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August 2010 Archives

August 3, 2010

Blog Back End Woes Fixed


No posts for the past three-and-a-half weeks because I royally screwed up this blog's architecture by trying to upgrade from Movable Type 4 to version 5. I've since learned that most pros recommend avoiding MT5 altogether. But I was too clever by half and thought I could pull off the transition and in the process I basically got locked out of my own blog. The main blog page was still up and running but has been missing its CSS formatting.

I actually think I got pretty close to completing the upgrade, but I just don't have enough experience to know what little thing was off, so I had to pay through the nose to get a pro to fix it. The good news is that I backed up the database that runs the blog before I started playing around "under the hood." This meant someone who knew what he was doing was able to restore the blog pretty quickly.

Anyway, I have entries saved up to post after-the-fact, which I plan to do in the next day or so. In the meantime I still need to tweak the layout and formatting of the blog. I'll probably experiment with a new look for the page as well. Hopefully I won't crash the site again in the process!

August 2, 2010

Priceless Rant

I am a Mary Carillo fan--I once ran a clinic for Special Olympians with her when I worked for the ATP event in New Haven years ago and discovered she is basically a good egg all the way around--and I stumbled across a clip of Mary in rare form during NBC's 2004 Olympic coverage. Enjoy:

August 3, 2010

The RSC's Glorious Summer In New York


In the summer of 2011, the Royal Shakespeare Company will be setting up shop in the Park Avenue Armory as part of the Lincoln Center Festival. The slate of plays to be transplanted from the RSC repertory has just been released: "King Lear" and "Antony and Cleopatra"--the two productions I saw in Stratford-upon-Avon in June--as well as "The Winter's Tale" (which I saw in in Stratford in 2009), "As You Like It," and "Romeo and Juliet." The latter two have garnered favorable reviews, so I will be aiming to snag tickets for these shows.

August 4, 2010

How Some Would Remember 9/11

Click to enlarge:

August 1, 2010

Henry IV Double Header, Part I


What a splendid play Henry VI, Part I is. And what a terrific job the company at Shakespeare's Globe did in bringing this piece of theater to life. With a wonderfully amusing and rascally Falstaff and a mischievous but calculating Prince Hal, the play hit all the right notes, and was equally adept in portraying the fun of the Boar's Head Tavern, the power struggles in King Henry's court, and the climactic battle between Hal and Hotspur.

Henry IV Double Header, Part II


Henry IV, Part II is a darker play than its prequel. The same cast I saw in Part I this afternoon adapted ably to the different material at the heart of tonight's play. While there was still plenty of buffoonery on hand among the denizens of Eastcheap, the resolve of the young prince on his way to becoming Harry the king was in evidence. The scenes between the prince and his dying father worked quite well. It was a treat to see the two parts of this story back-to-back like this. Six hours of theater can be a long time (and a butt-numbing experience!) but I was thoroughly dialed in during tonight's show.

August 5, 2010

In And Out At The DMV

I needed to renew my driver's license before leaving for a two-week vacation, so I arrived at the Hamden DMV office about 7:50 this morning, got into the building at 8, and was out the door with new license in hand by 8:15. Pretty sweet!

August 2, 2010

The Wonder Of The Jet Age

I suppose I am a more experienced traveler than most, but it still boggles my mind that I can have breakfast in London in the morning and enjoy lunch and work in my office here in Wallingford by early afternoon!

August 6, 2010

An Interesting Doubles Pair


As I am getting ready to fly to Toronto tonight, two others heading there--Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, currently ranked #1 and #2 in the world in singles--have announced they are teaming up in the doubles event at the Toronto Masters tourney. This is the first time in thirty-five years the top two players in the rankings have constituted a doubles team on the tour. (The last such tandem was Arthur Ashe and Jimmy Connors--strange bedfellows indeed, given that Connors had sued Ashe and the ATP a year or two before!)

Ready For YYZ


Last week I bought the DVD of the Rush documentary, Beyond The Lighted Stage and enjoyed it. Now that I have familiarized myself with the history of the city's best-known musical product. I am ready to head to Toronto.

BDL's Terminal B Offline

I had missed the news that Terminal B at Bradley Airport was being mothballed. All airlines leave from the expanded and much more modern Terminal A now and Terminal B (which I never cared for all that much) is slated for demolition.

