Championships was an absolutely wild ride, with plenty of upsets, near upsets, and terrific showdowns. A few quick thoughts:

  • For all the millions of pounds the All-England Club spent on the retractable roof on Centre Court, the tournament did not experience one rain delay in 2010.

  • Who would have expected the Williams sisters and the Bryan brothers to lose the way they did in doubles?

  • We may have seen the last Wimbledon in which Roger Federer entered as a favorite.

  • And the Isner/Mahut marathon is surely one for the ages.

  • Ditto Venus Williams.

  • Though the men's final couldn't hold a candle to the five-set duals of the preceding three years, it was pretty cool seeing how Rafael Nadal dominated by improving his game.

  • Same with Serena Williams and her serving.

Time to decompress now.

July 6, 2010

Serena Scores S.I. Cover This Week


Very nice!

July 5, 2010

Post-Slam Letdown

I always find the first day or two after one of the major tennis tournaments finishes up, there is a void in my daily routine--no need to check the scores or tune in to see televised action. I had gotten used to thinking about the daily match schedule and checking tennis-related blogs and reportage. Now that's all done--at least until the U.S. Open rolls around. I guess it's a mild form of some kind of postpartum-like experience!

July 6, 2010

A Pound Of Flesh


On a hot and humid evening in New York City, I watched the flip side of The Public Theater's summer Shakespeare In The Park repertory offerings: The Merchant Of Venice. Al Pacino's Shylock was the big name here, but the cast--most of whom appeared in The Winter's Tale that I caught last week--was very capable indeed. This was a gripping take on the play, and Pacino made Shylock generally sympathetic without undermining the character's complexity. The "comedy" aspects of the play--principally the relationship between Portia and Bassanio--worked quite well to balance the drama onstage.

July 7, 2010

Magazines Of The Future?


I downloaded this week's issue of Sports Illustrated on the iPad app, just to give it a whirl. Hard to imagine I will do this regularly, since I had to pony up $4.99 for something I am already subscribing to in its traditional format. But it is pretty cool to flip through the electronic edition to see photo galleries (with some pretty stunning photography, which has always been one of this magazine's hallmarks). Not much here in the way of video stuff, though.

They've really got to figure out a better business model. I'd love for subscribers to have access to the digital mag the way The Economist and The New Yorker give print subscribers full access to their Web-based digital content. I could see charging us a nominal fee to read iPad versions of what we get in the mail. But five bucks per issue is not going to generate much traffic.

July 8, 2010

Genius Bar Comes Through Once More


One of the four "feet" on the bottom of my MacBook Air came off. Since the laptop was still under warranty I brought it to the Apple Store thinking one of the Geniuses could replace the little black round plastic piece. Instead, they replaced the entire bottom panel! Probably not the most cost effective solution, but this is another good example of Apple's over-the-top customer service.

July 31, 2010

A Play Of Pageantry


Henry VIII is not performed all that often. This is a shame, because I think it's an underrated work. Scholars disagree as to how much of Shakespeare's hand is in the text. But no matter, it's a sweeping work about Tudor royalty and court intrigue best known for a couple of huge set pieces that offer a chance to display visually sumptuous costumes and sets. The OSF did that in its Elizabethan Theatre in the Ashland production I saw last summer. Shakespeare's Globe did the same tonight here in London. I appreciated the intricacies of plot a lot more the second time around, too.

July 29, 2010



I've been meaning to do this for some time now, but we finally got our act together and had a "Choate Squash" logo with the boar's head silhouette painted on the tins of all ten of our squash courts. Since we host so many national-level events in our facility in addition to a full slate of scholastic matches and tournaments, it seems an appropriate way to promote our program a bit.

July 13, 2010

A Vision In Red


After the school year ended, I ordered T-shirts for my third former advisees, the only group I worked with this past spring that didn't get one of my signature shirts. Each class or team or advisee group gets its own color scheme. These are called "Dragon."

July 24, 2010

The Summer Line


New signature T-shirts unveiled this weekend and distributed to my summer school classes. This one, in blue and orange, is called "Metropolitan."

I Am Love


Entertaining a visiting Choatie this afternoon, we killed time by taking in the Italian language film I Am Love, starring Tilda Swinton. The art house release turned out to be a wonderful surprise. Though it was a bit slow and confusing at the start, this drama about a wealthy Milanese family was beautifully photographed and emotionally engaging.

July 20, 2010



Living in such an exciting town as Wallingford (ha!) it's no surprise that the appearance of a new fast food establishment has created quite a buzz. In this case, it's a bit understandable, because one doesn't find many Sonics in this part of the country and the whole retro "get served in your car" angle is pretty different. So I spent twenty or so minutes waiting in line (in my car, of course) before pulling into one of the berths. Bottom line: the food was hardly worth the wait. I can say I've been there and done that, but no need to hurry back now that the novelty is gone.

July 23, 2010

A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far, Far Away

This brought a smile to my face:


July 9, 2010

Blog Upgrade In Progress


Fiddling around with the "behind the scenes" architecture of this blog, migrating from Movable Type version 4 to version 5.02. This is uncharted territory for me, so wish me luck!

