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Sheldon Brown's Journal

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John Kerry for President
Sheldon Brown photo

November 3, 2004

Grim, grim, grim.

Looks like we're doomed to four more years of wrongheaded, incompetent government. Here's hoping we survive...

Hard to believe the American people are foolish and gullible enough to elect Dubya after his disastrous first term.

November 5, 2004

Got a couple of time travel films from Netflix. Time travel is possibly my favorite sub-genre of science fiction, ever since I first read A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (Was that the first time travel story ever?)

Film: (DVD) Ditto

Two Korean college students communicate via a damaged ham radio...except that he's in 2000, and she's in 1979. '79 was a very eventful year in Korea, with a student revolution that caused the fall of dictatorship and the rise of democracy. The film seemed a bit amateurish, and much of the acting was way over the top.

Film: (DVD) Somewhere in Time

Christopher Reeve goes back to 1912 after he falls in love with a woman in an old photograph. Generally disappointing, not recommended.

November 7, 2004

eBook: Marque and Reprisal Elizabeth Moon, 2004

This is the sequel to Trading in Danger, following the adventures of Kyala Vatta as her family's interstellar shipping company comes under attack from mysterious enemies.

November 10, 2004

210 lbs!

November 12, 2004

Iolanthe at M.I.T.

Opening night. Good audience, good performance, I think this one's going to be a hit.

November 13, 2004

eBook: The Rackham Files Dean Ing, 2004

A sci-fi detective series, except the last story turned into a Nuclear Armageddon survival tale. Heavy second amendment political agenda, not a wonderful piece of work.

November 14, 2004

Film: (DVD) Tokyo Joe Stuart Heisler 1949

A Humphrey Bogart film I had never seen nor even heard of before. Looks like an attempt to re-capture the "formula" of Casablanca, many similarities. Bogart is an Air Corps veteran returning to Occupied Japan as a civilian. Before the war he had run a night club called "Ricks" "Tokyo Joe's." A couple of weeks before Pearl Harbor, he had left his White Russian wife (who was a singer in his club, with a passing resemblance to Ingrid Bergman.) Bogart gets all misty eyed on hearing the song "As Time Goes By""These Foolish Things Remind Me of You." This song is run into the ground throughout the film with interminable repetitions. He then heard that she has died, so 7 years have passed before his return to war-torn Japan. Turns out she is still alive, but has divorced him and married an American lawyer who looks a lot like Paul Henreid.

There's one scene where an officer brings up Communists while talking about the Japanese nationalist plot, but the voice is different, and that bit of dialogue is clearly an interpolation after the fact.

November 15, 2004

iPod R.I.P. I dropped it on a hard floor, croaked the hard drive. I guess I shoulda gone for the AppleCare plan when I bought it.

eBook: The Grantville Gazette Eric Flint, 2004

This is another in the series that began with 1632, actually a collection of fan fiction. I love this concept, but this is not the best of the series.

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November 17, 2004

Film: (DVD) Heaven & Earth Oliver Stone, 1993

Biopic of a Vietnamese woman who survives the war and prospers in the U.S.A. Most of the film is set in Vietnam, which is depicted as a peaceful land of great beauty, as it may well have been before the war. I actually got this because it features Billy Bob Thornton, but actually his part is quite small.

November 24, 2004

Down to Florida

A long, late flight down to Plantation for Thanksgiving.

November 25, 2004

Film: (DVD) Russian Ark Aleksandr Sokurov, 2002

This is a technical tour-de-force, an entire feature film with a cast of hundreds, filmed in a single take! Set in St. Petersburg's Hermitage Museum, it traces the history of Russia from the 18th century to the present. An amazing piece of wok.

November 26, 2004

Film: SpongeBob Squarepants 2004

One of my nephews recommended this feature-length cartoon, and I must admit I did enjoy it, though I was previously unfamiliar with the cast of characters.

Film: (DVD) Fatal Attraction Adrian Lyne, 1987

I think everybody in the country but me had already seen this stalker thriller.

November 27, 2004

Back from Florida.

Film: (DVD) Alex and Emma Rob Reiner, 2003

A fun film about a novelist who falls in love with the stenographer who helps him get through his writer's block.

November 28, 2004

Film: (DVD) Arlington Road Mark Pellington, 1999

A paranoid's delight, but I won't spoil the surprising ending.

November 30, 2004

Film: (DVD) A Room With A View James Ivory, 1986

Based on the E.M.Forster novel, life among the shabby-genteel in Venice and England.

Film: (DVD) Amy's O Julie Davis, 2001

A sex comedy with hardly any sex, but a pleasant enough piece of fluff.