The True North Strong And Free


The flight from Bradley to Toronto took nearly two hours because we were on board a turbo prop propeller plane rather than a jet, but it left plenty of time to read and watch some video on the iPad. I have just rented a car and will spend the night in Guelph, about halfway between the airport and my weekend destination of Stratford.

August 7, 2010

In The Forest Of Arden


The As You Like It I saw this afternoon was an engaging production, one that made me appreciate this play--one of my favorite Shakespearean comedies--in new ways. The previous stagings I had seen (at the Globe in 2009 and he Bridge Company at the Brooklyn Academy of Music last winter) were also quite good. It may speak to the strength of the play itself that a decent company might have to work hard to screw up this work!

Returning To The Stratford Festival


This is my second visit to the Stratford Festival, a annual season of theater--mostly, but not entirely, Shakespeare works--in Ontario. My weekend here starts with a "table talk" lecture in conjunction with lunch at the Festival Theater. Then I will see two of my favorite Shakespeare plays, As You Like It this afternoon, followed by The Tempest tonight.

Rough Magic


Christopher Plummer showed why his reputation is anchoring this summer's slate of offerings at the Stratford Festival by turning in a terrific performance as Prospero in The Tempest. At the age of 80, he was a commanding lead in this generally strong take on one of Shakespeare's last works. The modern indoor space at the Destival Theater gave this production the opportunity to do a lot more with effects to emphasize the magical qualities in the story: a hydraulic stage, extensive use of the trapdoor, dropping Ariel in from the ceiling, and top-notch lighting and sound design all added to the supernatural ambience.

August 8, 2010



Evita was a show I have never seen before. I was vaguely familiar with some of the songs, mostly from commercials for the original Broadway run years ago. It was good, not great. The Andrew Lloyd Weber rock opera score gets tiresome, for one thing. I did come away from the theater more interested in learning about the PerĂ³ns and Che Guevara, though.

Seen In The Toronto Subway


Looking forward to seeing all the top names in men's tennis in town here this week. I'll be out at the tournament site tomorrow and Tuesday.

August 9, 2010

Tennis In Toronto


Although the tennis tour has been in full swing since Wimbledon ended, this week represents the first time all the top stars in the game are back in action, as the Toronto tournament is a Masters 1000 level event. In the last seven years this stop on the circuit has been won by Andy Roddick, Roger Federer (twice), Rafa Nadal (twice), Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray. And all five are in action here this week. Unfortunately today's schedule was trashed by intermittent rain. I got to spend some time out at the site, though, and saw some play.

August 10, 2010

Day Two At The Rogers Cup


Yesterday was rainy and today was sweltering out at the Rogers Cup venue. And if the spectators were roasting, it had to be very tough conditions for the players on court.

I always wanted to attend this tournament--which always used to be called the Canadian Open--since the days I watched it on television as a kid (a Borg/Lendl final is promient in my memory). What I miss is the red trim that used to adorn the court. (Just like the Queens Club tourney, red has been abandoned in favor of blue.)

Now that I've seen this tourney staged in both Montreal and Toronto, I figure I have hit all the sites of all the major North American tennis tournaments--most of them multiple times. I came up with a list of pro events I have seen in person:

  • U.S. Open [Grand Slam]--many times

  • Stratton Mountain/New Haven [ATP/WTA] (currently the Pilot Pen)--many times, since I used to work for the tournament

  • Key Biscayne Masters [ATP/WTA] (currently the Sony Ericsson Open)--half-dozen or so times

  • Indian Wells Masters [ATP/WTA] (currently the BNP Paribas Open)--half-dozen or so times

  • MontrĂ©al/Toronto Masters [ATP/WTA] (currently the Rogers Cup--once at each site

  • Cincinnati Masters [ATP/WTA] (currently the Western and Southern Financial Group Masters)--once

  • Newport [ATP]--a couple times

  • Boston (Longwood) [ATP]--a couple times

  • Delray Beach [ATP]--once

  • Stanford [WTA]--once

I've also attended Davis Cup ties in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

and outside North America I have been to:

  • Wimbledon [Grand Slam]--at least a half-dozen times

  • Australian Open [Grand Slam]--twice

  • Roland Garros (French Open) [Grand Slam]--once

  • Sydney [ATP/WTA]--twice

  • Melbourne (Kooyong Club) men's exhibition--twice

  • Queens Club, London [ATP]--once

So what's left on my "someday" list?

  • Monte Carlo

  • Rome

  • ATP Finals (currently in London)

Transcontinental Train Trek


Off I go! Vancouver or bust.