July 10, 2010

Blackfriars Bound


Next weekend was supposed to be a Montreal getaway, centered around a U2 concert Saturday night. But since the tour is postponed until 2011, I canceled my plans to head north and today I decided to go south instead, specifically to Staunton, Virginia, where I will see two plays at the American Shakespeare Center: The Taming Of The Shrew and Othello. Booked both theater and Amtrak tickets this morning.

July 11, 2010

¡Viva España!


Nice to see Spain win its first World Cup title today. The game certainly was dramatic, if it wasn't pretty.

July 12, 2010

I Predict Another Crash . . .


. . . in American interest in the Tour de France now that Lance Armstrong's chances of contending have effectively disintegrated. Too bad that U.S. fans are so fickle when it comes to cycling's showcase event, but without the American star gunning for another win, I don't see the casual sports fan getting too engaged with this race.

July 13, 2010

New Dates


Just got word today that my tickets for the U2 show in Montreal have been pushed back twelve months to July 9, 2011. So I can start making plans for a trip to Canada midsummer next year.

July 30, 2010

Crossing The Atlantic Once More

About to head to Kennedy Airport for a flight to London: my fourth trip to Europe in 2010. The airfare is more or less free, as I cashed in mileage points so I could catch three Shakespeare history plays at the reconstructed Globe Theatre. This will be a bit of a whirlwind tour, as I'll be back stateside Monday morning.

July 31, 2010

In The Shadow Of St. Paul's Dome


I am staying in the City of London proper for the first time since I started frequenting the British capital in 1994. Most of the places Americans think of as "London"--Piccadilly Circus, the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace--are, in fact, located in the City of Westminster. "Greater London" refers to the entire metropolis. But "the City" is the medieval core of the place, defined by just over a square mile on the north side of the Thames. It's pretty much the financial district for modern London.

The most visible landmark in the City is St. Paul's Cathedral, and from my hotel window I can see the front towers and the Dome of the imposing edifice less than a block away. I am also a 10-12 minute walk across the Thames--via theMillennium Bridge--from Shakespeare's Globe, the theater where I will be spending about 9 hours of my stay here this weekend.

La Bête


A bit of West End theater before immersing myself in Shakespeare's history plays the rest of my time in London. The first hour of La Bête was laugh-out-loud funny, mostly because Mark Rylance delivered a virtuoso comic performance, highlighted by a dazzling, uninterrupted delivery that ran nearly half-an-hour at one point. Rylance had very good support from straight men David Hyde Pierce (from Frasier) and Stephen Ouimette (from Slings And Arrows). The entire play is in rhyming couplets, which worked better than I thought. The denouement does fall a bit flat after such a thrilling start, but seeing Rylance as the idiot poser Valere was well worth the price of the ticket. (By the way, this production is Broadway bound after its run here in London.)

July 27, 2010

27" May Be In My Future


Apple upgraded its iMac line today and also released a new 27" monitor for $999 as the top offering in its line of displays. The technological stars may be alignment now for me to set up a multiple monitor workstation for my study at home, with one of the new 27" iMacs paired with the new display. Not before the fall, though.

July 23, 2010

A Female Jason Bourne?


Watched Angelina Jolie in Salt today, figuring I'd keep up with all the supposed "blockbuster" releases. This is another flick in which one can check one's brain at the door before viewing. An entertaining summer action movie: reasonably fun and entirely forgettable. Jolie demonstrated she had the chops to hold her own in this male-dominated genre.

A Brilliant Tennis Documentary

I was never aware of this film until I watched a whole bunch of excerpts from it on YouTube today: a documentary about the 1981 French Open tennis championships with remarkable behind-the-scenes access married to well-shot coverage of on-court action. The clips are riveting. Wish I could find the film on DVD so I could watch it in its entirety. It captures so much of what I remember as the atmophere of the sport some thirty years ago now.

July 22, 2010

A Midsummer Night's Play


No better circumstances under which to see A Midsummer Night's Dream than a comfortable July night on a lawn under the stars! Since one of my colleagues was playing Puck, there were a few other Choate folks in attendance. A fun staging of one of Shakespeare's most endearing and accessible plays.

July 15, 2010

Darth Vader's Shuttle?


Though this looks like something one would find in the hangar on an Imperial Star Destroyer, it's actually a real-life stealth plane the British unveiled for the R.A.F.

July 17, 2010

Othello At The ASC


Othello at its best is hard-hitting stuff and I enjoyed the ASC's take on the tragedy. Good casting, of course, is the key: a deliciously manipulative Iago and a Moorish general who can be both an imposing leader and a gullible jealous husband are essential and the folks at Blackfriars were convincing.

The Taming Of The Shrew At The ASC


I love the approach to Shakespeare that the ASC takes: lightning-quick pacing, judicious cuts to keep the action to roughly two hours of stage time, lots of interaction with the audience, and appropriate injections of humor wherever possible. So this company has turned me around a bit on The Taming Of The Shrew. I've only seen this performed once before--two years ago in Stratford-upon-Avon--and if you asked me before today which of The Bard's plays was my least favorite, this one would be at least in the top three. But today I came to appreciate the work a lot more.