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December 1, 2004

Went to the doctor for pain in my left foot. Nothing definitive, might be sciatica.

Blood pressure: 110/78

December 2, 2004

25 years!

Wedding photo on tandem bike

Love seems the swiftest, but it is the slowest of all growths. No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century.

Mark Twain

December 3, 2004

Film: (DVD) Washington Square Agnieszka Holland, 1997

Love thwarted in mid-19th century Boston. The heroine is the only daughter of a wealthy doctor, courted by a penniless fortune hunter. I liked it.

December 5, 2004

eBook: Days of Infamy Harry Turtledove, 2004

More alternate history, probably the beginning of a new series (I hope!) The point of departure for this is the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In this timeline, the air raid is followed up by a landing and conquest of the Hawaiian Islands by the Imperial Japanese Army. It's a good read for alternate history fans, but a gloomy one as the Japanese practice the atrocities permitted and encouraged by their evil bushido code of "honor."

December 7, 2004

Film: (DVD) Out of Time Carl Franklin, 2003

A suspense thriller starring Denzel Washington as sheriff of a small south Florida town. Entertaining, not great.

Film: (DVD) Captain's Paradise Anthony Kimmins, 1953

One of the comic masterpieces from Ealing Studios, with Alec Guiness as the bigamous skipper of a ferry boat running between Gibraltar and a fictitious North African port. A classic, not to be missed!

December 9, 2004

eBook Fighting France Edith Wharton, 1915

Edith Wharton was in France in the summer of 1914, and stayed to report the early days of the "Great War." The French military authorities allowed her to tour the front extensively. This book was written in the thick of the early months of the conflict, when things were actually going fairly well for the French. Actually, I suspect that it is a collection of journalistic pieces. She makes no attempt at objectivity. Her descriptions of the horrors of trench warfare and of the ruins of pretty French villages are masterful, often counterpointed with descriptions of the local flora, and many uses of reference to color. (Wharton was one of the originators of the profession of interior decorator, and co-wrote the first major book on this topic, so it is not surprising that her writing places so much stress on the visual aspects.)

December 12, 2004

Film: (DVD) Much Ado About Nothing Kenneth Branagh, 1993

I've seen this several times before, but I never tire of it. This masterpiece would definitely place very high up on my "desert island" list. This was the film that started my crush on Emma Thompson, who is absolutely irresistible, as is the Tuscan countryside featured. Michael Keaton is fabulous as Dogbody, and the whole production is one fo the greatest films of all time.

The 2004-05 TV season

We're about at the end of the first half of the season. I've particularly enjoyed Desperate Housewives, Boston Legal and Lost. Other new shows I'm following are Jack and Bobby, and Las Vegas.

I'm also continuing to enjoy The West Wing, Scrubs, NYPD Blue, Malcolm in the Middle, Arrested Development, Everwood, Will & Grace, ER and JAG.

December 13, 2004

Film: (DVD) Let's Make It Legal Richard Sale, 1951

A forgettable romantic comedy, mainly notable for the fact that it features Marilyn Monroe in a bit part.

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Sheldon with Hetchins December 25, 2004


Tova came in on Tuesday, and George is back from Brandeis, so we've got a full nest again.

Had a quiet Christmas morning in front of the fire. The kids gave me a boxed set of the Shostakovich Symphonies, which I'm greatly looking forward to listening to.

Harriet made a T shirt for George that says: "My parents heard the BSO play Mahler's 8th and all I got was this lousy T shirt!" along with a photo of Gustav.

It was a beautiful sunny day, temps in the low 30s, so I went for a 25 mile ride in the afternoon on my Hetchins, out to Dover (Claybrook Road, Charles River Road) then back via South Street and Kendrick Street. Felt good to be out again, though I was a bit cold near the end of the ride.

December 26, 2004

Terrible tsunami in South Asia, very scary.

December 27, 2004

The Christmas Revels

This year it was a French-Canadian theme, one that is near and dear to my heart. Old friend Walter Locke stole the show.

December 28, 2004

Film: (DVD) The Witches of Eastwick George Miller, 1987

I'm not usually a fan of stuff with magic, but this was great fun, with an all star cast including Cher, Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeiffer in the title roles, and Jack Nicholson as the Devil. Highly recommended.

December 30, 2004

Film: (DVD) Inherit the Wind Stanley Kramer, 1960

I remember seeing this on the big screen when it was new, and was very impressed by it at the time. The techniques and pacing are a bit dated now, and it is sometimes a bit heavy-handed.