August 9, 2010

Knight And Day


I had my pick of movies tonight at the 24-screen multiplex across from the Eaton Centre shopping mall in downtown Toronto. The one that fit my schedule the best was not my first choice: Knight And Day, with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. But folks who saw this when it came out in the States a few weeks back all said the same thing: it's not as bad as you'd think. Though such a comment may be damning the film with faint praise, after seeing it, I know exactly what they meant. While this movie had been pummeled by critics, it was fun in that mindless sort of summer blockbuster way.

August 11, 2010

Can The Senate Be Fixed?


Being on a train for four nights is giving me a great opportunity to unwind and catch up on my reading. George Packer's article about the "broken" Senate in last week's issue of The New Yorker is a fascinating read: a "don't miss" piece for anyone interested in American politics and government. I'll have to find a way to work this into my American Political Institutions course this fall.

August 12, 2010

On The Canadian Prairie

Had the chance to get off the train and wander around Winnipeg for a few hours. Good to stretch a bit, but not much to see here, frankly! The station's WiFi did give me the chance to get caught up on the news of the world, however.

A Close Call

Just as we were about to pull out of Winnipeg, I realized I had left my Kindle back in the station's waiting room and I panicked, realizing the likelihood of me getting back to the station and locating the device before the train departed was slim. Fortunately, when I (in a frenzied state) asked the porter, she assured me someone had found it, brought it aboard the train, and she would deliver it to me in a few minutes. Whew!

A Day Hurtling Through The Prairie

We are in Saskatchewan now. Meals have been very good aboard The Canadian. I have shared a table in the dining car with folks from Germany, Austria, England, Newfoundland, Ontario, Alberta, Chicago, and Washington, DC thus far in the trip. An interesting mix of people!


Meanwhile back in my cabin, I've been watching Rubicon, the new series airing on AMC. Saw the first two installments on iTunes and it looks promising, though it's a bit slow so far.

At The Summit


Forbes has assembled a special report: "America's Best Colleges" and ranked Williams #1 among all universities and colleges in the country. Princeton was ranked #2 and some college called Amherst was #3. Nice!

August 13, 2010

Long Days

I am picking up an extra hour in the day on each of the last three nights on the train due to the gradual movement from Eastern to Pacific Time Zones. This has added to the leisurely feel of taking the train across the continent.

Rocky Mountain High


In the last hour or so of westward travel, it became clear we had left the prairie and arrived in the Rocky Mountains! We have a short stop in Jasper, a charming mountain town just east of the British Columbia border. Scenery around here is spectacular!

August 14, 2010

Arriving In Vancouver


The train pulled into Vancouver this morning right on schedule. After an hour's leisurely amble through the city from the train station to my hotel, I am settled into a room on high floor (thanks for the upgrade!) with great views of the city and the water.

August 16, 2010

U.S. News Agrees With Forbes


Once again, a certain college located in Williamstown, Massachusetts sits atop the list in the annual U.S. News & World Report college rankings. This is the second such kudo for Williams in a week, following the Forbes ranking list (which was different in that it lumped research universities and liberal arts colleges in the same category) that also had Williams at #1. Not that I put much stock in these rankings, but still it's nice . . .

August 15, 2010

A Sunny Day In Vancouver


Spent a glorious summer's day walking around much of the city of Vancouver. The sheer physical beauty of the place is stunning. Like Sydney, Cape Town, and San Francisco, there are spectacular vistas over the water and they are often framed--as in the latter two cities--against a backdrop of impressive mountains. Moreover the people here are friendly, the politics progressive, and the scope of the place very manageable.

Not So Sleepless In Seattle


Back in the States after nine days in "America's hat" (a.k.a. Canada). My 5:45 train from Vancouver to Seattle was converted into a bus trip--at least for the first part of it, as there was a drawbridge out just north of the border. So about 180 of us traveled by bus to the border station, where we were processed by the Homeland Security folks, and then to the Amtrak station in Bellingham, Washington, which is a beautiful little town from whence the ferries to Alaska depart. The Cascades is a terrific train, with tremendous views of the coastline and a pretty cool dining car (check out the ceiling mural--a map with illuminated lights).


Additional delays on the train meant that we arrived in Seattle about 75 minutes behind schedule. No worries, as the station was just a few blocks walk to my hotel in the Pioneer Square district. Feeling fairly exhausted from a day touring Vancouver, I am ready to hit the sack.