July 16, 2010



I liked the new Christopher Nolan film Inception quite a bit. It's clearly a well-made piece of storytelling, with a clever premise and impressive execution. I appreciated that there was a bit of ambiguity in the ending, too. It's a movie I will need to see again to digest properly; there are not many films I can say that about in this day and age!

Steve Jobs Strikes Back


Apple held a press conference today to diffuse the growing controversy over alleged antenna problems on the new iPhone 4 release. Steve Jobs mounted a pretty compelling defense, I thought, but was clearly peeved at having to do this sort of thing. Damage control is not something Apple wants to spend its time on, but in light of the Consumer Reports decision to not recommend the new phone, Jobs and company had to step up and respond. I think this will put an end to all the hullabaloo.

July 15, 2010

London Assurance


I've become a fan of the NT Live program of high definition theatrical telecasts. Tonight I ventured up to Amherst to see London Assurance, a funny nineteenth-century play showcasing the comic talents of Simon Russell Beale. Good stuff.

July 20, 2010

New Gabriel Allon Novel Arrives Electronically


Lovin' the digital delivery of Daniel Silva's latest release. The Kindle edition of The Rembrandt Affair was on my iPad (and Kindle and Mac) when I woke up, on the same day the print copy hits the bookstores.

July 14, 2010

The Non-Mickey Mouse Sorcerer's Apprentice


I caught a matinee of the new Disney/Bruckheimer take on The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Utter nonsense, of course, but mildly entertaining and visually somewhat interesting.

July 17, 2010

Midnight Train To D.C.

After settling in the Mem House boys, I took a 12:45 a.m. Amtrak train from New Haven's Union Station and arrived in the nation's capital about 7:00 this morning. I got a fair amount of sleep along the way. I now have a rental car and will take my time driving over to the Shenandoah Valley. I'll probably find a place for a short nap along the way!

July 26, 2010

The Kids Are Alright


I've been lucky to catch a couple of very good independent films this summer among the clutter of major studio action flicks. The Kids Are Alright was another such gem, an intimate look at a "non-traditional" California family in transition. Well written, well acted, and well worth a look.

July 18, 2010

A Worthy Richard III


After a twin bill of Shakespeare yesterday, I drove to the Berkshires to join a newly-minted Choate graduate, one of the students in my spring class on The Bard's history plays, to see Richard III, one of the texts we studied. This was a strong production, probably the best of the handful I've seen at Shakespeare And Company. John Douglas Thompson tackled the title role with great energy and in general the cast and director made the most out of limited stage space and production values.

July 19, 2010

Lighter Load This Week

One of my two summer school history classes heads to D.C. this afternoon for the Kennedy Institute Washington session (which I, having done this trip nearly twenty times now, begged off). This means I'll have an extra 80 minutes of class time freed up this week (plus one fewer prep).

July 21, 2010

Construction Update

A couple of big athletics-related projects underway on campus this summer. Most visible is the double-sized artificial turf surface now being installed behind the Johnson Athletic Center. This field complex will significantly enhance our ability to have field sports practice in just about any conditions and also give us first-rate competition venues for field hockey and lacrosse, as well as the capacity to stage night football and soccer games under the lights.

We are also reconstructing all 14 courts at the Hunt Tennis Center and redoing the landscaping, so that will be like a brand new facility this fall.

July 18, 2010

Washington By Night


Driving through the streets of D.C. in the wee hours is starkly different than the capital by daylight. There is little traffic (thankfully!) and the illuminated dome of the U.S. Capitol looms over the city in a magical way.

I am taking the 3:15 a.m. Amtrak back to New Haven this morning. Hopefully that journey will entail mostly sleep! I'll catch about 90 minutes shuteye in my own bed before driving to western Massachusetts for a third Shakespeare performance in two days.

The Village Beautiful


Back in Williamstown, home to my alma mater, for a few hours tonight. Had an enjoyable dinner with the Confortis followed by a visit to the Clark Art Institute's new (to me, anyway) addition, the Stone Hill Center, which provides spectacular views in the gloaming.

July 25, 2010

Reconnecting With Vinny And The Boys


I've waxed and waned in following HBO's Entourage over the years. At times it's been enormously entertaining and very funny. But I've drifted away from it as the familiar situations and generally unlikeable main characters grew tiresome. I unwound the most recent batch of episodes courtesy of HBO On Demand this weekend and this show, while far from its peak, is still better than a lot of the dreck on television now.

July 28, 2010

Winding Down Summer School

Two days from the end for the summer session here at Choate. I taught the last new materlal of the five-week term today. Final exams will be administered tomorrow, and then grading and report writing becomes my focus, and I will be on my way to the airport on Friday at the same time a lot of the kids here will be heading out.

About July 2010

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

June 2010 is the previous archive.

August 2010 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.