Happy New Year!!

It’s 2006!

Great year in review, FC!

New Year’s Day – I saw “Memoirs of a Geisha.” I never read the book (or only read parts of it; I haven’t been able to make the full read for whatever reason), so I wasn’t watching the movie to make any comparison. But is it a great movie? Well, I can’t say. Visually fascinating, but the pacing of the plot was a serious slow go: the beginning half could have had more momentum.

Ziyi Zhang (or Zhang Ziyi in China) was okay, but maybe I feel this disappointment because I was uncomfortable with her character, who isn’t the spitfire her past characters have been, rather than due to Zhang’s acting ability. (Like in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” – boy was she something there). Zhang’s English was okay for the movie, and most of the movie was about her and the art of the geisha – but there’s the feeling that had this movie been in Japanese and done with subtitles, it would have been more authentic and fascinating (well, it’s a Hollywood movie, so how much authenticity was I expecting?). Michelle Yeoh was very good, and Ken Watanabe – wow, he could just as well not speak any language and he just packed in emotion and expression so well.

Some interesting stories on-line:

The little rovers that could are still on Mars, chugging along on their mission (to go where no one has gone before… 😉 )…

The assistant US Attorney, who blogged about federal courts (his own jurisdiction) without permission, has left the US Attorney’s office. For my own safety, ummm, yeah, I’ll reserve comment.

Liz Vargas and former corporate attorney Bob Woodruff are about to officially takeover as co-anchors of ABC World News Tonight. Apparently, ABC will make them into roving anchors. Oh, geez, like that’ll be the way to earn viewers in the early 21st century – it’s not about the roving around, it’s about the quality of the reporting, stupid! I, a former ABC News viewer, have all but succumb to NBC News (MSNBC.com’s airing of Nightly News after its airing and Brian Williams’ blogging have been interesting stuff) and PBS Newshour (you can’t beat the in-depth coverage of Jim Lehrer and the gang). I’m not pleased by “Nightline” (although I think Terry Moran has his moments, Cynthia McFadden and Martin Bashir leave so much to be desired – they’re just not Nightline people; they’ve a 20/20 or tabloidy touch to them).

And, I ought to give NBC credit – I had thought the long transition of Tom Brokaw to Brian Williams was silly, but I now realize that it just made things more seamless and less-distressing. ABC should buckle up for a bumpy ride; not that Vargas and Woodruff can’t be anchors – but it will take time to get used to them and gimmicks won’t make it any good. Or maybe I’m prematurely being a doomsayer. But, I only criticize because I think they can do better.

Fascinating food articles in the NY Times this Sunday:

Food and Memory in Kyoto; and the NY Times’ food critic Frank Bruni samples the diversity of cuisine in Capetown, South Africa.

The new year: the expectation of better things to come. I think I’m just renewing last year’s resolutions for this year. But, no matter what, may we all fulfill our resolutions!

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