August 16, 2010

Urban Hiking In Seattle


For the second day in a row, I toured a city mostly on foot. (An especially good workout today, since Seattle is far hillier than Vancouver.) I did some touristy things, such as going to the Space Needle's observation deck--it was a cloudless day, so the views were very nice. This is another great town.

Such Idiocy . . .

. . . about the proposed Islamic community center near the World Trade Center site.

via Reddit:

[Rush] Limbaugh sarcastically suggests that we build a Hindu temple next to Pearl Harbor and a mosque next to the Pentagon . . . without realizing that Shinto, not Hinduism, is the most common religion in Japan, and there is already a mosque inside the Pentagon and a Shinto temple next to Pearl Harbor.

Meanwhile, in a moronic analogy that is wrong on so many levels, Newt Gingrich equates American Muslims with Nazis (via Media Matters):

Seriously, where do we get these guys?

August 25, 2010

Fox News: Stupid Or Evil?

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Parent Company Trap
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

August 17, 2010

Light Rail


I am becoming a fan of light rail. I used the new system built for the Winter Olympics while in Vancouver over the weekend and I took SoundTransit from my hotel to the Seattle airport this morning. It's cheap, reliable, and efficient transportation. The trains share an underground tunnel with Seattle buses downtown and then work their way through the southern parts of the metropolis at ground and elevated levels before terminating at the airport.

Returning To Ashland


I am back in southern Oregon for the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland for a third straight summer. I will see five plays here this week before flying home early Friday morning. Ashland is a beautiful town nestled into the hills and boasting world-class theatrical offerings.

A Most Impressive Prince Of Denmark


Hamlet was presented as a matinee offering at the OSF today. The production was first-rate (though perhaps I would quibble with the choice of rappers presenting "The Mousetrap" play-within-a-play) and Dan Donohue's work in the lead role was positively stunning. This was as good a portrayal of the Danish prince as I've seen. Full stop. I expected good things from Donohue, have seen his excellent Iago in 2008's Othello in the OSF's Elizabethan Theatre, but was unprepared for just how masterful his Hamlet would be. Ample support from a strong Polonius and a very good Ophelia, too.

August 23, 2010

Thank You HBO On Demand


Comcast's HBO On Demand made it easy to get caught up on this season's True Blood. I missed the last few episodes but am now up to date.

August 24, 2010

Twelve Hours On The Road

I left Wallingford at 9 a.m. with members of the boys' soccer team loaded into one of the school's mid-buses. After a journey to Casco, Maine, and back, I hit campus at just about 9 p.m. on the button. Like Sunday's trip, I faced a lot of rain on the return voyage (though the traffic was much better).

August 22, 2010

A Long Slog

I drove a handful of kids from my cross country team to New Hampshire today for running camp. I didn't expect to get caught in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the way back, however. It seems like everyone in the Northeast was driving from New Hampshire to Connecticut on an early Sunday evening. And the constant precipitation didn't make the experience any more palatable.

August 25, 2010

Time For New Apple Goodies Once More


Apple has announced a media event slated for next week on September 1. The guitar on the invitation suggests a music-themed presentation, probably involving a new iPod Touch (with FaceTime, presumably). The rumor mill suggests we may get 99-cent television show rentals as well and an updated approach to AppleTV.

August 17, 2010

Prince Hal And Falstaff


Henry IV Part 1 is one of the Shakespeare plays I know best. Having seen a production in London just a few weeks ago with the best Falstaff I have yet seen, I was ready to be disappointed with this show, but there were some very strong elements in it worthy of praise, especially in the form of a compelling performance in the Hotspur role. Not everything the OSF stages is necessarily a triumph, but I have yet to see anything bad here.

August 18, 2010

Macbeth Via Kurosawa


The OSF's Throne Of Blood is a staged adaptation of the Kurosawa film which was loosely fashioned from the story of Macbeth. This tale of murder and mayhem was set in samurai culture and was a very effective piece of theater. The costumes were particularly stunning. Like "that Scottish play" this production was short (about 1 hour, 40 minutes with no intermission) but powerful.



Tonight was my second Merchant Of Venice of the summer and this one did not disappoint. Though I've seen better Bassanios, the OSF's Shylock was first-rate. Lots of good energy and appropriate pathos assembled in this production.

August 19, 2010

A Sublime Comedy


If one is going to see a Shakespearean comedy under the summertime night sky, Twelfth Night (like A Midsummer Night's Dream) has to be at the top of the list. This was a particularly funning evening of theater and made good use of the material with some inventive staging and production values.