It's a fictionalized version of the notorious Scopes evolution trial in Tennessee, 1923. Fredrick March plays the William Jennings Bryan character (with his makeup slathered on a bit too thick.) Spencer Tracy as Clarence Darrow, Gene Kelley as H.L. Mencken. Harry Morgan (Dragnes's Frank Gannon) is the judge, and Dick York (Bewitched) is Scopes. This is a classic, you should see it if you haven't, even though it is sometimes a bit slow moving and obvious.

December 31, 2004

New Year's Eve

Tova threw a party for a bunch of her friends. Mostly a great success, she knows nice folks. It felt a bit strange, sometimes feeling "loco parentis" urges, but then remembering that they're all adults, and that it's Tova's party.

I hope she'll do it again next year.

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November-December, 1998 April-May, 1975


The overall Booklist has been moved to a separate page.

Books reviewed on this page:
The Grantville GazetteEric Flint11/15/04
The Rackham FilesDean Ing11/13/04
Marque and ReprisalElizabeth Moon11/7/04
Days of InfamyHarry Turtledove12/5/04
Fighting FranceEdith Wharton12/9/04


The overall film list has been moved to a separate page.

Films reviewed on this page:
Alex and EmmaNovember 27, 2004
Amy's ONovember 30, 2004
Arlington RoadNovember 28, 2004
Captain's ParadiseDecember 7, 2004
Fatal AttractionNovember 26, 2004
Heaven & EarthNovember 17, 2004
Inherit the WindDecember 30, 2004
Much Ado About NothingDecember 12, 2004
Out of TimeDecember 7, 2004
Das RheingoldDecember 30, 2004
A Room with a ViewNovember 30, 2004
Russian ArkNovember 25, 2004
SpongeBob SquarepantsNovember 26, 2004
Washington SquareDecember 3, 2004
The Witches of EastwickDecember 28, 2004


The overall music list has been moved to a separate page.


November 29, 2002Lorraine BraccoThe Graduate
November 23, 2001Helen Mirren, Ian McKellnThe Dance of Death-August Strindberg
September 30, 2000Tova/Black Box Theatre, Cornell UniversityThe Maids-Jean Genet
May 30, 2000Kelsey Grammer/Colonial TheatreMacbeth
May 26, 2000The Huntington Theatre Co.King Hedley II
September 3, 1999The Publick TheatreNine
August 21, 1999Orange Tree Theatre, Ithaca, N.Y.Sonata
August 13, 1999Firehouse Theatre, Ithaca, N.Y.Sister Mary Ignatius Explains it All For You
May 22-29Newton South/North High SchoolsRichard III
December 18, 1998Newton North High SchoolThe Bone Violin, May Flies
November 12, 1998Newton North High SchoolTo Kill a Mockingbird


November 21-24, 2007Plantation, Florida
September 25-28, 2007Las Vegas, Nevada
August 18-25, 2007Truro, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
November 22-26, 2006Plantation, Florida
September 25-28, 2006Las Vegas (Interbike)
June 10-20, 2006Santa Cruz, California
May 5-7, 2006Aurora, Indiana
November 23, 2005Plantation, Florida
September 26-29, 2005Interbike, Las Vegas, Nevada
August 26-28, 2005'Bentride 2005, Bath, N.Y.
July 21-24, 2005Family Reunion, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
April 29, 2005Cirque de Cyclisme, Greensboro, N.C.
February 16, 2005Indianapolis
November 24, 2004Plantation, Florida
October 8, 2004Santa Cruz, California
October 4, 2004Las Vegas, Nevada
June 8, 2004France, England
December 22, 2003Halifax, Nova Scotia
November 27, 2003Florida
October 31, 2003Potomac, Maryland
October 10, 2003Las Vegas, Nevada
September 21, 2003New York, N.Y.
November 27-30, 2002New York, N.Y.
October 8-13, 2002Evanston, Illinois
October 4-8, 2002Las Vegas, Nevada
July 3-9, 2002Canso, Nova Scotia
May 24-27, 2002Long Island, New York
November 21-24, 2001New York City
October 16-19, 2001Cape Cod, Massachusetts
September 29-October 3, 2001Las Vegas, Nevada (Interbike Show)
June 16-23, 2001Nags Head, North Carolina
October 5-14, 2000Evanston, Illinois
September 30-October 2, 2000Ithaca, New York
June 22-25, 2000Urbanna, Virginia
October 7-13, 1999Chicago/Evanston, Illinois
August 19-28, 1999Ithaca, New York
August 12-13, 1999Ithaca, New York
July 23-25, 1999Bridgeton, Maine
November 25-28, 1998Fort Lauderdale, Florida
1988-89France, England
1980Yucatan, Mexico
1975England, Belgium, Yugoslavia, Turkey

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