Cold stuff to note:
– Today’s NY Daily News had a cute cover page – a picture of two Central Park Zoo polar bears, the only ones who love the arctic air. They must be enjoying temperatures, their natural habitat’s climate. Must be Mother Nature’s way of consoling the polar bears after the lousy hot summers (which they proabably hated like crazy, particularly when it hits the 100 degree mark or the high heat index feeling).
– Last night’s Channel 11 (WPIX) local 10pm news’ portrayal of the Big Freeze was a little bizarre – roving reporter Marvin Scott (a longtime veteran, mind you, after more than 30 years) was wearing a tiny hat atop of his head, clearly not giving him much warmth, and his face was turning frigid red. Another reporter on another channel had her jacket unzipped, as if we needed to see the color of her blouse. Bundle up, ladies and gentlemen, especially when you’re warning the rest of us to do that! Reporters who looked most warm were found on WNBC (Channel 4) 11pm news – they looked zipped up, with knitted hats and gloves. Good for them.
Last night’s “Threat Matrix” – I caught mostly of the episode (but not really paying all that much attention, using the tv as background noise and still finding the show a little wanting because the writing and acting needs to be tighter). I checked it out, because ABC apparently promoted it in the tv guides as the episode where a cast member would die. They weren’t kidding either, and the episode ended up being stronger for it (I mean, really, it makes a series more interesting when you have the suspense of wondering who’ll be on for the whole season (ex’s., “MI-5” and “Alias” (but almost no one dies in “Alias” anyway)). Although the episode was mostly strong, the “Threat Matrix” lead character, Kilmer, wasn’t too convincing playing angsty, I thought. He meant well, I guess.
Asians on tv – North Koreans are the Team Threat Matrix’s enemy – well, maybe they’re the enemy; when the North Korean diplomat secretly needs the team’s help to rescue his secret illegitimate daughter, not everyone’s an enemy. Then there’s a Korean-American DEA agent helps Team Threat Matrix; but, Kilmer’s disapproving of the DEA’s tactics. Hmm. But, the two then learn that teamwork is good. Okay. There was also a nice touch to educate the viewers: Character A – “I didn’t know Koreans celebrate Chinese New Year.” Paraphrasing Kilmer: “Yeah, Koreans celebrate Chinese New Year; but they call it ‘Lunar New Year.'” Thumbs up, particularly for timeliness.
PBS’s “Now with Bill Moyers” had a nice story tonight – about the Earth Conservation Corps in Washington, D.C., which recruits inner-city young people of southeast D.C. to preserve the Anacostia River (the not-so nice side of D.C., with the worst murder rate in the country). The Corps experience gives hope to the young people – opportunities they never thought about before the Corps: that they can appreciate the once-natural beauty of the region as a part of their heritage, before industry and urban sewage wrecked it; that the participants of the Corps could consider areas of marine biology, environmentalism, and maybe even work in related-government agencies like the National Park Service or others; and that maybe there’s reform, in the hope of so much stacked against them. It is a story that doesn’t get seen in the news very often; there’s hopefulness, in bringing a community to appreciate an environment that could be forgotten as polluted and dead.
Carole Mosley Braun’s withdrawal from the 2004 presidential election had some grace. I think she came out of this better than I thought, even if she fell short of goals and has financial debt. She did well in the debates, and showed that people of color and women can’t be ignored.
Clyde Haberman’s column in the NY Times observes how the politicians’ rhetorical abilities – the talents for eloquence – are in decline. No one makes Gettysburg addresses anymore; as Haberman notes, we’re down to soundbites. But, are soundbites enought to capture our feelings from 9/11//01? As an example, Haberman notes that Rudy Giuliani isn’t exactly a great speaker:
“Mind you, Mr. Giuliani was himself no Churchill as a public speaker, prone as he was to stumble on the verbal debris that litters modern English. A good example came six years ago when he sneered at criticism of his ban on fireworks in Chinatown to celebrate the Lunar New Year. ‘Before we do this, like, cultural thing,’ he said, ‘we have to sort of, like, get real here.'”
Kudos to Haberman for highlighting a timely reference (Lunar New Year is coming, after all) and for Giuliani’s not-so-good moment. But, Haberman appreciates Rudy Giuliani’s soundbite from those early dark September 2001 days, about how the tragedy was, as Giuliani said, “‘more than any of us can bear.”’ Maybe fewer words are the way to go when Americans let images capture our emotion; but Haberman wonders if we’re missing something.
Slate.com’s “Explainer” explains “Why does Iowa Get to Go First?” – very informative.
And, so it goes. When is it going to get warmer? I ought to stop complaining; it’s January, after all.