August 21, 2010

High In Hartford


As if I haven't seen enough theater the past couple of weeks, I just caught a TheaterWorks Hartford matinee production of a new play, High, starring Kathleen Turner. This work was favorably reviewed in The New York Times and while it was flawed, was provocative and entertaining.

August 20, 2010

Hustling Through Denver's Airport

I had a 6 a.m. flight out of Medford, Oregon this morning and just arrived in Denver. My connecting gate here was about as far as it could have been from where I deplaned in the huge B Terminal in this airport, so there wasn't much time to relax before boarding, though I did grab a quick bite to eat--my first of the day--while making my way from gate to gate.

Almost Home

Got to Charlotte and once again have a tight time frame before I have to board another plane for the final leg of my journey. I'll be back in Connecticut in just a couple hours!

August 26, 2010

Cringe-Worthy Indeed!


The stars have aligned. Ricky Gervais is making an appearance in the next season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Should be priceless to see him and Larry David sharing the small screen.

August 18, 2010

Today's Cincy Line-Up

The matches on tap for today in the Cincinnati Masters event feature all of the top players in the world: Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, Murray etc.

This reminds me of my first visit to the Stratton Mountain ATP event in 1986, when I saw all the headliners play in sequence on the stadium court: Ivan Lendl, Boris Becker, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe (against his doubles partner Peter Fleming), and then top-tenner Tim Mayotte against an unknown 16-year-old named Andre Agassi. Hearing the name, I expected some Swiss journeyman to show up on court. When he was introduced as a teenaged Las Vegan training at Bollettiieri's, I thought he would be cannon fodder for Mayotte. But that match turned out to be Agassi's breakthrough win and the tournament was his breakthrough event (he lost to McEnroe a couple rounds later but was on everyone's radar as a future star at that point).

August 19, 2010

Another Argument For MobileMe


I use Apple's Notes program extensively, especially in a mobile capacity on the iPad and iPhone. But syncing my notes was always dependent on physically connecting to my home iMac via iTunes. Until now. I moved all my notes files--which generally are associated with a specific e-mail account, it turns out--to MobileMe, so each iOS 4 device can be synced wirelessly with the cloud. Works brilliantly with the iPhone already and it should when the iPad gets the updated operating system this fall.

August 27, 2010

A Sad Day

I attended the funeral of a faculty colleague today in the school chapel--understandably a very sad occasion. The silver lining was the chance to reconnect with former students who came back to campus to pay their respects. It's touching to belong to a community like this where the ties that bind are often so strong.

State Of Maine


I am scheduled to pick up members of our boys' soccer team tomorrow morning, so for my second trip to Maine this week, I elected to break up the driving over two days. I stopped at the cross country camp in New Hampshire to check on my guys along the way. In fact, I went the long way, going due north on I-91 to Brattleboro, and then traveling to Concord over Route 9 through Keene. Then I bushwhacked it over backroads from the cross country camp in the Granite State to the Sebago Lake area here in Maine. I will sleep well tonight!

August 28, 2010

Travel No More?

Well for the time being, anyway, I feel like I am done with travel after two weeks on the road for vacation, and then four days behind the wheel this week transporting our student-athletes. Happy to spend some nights in my own bed for a change! Of course, the fall term doesn't enable me to do much more than school stuff anyway.

August 29, 2010

Summer's End

No denying it now. Summer is over. Tomorrow I will spend at the U.S. Open, but after that new faculty orientation kicks in and the first wave of student-athletes arrive. So by Tuesday, I will be in full work mode once more. I plan to come up for air in late November.

August 30, 2010

Open Season Begins


I spent a good day at the U.S. Open as the event got underway in New York, spending some quality time with some Choate folks and enjoying matches from a spectacular courtside vantage point. We were right next to the action on Ashe Stadium as Andy Roddick celebrated his birthday with a decisive win.

I always enjoy heading to the tournament in the first few days, for my ability to follow the tennis is intermittent at best, as the demands of opening school seem to dominate my days this time of year.

August 31, 2010

Textbook Case Of Irony


Jonathan Franzen's highly anticipated (and well reviewed) new novel, Freedom, arrived in the mail this morning, the very day when school is getting underway, virtually guaranteeing I will have precious little time to get to the book anytime soon!

Filter Failure

A fascinating presentation on the phenomenon we perceive as "information overload."

About August 2010

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

July 2010 is the previous archive.

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