Thursday, January 09, 2014

Mason Cook

I was just on Facebook. Some ad suggested I like someone called Mason Cook. Apparently 65,000 people like him. I barely like myself. How can that many people like this person I've never heard of? Or is it all because I'm finally getting old?

Sunday, April 21, 2013


This is a nice, brief remembrance of the four people whose lives were taken last week in relation to the Boston Marathon tragedy: an 8-year-old child, a 23-year-old grad student, a 26-year-old police officer, and a 29-year-old restaurant manager. What I think is so affecting is how we all have people like these in our lives. We all know people just like the four who were killed. In effect, they are us.

From The New York Times:

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Roger Ebert 1942-2013

Roger Ebert died today. He was 70. There was an article on Tuesday about him cutting back his film reviewing because the cancer that took his jaw in 2006 had returned. It didn't sound good, but I was surprised to learn of his death today.

Roger and Gene Siskel reviewed movies on TV, from the mid 70s until Gene's death in 1999. After a season or two of rotating co-critics, Roger continued the show with Richard Roeper until 2006. It was not the same, but still worthwhile.

"Siskel and Ebert," as I always called the show (even after Gene's death), had a great impact on me. From the time I was a child until I was in my 30s, it was something I looked forward to watching. It was great to see people talking about movies and filmmakers and getting excited about it, even arguing. The show is sorely missed now. There is no real film criticism show on television, just fast-food movie-tie-ins, gloss, and snark.

On Tuesday, Roger updated his blog (, explaining that he won't be reviewing quite as much while fighting the cancer. The post was called "A Leave of Presence." Here are the first and last paragraphs of it:

"Thank you. Forty-six years ago on April 3, 1967, I became the film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times. Some of you have read my reviews and columns and even written to me since that time. Others were introduced to my film criticism through the television show, my books, the website, the film festival, or the Ebert Club and newsletter. However you came to know me, I'm glad you did and thank you for being the best readers any film critic could ask for."

"So on this day of reflection I say again, thank you for going on this journey with me. I'll see you at the movies."

Roger Ebert wrote for the Chicago Sun-Times since the 1960s, and his death is the lead today on their website. Below is their obituary.

Thank you, Roger.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg Endorses Obama

Independent NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg endorsed Barack Obama today. He did not endorse either candidate in 2008.

Some of his reasoning:
His Race to the Top education program -- much of which was opposed by the teachers’ unions, a traditional Democratic Party constituency -- has helped drive badly needed reform across the country, giving local districts leverage to strengthen accountability in the classroom and expand charter schools.
His health-care law -- for all its flaws -- will provide insurance coverage to people who need it most and save lives.
When I step into the voting booth, I think about the world I want to leave my two daughters, and the values that are required to guide us there. The two parties’ nominees for president offer different visions of where they want to lead America.
One believes a woman’s right to choose should be protected for future generations; one does not. That difference, given the likelihood of Supreme Court vacancies, weighs heavily on my decision.
One recognizes marriage equality as consistent with America’s march of freedom; one does not. I want our president to be on the right side of history.
One sees climate change as an urgent problem that threatens our planet; one does not. I want our president to place scientific evidence and risk management above electoral politics.
(But Gov. Romney still has Trump and Kid Rock.)

The Economist Endorses Barack Obama

The Economist endorsed Barack Obama today. Before Obama they had endorsed John Kerry, George W. Bush, Bob Dole, Bill Clinton, and Ronald Reagan. This is the first time they've endorsed an incumbent.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Big Sky Country

Today I was walking my dog and I noticed a quarter on the ground, in the dirt. I kept walking, then I thought, I should go back and pick it up, right? Even though the ashtray in my car is overflowing with change already, it would be foolhardy or wasteful or elitist to not go back for it. So I did. Then I got to thinking: I would definitely not have stopped for a penny, and as it turns out I would stop for a quarter. So what about a nickel or dime? Anyway, it's sitting here on my desk now. I'm looking at it. It is a Montana state quarter from 2007. At some point I'll have to take it to my car. And then, most likely, use it in a parking meter one day...

Sneeze Attack Ruins Dinner

Last night I was eating a sandwich for dinner and all of a sudden—out of nowhere—I started sneezing. I hadn't had time to swallow or prepare at all. So... I was sneezing out regular sneeze-related folderol and whatnot—as well as bits of chewed food, saliva, et al. The whole thing was so disappointing and unappetizing that I could not go on with the meal.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Strange Electronic Noise on Fox Continues, Now on Fringe

Usually heard on Fox Sports programming, I am now hearing it on tonight's episode of Fringe (on, you guessed it, Fox). To repeat: It sounds like a faint 1990s cell phone ringtone. It lasts about 2 or 3 seconds, and just keeps repeating every few seconds. Someone described it as "a cyclic, tone-repeating sequence." I have seriously (vaguely) considered giving up watching TV. Or at least shows on Fox. Can't quite figure this all out, but not liking it.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Strange Electronic Noise on Fox Sports

Can anyone else hear that strange background noise on Fox Sports broadcasts? It sounds like a faint 1990s cell phone ringtone. It lasts about 2 or 3 seconds, and just keeps repeating every few seconds. I've noticed it on the Tigers/Rangers playoff games, then on the Cardinals/Rangers World Series games, and right now on the Falcons/Lions NFL game. The first time I noticed it I thought it was some sound happening at the Texas Rangers stadium. Then I noticed it during a game at St. Louis and thought it was something related to Fox's MLB coverage, then today on an NFL game suggests Fox Sports or just Fox.

I've noticed it for a few weeks. It's maddening. I've only noticed it on Fox Sports programs. Also, this sound disappears during commercial breaks. It seems most noticeable when there is a lot of crowd noise.

I have NOT noticed it on TBS, ESPN, ABC, CBS or anywhere else. Only Fox.

I've found a few people talking about it on message board sites. Some have heard it on Terra Nova, and the Emmys (both Fox). Someone described it as "a cyclic, tone-repeating sequence." Some people are saying they are hearing it on other channels as well, but I am not, and am wondering if their sound issue might be another one.

It seems to be happening across DirecTV, Dish, Comcast, etc -- leading me to think it's something on Fox's end.

Here's some forums where it's being talked about: