July 2007


Ingmar Bergman, Famed Director, Dies at 89 – New York Times

On my first date with the man that I would later marry, he took me to see Persona and another film that I can’t remember but it was equally depressing. I remember wondering if my date was clinically depressed. Fortunately, he wasn’t.

I was a bit intimidated by Bergman after that but later we went to see Fanny and Alexander and I loved it. It also helped that I knew my guy better and had met his Swedish-born mother by then so I was more knowledgable of the Swedish sensibility.

For an intro to Bergman, I recommend Fanny and Alexander, Wild Strawberries or The Magic Flute. After those, then try Persona or Seventh Seal.

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Newseum | Today’s Front Pages | The Burlington Free Press

This is a fun site where you can look up today’s front page from 526 newspapers in 48 countries. It changes daily and you can link to the specific paper’s website, too. It’s interesting to pan through a few pages to see what’s the top story in that region.

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Home for the Holiday

One Woman’s Idea Of a Well-Spent Vacation

Home for the Holiday – washingtonpost.com

Just before her vacation last year, Joye Marino hired a housecleaning service to wash all her windows, scrub and wax the floors, dust the baseboards and woodwork and polish the furniture. She had her car detailed inside and out, and paid a couple of neighborhood kids to pull weeds, mow the lawn and mulch the flower beds outside her Baltimore bungalow.

Then she settled in for a week at home.

This is my idea of the best vacation – not going anywhere. To be able to stay home and already have the chores completed and just enjoy my house would be heaven. It’s worth the money you spend for others to do the work. Unlike paying for airfares and hotels, you still get to enjoy the results after the vacation ends.

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The Guys Who Go With the ‘D’oh!’ – washingtonpost.com

Here is a fun article from today’s Washington Post talking about the Simpsons.

On the campaign trail in 1992, George H.W. Bush promised voters that if he were reelected president, “we’re going to strengthen the American family to make it more like the Waltons and less like the Simpsons.”

The Simpsons won. Good night, John Boy.

“When Bush said he wanted us to be the Waltons, we thought, what? He wants us to be poor and sleep in the same bed?” This is Al Jean, one of the founding writers for “The Simpsons,” which has been a pop culture trademark for 18 years and 400 episodes on the Fox network.

“We also wondered, why the Waltons? Weren’t they, you know, set in the Depression?” This is David Silverman, one of the original animators for the show and now director of “The Simpsons Movie,” opening nationwide on Friday.

It’s a fun article with info about the early Simpson development on the Tracy Ullman show and some teaser info on the movie. Give it a read.

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Arts & Living: Hogwarts Hub – The source for all things ‘Harry Potter.’ (washingtonpost.com)

Yes, I’m one of those people. What can I say, it’s a good yarn and I want to know the end. I reserved a copy at Borders but while I was at Target this morning, there it was for $17.88 and no lines, either.

I’m already a third of the way through (it’s a quick read) and I think I will probably finish it this weekend. Don’t tell me the ending!

I am amazed that this was the front story of the Washington Post this morning.

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Sumigirl gets a mention and a link! No wonder my hit counts started going up!

Ryan Shaw’s website

Well, I doubt if it helps him that little Sumigirl is a fan but I’m happy to oblige. So all you readers – go buy Ryan’s CD – NOW!

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iWon News – `Hairspray’ Returns to Baltimore

The original Hairspray (1988) is one of my favorite movies and not because it stars a lovely fat girl (Rikki Lake) or because it takes place and is filmed in my hometown of Baltimore. It was released when I was living in Brussels and really missing home. To hear all the great Baltimore accents and see all the locations was wonderful for a homesick American.

I’m sure John Travolta makes a great Edna Turnblad, but Divine was the thing! No one will replace Divine in my estimation. Big hearted and big bosomed, worn but warm, Divine’s Edna is a great mom.

Will I go see the new Hairspray? Probably. But I know it was filmed in Toronto and I bet very few of the actors will do that accent.

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Wired News – AP News – System Relies on Ice to Chill Buildings

It also cuts down on pollution. An ice-cooling system in the Credit Suisse offices at the historic Metropolitan Life tower in Manhattan is as good for the environment as taking 223 cars off the streets or planting 1.9 million acres of trees to absorb the carbon dioxide caused by electrical usage for one year.

Such a reduction in pollution is valuable in a city where the majority of emissions come from the operation of buildings. State officials say there are at least 3,000 ice-cooling systems worldwide.

“It is worth it to do in New York City,” said William Beck, the head of critical engineering systems for Credit Suisse. “If you take the time to look, you can find innovative ways to be energy efficient, be environmental and sustainable.”

Because electricity is needed to make the ice, water is frozen in large silver tanks at night when power demands are low. The cool air emanating from the ice blocks is then piped throughout the building more or less like traditional air conditioning. At night the water is frozen again and the cycle repeats.

Ice storage can be used as the sole cooling system, or it can be combined with traditional systems to help ease the power demands during peak hours. At Credit  Suisse, for example, the company must cool 1.9 million square feet of office space at the Met Life tower, a historic building that was New York’s tallest in the days before the Empire State Building.

Read the entire article for all the info. It’s fascinating.

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BBC NEWS | Europe | Paris readies for Velib frenzy

Saw this spot on the BBC World news last night. What a great idea – hope it makes it across the pond.

“We’ve set things up so that the same card can be used for public transport and for Velib. You can set up a subscription for just one day or for a whole week and the subscription fee is minimal – one euro ($1.38; £0.68) to anyone who wants a one-off go or 29 euros ($40; £20) for a year’s subscription.”

The Velib scheme is aimed at people who are making short journeys.

The first half hour of pedalling time is absolutely free but, if you fail to return the bike after 30 minutes, you get charged an extra euro and the penalties go up the later you are.

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Would-Be Robber Stays for Wine, Hugs

Would-Be Robber Stays for Wine, Hugs – washingtonpost.com

Police on Capitol Hill are baffled by an attempted robbery that began with a handgun put to the head of a 14-year-old girl and ended in a group hug.

It started around midnight on June 16 when a group of friends was finishing dinner on the patio of a District of Columbia home, authorities and witnesses said. That’s when a hooded man slid
through an open gate and pointed a handgun at the girl’s head.

“Give me your money, or I’ll start shooting,” he said, the witnesses told The Washington Post.

Everyone froze, they said, but then one guest spoke up.

“We were just finishing dinner,” Cristina Rowan, 43, told the man. “Why don’t you have a glass of wine with us?”

The intruder had a sip of their Chateau Malescot St-Exupery and said, “Damn, that’s good wine.”

The girl’s father, Michael Rabdau, 51, told him to take the whole glass, and Rowan offered him the bottle. The would-be robber, with his hood down, took another sip and a bite of Camembert cheese and put the gun in his sweatpants.

Then the story got even more bizarre.

The man with the gun apologized, the witnesses told the Post.

“I think I may have come to the wrong house,” he said. “Can I get a hug?”

Rowan stood up and wrapped her arms around the man and the four other guests followed.

The man walked away a few moments later with the crystal wine glass in hand. No one was hurt, but once he was gone, the group went inside, locked the door and called 911.

Police said Friday that the case was strange but true. Investigators have not located a suspect.

“We’ve had robbers that apologize and stuff, but nothing where they sit down and drink wine,” Cmdr. Diane Groomes said. “The only good thing is they would be able to identify him because they hugged them.”

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