The New York Times reviewer is not terribly fond of Bill Clinton’s new autobiography, “My Life”:
The book, which weighs in at more than 950 pages, is sloppy, self-indulgent and often eye-crossingly dull â€” the sound of one man prattling away, not for the reader, but for himself and some distant recording angel of history. …
“My Life” reads like a messy pastiche of everything that Mr. Clinton ever remembered and wanted to set down in print; he even describes the time he got up at 4 a.m. to watch the inaugural ceremonies for Nigeria’s new president on TV. There are endless litanies of meals eaten, speeches delivered, voters greeted and turkeys pardoned. There are some fascinating sections about Mr. Clinton’s efforts to negotiate a Middle East peace agreement (at one point, he suggests that Yasir Arafat seemed confused, not fully in command of the facts and possibly no longer at the top of his game), but there are also tedious descriptions of long-ago political debates in Arkansas over utility regulation and car license fees . There are some revealing complaints about missteps at the FBI under Louis Freeh’s watch, but there are also dozens of pointless digressions about matters like zombies in Haiti and ruins in Pompeii.
Heh. Chris plans to read it anyway.
This Wednesday morning, in the wee hours, there might be an active meteor shower. Or there might not. Forecasters aren’t sure. But they know this: if there is a good shower, the best place to watch it will be western North America — hey, that’s where I live! :) Stay tuned.
My iPhoto Library was becoming overwhelmed with cute photos of our cats and dog, so I figured I’d better post a few of them. :)
More cat & dog photos here! Also included are a bunch of recent photos from the dog park. Enjoy!
Saw The Terminal. Liked it; didn’t love it. I can understand why people said the moviemakers were confused about whether to make it a drama or a comedy. The first half felt like a comedy, and was quite good; the second half felt like a drama, and dragged on a bit. The acting was excellent (I love Tom Hanks), but despite the strong concept, the plot was somewhat lacking, and sort of went off the rails toward the end. Still, an enjoyable film. I give it three out of five shillelaghs.
More later. Off to the dog park now.
UPDATE: I am refining the Irish Trojan movie-review scale slightly, because I realize I’ve been too generous to a number of films this summer, and my golden-shillelagh ratings are thus getting a bit out of whack. So I’m downgrading Troy from 4 to 3 1/2 shillelaghs, Van Helsing from 1 to 1/2 shillelagh, and The Day After Tomorrow from 4 to 2 1/2 shillelaghs (I mean, c’mon; I loved it, but it sucked :).
Shrek 2 stays at 4 1/2 shillelaghs. And for the record, if I had been using this rating system when I saw the Lord of the Rings movies, Return of the King and Fellowship of the Ring both would have gotten 5 shillelaghs; The Two Towers would have gotten 4 1/2.
You know, I have to admit, I feel a certain jealousy of doctrinaire liberals and conservatives. It must be nice to be certain that you’re right all the time. Ignorance is bliss, they say, but so is arrogance. If you have the courage of your convictions — and your convictions include the unwavering belief that you are right and your opponents are wrong — you may (or may not) be a fool, but at worst you’re a confident fool. And at least psychologically, that has to count for something.
As for me, I find that open-mindedness can be agonizing. Honestly, it sucks to be utterly unsure whether I’m right about stuff. Fact is, there are a lot of smart people in this world, with a lot of different opinions, and it can be damn frustrating to find myself bouncing from one argument to another, finding merit in many of them and certainty in none.
For example, I want to believe that, certain missteps aside, we are pursuing basically the right course in the war on terror. And I’ve read plenty of things that suggest we are. But then I read something like this, and I wonder.
And don’t tell me it’s the Guardian, liberal media bias, blah blah blah, because that’s not the point. The point is, how do you sort out the truth from well-thought-out and honestly believed but ultimately incorrect claims? If you look at everything through a particular ideological lens, it’s easy — you believe the claims that go along with your worldview and discard the ones that don’t. But if you’re trying to logically deduce right and wrong without regard to ideology, it’s tough to have confidence in your answers when the issues are so complex. It’s frustrating to no end.
Okay, that’s my rant for the day. And with that, I’m going to sleep.
Amid all my obsessive, flood-the-zone blogging about the Transit of Venus and the Ronald Reagan memorials earlier this month, I never got around to posting my opinion of the new Harry Potter movie. I saw it the weekend it came out (of course), and liked it a lot. The time-travel sequence at the end was especially well done. I’m not sure exactly how many shillelaghs to give it — I want to see it at least once more before deciding that — but suffice it to say, it will do quite well on the Irish Trojan movie-review scale. It’s a good film.
Prisoner of Azkaban is, in fact, the best of the three Potter movies so far, IMHO. Of course, it’s a better book too, so perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that it’s a better movie. But it’s more than just that. The way it was made, it feels more like a real movie. I think the new director did an excellent job in that sense. Don’t get me wrong, I greatly enjoyed the first two [”TROLL IN THE DUNGEON!!!” -ed.], but at the same time, they felt sort of like cartoons with live actors in them. This reviewer, quoted on the movie-review meta-site Rotten Tomatoes, pretty much hit the nail on the head: “The third Harry Potter movie is the first one that actually looks and feels like a movie, rather than a staged reading with special effects.” And so did this reviewer: “Not only is this the best Harry Potter movie, it is the first Harry Potter movie that actually qualifies as cinema.”
The next movie you might get to read my opinion of is The Terminal, the Steven Spielberg-Tom Hanks vehicle that opened today (er, yesterday… Friday). I hope to see it this weekend — though, alas, Becky is less eager, so we shall see. I also hope to see Shrek 2 for a third time :), but you already know I loved that one.
As long as we’re on the topic of movies, here’s a handy list of links to recent movie reviews in the Brendansphere. Some I’ve linked to before, some I haven’t, but I figured it would be useful to put them all together in one place. So here goes:
Ella Enchanted: Becky
Kill Bill Volume 2: Adrienne
Laws of Attraction: Becky
Super Size Me: Becky
P.S. I’m using this post to finally start my long-needed “Movies & TV” category. I will gradually add past posts that belong in this category, many of which are currently in “News: Miscellaneous” or some other inappropriate place.
P.P.S. Technically, the category is called “Entertainment: Movies & TV.” Unfortunately, that makes it a rather long name. Five gold stars (er, shillelaghs) to anyone who can think of a shorter word that could be used as a substitute meta-category title for entertainment-related posts (encompassing such things as TV, movies, books, music, etc.).