The Last Week of January (no way!)

Late night tv’s Craig Ferguson (the former Mr. Wick of the Drew Carey sitcom) passed the citizenship test and is about to become a US citizen. Scotland’s loss, America’s gain?

In the grand tradition of comics, Captain America is coming back from the Dead – or, at least, a new version of him. Apparently, his sidekick’s taking up the mantle of Superhero. That did happen to the Flash, even Batgirl (well, Barbara Gordon didn’t die, but she had a successor), and I think there have been now three Robins for Batman? (certainly one Robin died).

In the grand tradition of America’s unofficial holiday – the Super Bowl – the publicity on the people can be a bit grating, especially more so when this year, the metropolitan area’s getting a little excited over the Giants’ going to the Super Bowl. I liked this sweet story on Eli Manning’s relationship with his mom.

An interesting take on Barack Obama’s traveling in Kansas for the campaign – seems like a nice touch that he’d head to Kansas, as his maternal grandparents were from there.

Alessandra Stanley, NY Times’ tv critic, critiques the State of the Union Address and describes how the timing of it – just as Caroline and Edward Kennedy endorsed Barack Obama – is something of a soap opera/family psychodrama. Her writing made me feel like this whole campaign and coming end of the Bush era are such interesting mid-season tv shows. Which they kind of are. It doesn’t help that the writers’ strike continues and reality tv shows are irritating me.

Tuesday tv – watched most of “House” – which was the Christmas episode that FOX held off airing until Tuesday, 1/29/08, because it’s down to maybe two or three episodes left in the stockpile. I prefer my Christmas episodes during the month of December, and if I have to watch them in, say, any other month, they’re usually treasured reruns. Anyway, it was a pretty decent episode, where Dr. House irritates his new team, Dr. Wilson, and the Patient of the Week – as usual. As Dr. Wilson engages in the Christmas spirit, Dr. House reminds him that (a) he’s Jewish, and (b) he’s not very good in the gift-giving department, since he gave his last wife money for the holidays. Hmm. House also seems to miss his old team of Drs. Foreman, Chase, and Cameron (although, technically, Foreman’s back on the team, even if more of a senior level holding the fellowship).

The story behind the silly security questions for on-line banking; one can only tolerate the “What was your childhood best friend’s dog’s name?” type of question, when (a) maybe you didn’t have a childhood best friend, or (b) if you did have a childhood best friend, he/she didn’t have a dog.

Interesting article on Neal Shapiro, the ex-NBC News president who’s now about to be WNET/Channel 13’s official President, with Bill Baker stepping down to be President Emeritus. More change to Channel 13 appears to be coming; I suppose that was a given ever since Neal Shapiro was on-screen more, rather than the usual spots where Bill Baker came on during pledge time. I’m not entirely comfortable with the Channel 13-specific changes (movie night on Saturdays now has a more independent film feel to it, rather than just the amusing old classics). Plus, Baker had a nice WNET/Channel 13 Leader aura about him – almost like that favorite uncle who comes to bother you to help him and then he gives you nice things to enjoy his company, so he’s not so irritating anyway (kind of how I’ve felt about PBS’ pledge times). Shapiro gives off a very different feel, probably because I know he used to be Broadcast News Executive. But, I guess we ought to reserve judgment on the Shapiro era.

Oh, geez – now I won’t be able to look at a bowl of dip the same way: like the previous dispelling of the 5-second rule (wherein you’d now think twice about eating food that fell on the floor), the idea of dipping (or re-dipping, actually) in the shared bowl of dip may actually be a little worrisome. Maybe.

The NY Times’ Mark “The Minimalist” Bittman on walnut tart (rather than, say, pecan pie). It looks lovely and seems almost easy to make (well, so it appears on video). But… all that butter… it makes me nervous!

The passing of Margaret Truman, the daughter of President Harry Truman, who was a former opera singer, mystery writer, wife of a NY Times editor, mother of four, and former Upper East Side resident.

Uncertain Nostalgia

My landlord has listed the building for sale. While there are many unknowns, such as whether he can fetch the multi-million dollar sum asked for in this economic climate, there is the acute possibility we’ll have to find another place to live in the Spring.

What it is about this place that brings about nostalgia? There are plenty to gripe about the place, from the puny size, the multitude of deluges from the upstairs apartment, the painful walkup when hobbling around with injuries, and the general seediness especially at night. But overall, I have to say it is OK. There is the stone’s throw to work, the intersection with a number of classy neighborhoods, being within one hour of anywhere in the city — either via subway or a nearby Zipcar — and of course generally being safe and generally kept warm or cool.

I would be here ten years come March, and two for P-; this is just one more step toward the next phase of our lives. It’s gonna be all right.


I don’t spend any amount of time in K-Town or Flushing, but I found this article really interesting. Or am I silly for thinking the Times may educate me on Korean-American culture in NYC?

I had a hoot reading this article: NY Times’ Sarah Lyall on Patrick Stewart, as he’s about to do MacBeth in NYC! He’s returning to his beloved Shakespeare, but has a warm spot in his heart for Capt. Picard and the Star Trek universe. Aww!

Also, I loved that the article included the photo of Patrick Stewart as Captain Picard from “Star Trek: First Contact,” in his Action Hero Mode – where you could tell he worked out to make sure we can appreciate Picard as not just a cerebral sort. Don’t forget – Stewart’s only two years older than Harrison Ford, who was still beating people up as an active US President in “Air Force One,” a year after Stewart in “First Contact” (umm, yeah, checked on for that bit of trivia).

Plus, great slide show on Patrick Stewart’s theatrical roles.

Sarah Lyall also reports on What Does It Mean to Be British, as the Brits debate on whether to adopt a national motto and trying to figure out what they are and where do they fit in today’s world. It does take a bit of a debate to wonder what does it mean to be a nation at all these days, when there’s now a Scottish Parliament and the idea of a “Britain” was something that evolved during the course of history (I had taken this British history class back in college; yeah, apparently, things got way complicated, umm, pardon about being flippant there, but a serious analysis could take more than a semester).

NY Times’ Bill Carter writes on whether the writers’ strike will change the way tv series are made – will there be an end to presenting over-done pilots and may The Powers That Be allow series to develop and evolve in a coherent manner? Maybe the strike will give shows like “Dirty Sexy Money” and “Life” a real chance, since their 1st seasons were pretty much pushed to hiatus like this and they were on the ratings bubble (i.e., the edge of being renewed or canceled). Who knows?

Then again, the last serious writers’ strike resulted in some weird episodes of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (written and filmed in a rush because they knew the then-writers’ strike was coming) and the time after the strike led to some of the best episodes – particularly the third and fourth seasons, where the characters evolved and, of course, where Captain Picard was assimilated into Borg and evolved into truly Awesome (or close to it anyway; he became nuts and Action Hero-y Awesome in the big screen movie “Star Trek: First Contact” – as I noted above).

Can’t believe that “Rent” will really close this summer. (great slide show on the Times, by the way).

Time’s Lev Grossman posts on the Time blog, “Nerd World” on the trailer and teaser trailer
of the upcoming “Get Smart” movie (starring Steve Carrell and Anne Hathaway as Agents 86 and 99). Oh, dear – the trailers were funny to me. I laughed out loud. I hope this means the movie’s good and that they didn’t just use the movie’s best moments for trailers. I might even watch it when it comes out this summer. Might!