Observance in October

Biographer Edmund Morris, known for his unusual biography of Ronald Reagan and work on Theodore Roosevelt, with a NY Times op-ed presenting an imaginary interview with a 150-year old TR himself. Rather quirky in Morris fashion, but poignant, considering how the Republicans of today sure ain’t the party of Lincoln or Roosevelt:

Q. What’s your impression of President Bush these days?

[Teddy Roosevelt] A. (suddenly serious) He looks like Judas, but unlike that gentleman has no capacity for remorse.

Q. Is that the best you can say of him?

A. I wish him well, but I wish him well at a good distance from me.

Q. One last question, Colonel. If you were campaigning now, would you still call yourself a Republican?

A. (after a long pause) No.

This is pretty heart-breaking – the piece-by-piece end of Shea Stadium.

Removal of the remainders of the old Hudson & Manhattan Railroad from the World Trade Center’s slurry wall.

The passing of writer Tony Hillerman, best known for writing the novels of Native American detectives Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee.

Nearing October’s End

I’m Ba-ack! (to paraphrase the creepy kid from the “Poltergeist” movies). Life caught up on me (or at least the fact that National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is coming in November; I’ve been outlining, character sketching, and other elements of novel planning – which is all still in progress). So, let me sweep some dust around here and on to some STUFF.

Recently had brunch at Miriam, at its Park Slope location.

Friday: dinner at Cafetasia, near NYU. Good Thai and other Asian food. Plus cookies at Insomnia Cookies near NYU (if only we had this when I was at Alma Mater; mmm, warm cookies!).

Saturday: hanging out with friends in NJ; dinner at Old Man Rafferty’s in Hillsborough, NJ; great variety of food.

Happy (belated) Birthday, Paddington Bear! As the NY Daily News reported, he turns 50; I read so much of the Paddington books when I was a kid.

“Number 6!” … The NY Times’ Thomas Vinciguerra on the release of the 40th Anniversary DVD package of “The Prisoner.” Ah, why, I remember watching “The Prisoner” episodes on PBS some years ago, and thinking it didn’t make that much sense to me, but watching it made a bunch of “Simpsons” episodes perfect sense in hindsight. Weird show, but… on DVD! Just in time for Xmas!

Entertainment Weekly had a cover story on the new Star Trek movie, pushed for next year (boo! hiss! Star Trek’s never been a summer franchise…). Fascinating article, but I don’t know whether to be scared or excited, or both. The photos look great, but that’s not quite enough! The sidebar article on the inspirations for the movie (with the plot still not totally revealed) – that was cool too (wow, the book “Best Destiny” (Amazon link to the Kindle version, which is out) as one of the plot sources? Cool!). Oh, well; wait and see…

NY Times talking to author Henry Chang, formerly of Mott Street. When I had read the book “Chinatown Beat,” I had a feeling it was going to be a series; turns out to be exactly the case. Author Chang really did a nice job with the flavor of tension of NYC and culture and generational clashes; looking forward to see what he does with his next book.

Some fascinating Election season stuff:

From the NY Times: What it means to be a “maverick” — for one thing, it means understanding that the Maverick family were a bunch of progressive liberals from Texas.

Too funny (and you don’t have to be a Baby Boomer to enjoy; you just have to be someone who watched massive amounts of tv – and certainly at least “Happy Days”!): Ron Howard as “Opie” and “Richie” joins forces with Andy Griffith and “Fonzie” (Henry Winkler) to tell us to vote and make the right decision. As Fonzie would say, “Ayyy!”

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Mid October Eh

The Presidential debate this past Wednesday night… hmm. I missed the first five minutes and felt pretty lost and then decided that I probably didn’t miss anything in between my late dinner and trying to watch the tv. I mean, really – Joe the Plumber? I don’t know if he made it on Saturday Night Live. Joe the Plumber, Joe Sixpack… am I missing anyone else?

But, I did like the roundtable format. It did get the candidates talking a heck of a lot. I don’t have much of an opinion on Bob Shieffer. He was ok, but I think he could have been just a little more tougher on the candidates. Then again, of all the debates, I liked Jim Lehrer best. He was sooo hopped up on caffeine – energy! You need to have energy to be a moderator!

What would have been cool was if the candidates had been on Charlie Rose’s roundtable. They’d talk endlessly; Charlie would wave at them to stop and let him talk endlessly, and then he’d have to tell his panel to chime in… it’d be kind of hilarious (he’d throw it to Al Hunt from Bloomberg; Mark Halperin of Time; and, of course, Doris Kearns Goodwin in Boston…).

10/16/08: John McCain finally got on David Letterman’s show, after about two weeks of Letterman’s amusing riffs over McCain’s skipping out on him. It was kind of funny, sort of. The priceless part was where, after all that stuff about whether Barack Obama’s associations should be questioned, Letterman of all people brought up the dubious associations of McCain; “Say, weren’t you friends with G. Gordon Liddy?” … I laughed; plus, there was a “plumber” connection too – I’m pretty sure that Liddy was one of the so-called “plumbers” of the Watergate debacle (at least I confirmed it wit a check in the linked Wikipedia article on Liddy). Time’s James Poniewozik had a pretty positive review of the McCain-Letterman interview.

The Stumper on Newsweek.com led me to this really fascinating Wall Street Journal article about another McCain family – a black family that descended from the slaves owned by John McCain’s ancestors. It seemed really interesting that the two McCain families have arrived at some kind of reconciliation, even if politics are a bit different.

Fascinating Wall Street Journal piece about Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.”

Detroit Pistons’ Joe Dumars (ex-star player; now big-wig exec for the team) finally earned his Bachelor’s Degree. Some 20 years late, but he did it; kudos! Maybe he can inspire more professional athletes, retired or otherwise, to do the same. Heck, even Shaquille O’Neal got his degree late; better that than never.

Neel Kashkari is a son of Kashmiri immigrants, ex-engineer, and now the man in the Treasury Dept. to deal with the $700 billion “rescue” program (formerly known as the so-called “bailout” plan). An Asian in the news, with a job I doubt many would envy having.

And since times are tough, maybe living in the mall (literally) isn’t such a bad idea.