Coming Out of Left Field

Monday, February 28, 2005

Awards affair

The wife and I went over to Rogue Slayer's house last night for an Oscar night party. It had all the ingredients of a good bash: excellent Chinese food (from Jade Garden in Arlington, I think), nice people, including fellow bloggers People Are Freaks, The Creeping Unknown and the aforementioned RS, and good entertainment. Much fun was had critiquing the various fashion styles on display (mermaid dresses seemed to be popular among the women this year), guessing the winners, and cracking up over Chris Rock's opening monologue, especially the "Fahrenheit 911"/Bush-bashing bit:

"When Bush got into office, they had a surplus of money. Now they have a $70 trillion deficit. Imagine you worked at The Gap. You're closing out your register, and it's $70 trillion short. The average person would get in trouble for something like that."

Unfortunately we couldn't stay for the whole party (the day after Oscar night should be a holiday), but we did see a little more as we got ready for bed. For anyone who missed the ceremony, here are the major winners:

Actor: Jamie Foxx
Actress: Hilary Swank
Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett
Supporting Actor: Morgan Freeman
Picture: Million Dollar Baby
Director: Clint Eastwood
Adapted Screenplay: Sideways
Original Screenplay: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

The full results are posted on the official Oscar site.


Labyrinthine event

On Saturday some friends, my wife and I checked out the aMAZEing! art exhibition at BC, curated by grad student ">Steve Gordon. Thanks to all the interactive items (that afternoon was billed as a family event, so there were lots of hands-on activities), it was a fun way to spend a couple of hours. Both the wife and I particularly enjoyed the wooden mazes that instructed you to put your finger on the starting point, close your eyes, and follow the groove to the end. She said that if she ever wanted to meditate, that's how she would choose to do it. The maze artwork was incredibly intricate and also entertaining to play with, though it's harder to trace your path when you can't use a pencil. I have the same thought about maze construction as I do about crossword construction: I wouldn't even know where to begin, and I'm glad someone else does!


Friday, February 25, 2005

Small-scale sendup

A new piece of art from Somerville resident Geoff Hargadon spoofs the current craze in NYC:

Tiny takeoff on Christo proves gateway to glory

Unfortunately, server costs forced Hargadon to take the pictures down from his site, but a Google search did turn up this post on Cyn City. Maybe some generous donor will step up to the plate and help him get the rest back online.

Update: there is another picture (as well as a picture of someone else's version of The Gates) in this thread on Easily Addictive.

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Missive to Mitt

The other day, Mr. Romney showed that he'll say anything -- no matter how untrue and unfair -- for political gain:

"Now last year, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court struck a blow against the family, as I’m sure you know. The court forgot that marriage is, first and foremost, about nurturing and developing children. Its ruling meant that our society is supposed to be indifferent about whether children have a mother and a father.

“Today, same-sex couples are marrying under the law in Massachusetts. Some are actually having children born to them. We’ve been asked to change their birth certificates to remove the phrase 'mother' and 'father' and replace it with 'Parent A' and 'Parent B.' It’s not right on paper. It’s not right in fact. Every child has the right to have a mother and a father."

Since Romney has been spending an awful lot of time away from home lately, I thought I would clue him in to some things he might've missed otherwise. I wrote the below at

"Dear Mr. Romney,

I realize that your out-of-state travels and speech-making may not leave you much time for keeping up to date with things in Massachusetts, so here is a quick summary to catch you up:

1. Since last year, thousands of same-sex couples have gotten legally married in the state you govern.
2. Many of these couples have been together for years.
3. Many of these couples are raising children together.

Maybe to you, these things set same-sex couples apart from the norm. To me, they ARE the norm. What could be more normal, after all, than people who are committed to their relationships and to their families?"

If you want to help educate Mitt, you can write your own letter to him at Then contact your state legislators and ask them to vote against any discriminatory amendments to the state constitution. After all, not even the diehard conservatives will support Romney if he can't get same-sex marriage banned in his own state ...

Technorati: , LGBT, marriage equality,

Thursday, February 24, 2005

The West Wing: "Drought Conditions"

In some ways this episode was very powerful, mostly because of the storyline with Toby's brother. Richard Schiff, who plays Toby, did a damn good job of portraying a man whose world is crashing down around him. Granted, some of that is his fault, for giving away some of Bartlett's health-care material to a surprise presidential candidate ... maybe he sincerely feels that none of the other candidates are up to snuff, or he's angry at Josh and the party, or just angry, period.

There was also some nice comedy with all the assorted campaign aides trying to score some private time with the president (Lily Tomlin, as usual, rocks.) What I didn't like as much was some of the camerawork. I realize that the aim was probably to disorient us -- to put us in Toby's shoes, emotionally -- but the odd framing in the bar scenes distracted me (I kept waiting for someone, maybe Josh, to sneak up behind Toby and hit him on the head), and the slowly spinning camera in the reception scene made me feel dizzy. Overall it was still a good episode, though, and it was nice to hear that Santos actually registered on the N.H. radar.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2005


A couple of years ago, if you'd asked me about the SJC, I would've thought they were some hip-hop group. Now, though, I know who they are, and I think they're darn gutsy:

High court to hear challenge to marriage law

Some people may criticize what they call an "activist judiciary." If that means the judges grant rights that never should've been denied in the first place, I'm all for it.

Technorati: , LGBT, marriage equality,

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Baseball Oracle

Here's a nice time-waster for baseball fans, courtesy of Joubert on Easily Addictive

Baseball Oracle

It works like the Six Degrees movie game, but with baseball players instead of actors. For instance, I asked the Oracle to link up a certain fun-loving, former Red Sox outfielder with another certain fun-loving, current Red Sox outfielder, and got this chain:

Babe Ruth played with Bill Dickey for the 1929 New York Yankees
Bill Dickey played with Joe Gordon for the 1938 New York Yankees
Joe Gordon played with Minnie Minoso for the 1949 Cleveland Indians
Minnie Minoso played with Harold Baines for the 1980 Chicago White Sox
Harold Baines played with Manny Ramirez for the 1999 Cleveland Indians

One thing you realize, after you play with this for long enough, is that some of the players were in the game for two or three decades. For instance, I tried linking Ruth to another Red Sox outfielder who swung for the fences on a regular basis (with the help of certain illegal supplements):

Babe Ruth played with Danny MacFayden for the 1934 New York Yankees
Danny MacFayden played with Early Wynn for the 1941 Washington Senators
Early Wynn played with Tommy John for the 1963 Cleveland Indians
Tommy John played with Jose Canseco for the 1985 Oakland Athletics

Wynn played from '39 to '63, and John played from '63 to '89, which is longer than I've been alive. No wonder some old-timers say today's players don't measure up, with or without the steroids.

Btw, if you hadn't already guessed, pitchers and catchers report today, and I'm damn happy baseball is back. Play ball!

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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Today's dumb thief story ...

... made possible by modern technology:

Doh! Man steals GPS tracking device

That's even better than would-be bank thieves who fill out loan applications with their real names and addresses.

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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Black comedy quote of the day

"It's a budget that focuses on results. Taxpayers in America don't want us spending their money on something that's not achieving results."
- President George Bush, speaking about his newly-submitted budget, as quoted in the Boston Globe, 2/8/2005.

Focused on results? As in Iraq and Afghanistan? *rolls eyes*

Update: want to ask Bush to go back to the drawing board? Sign the DNC's "Stop Bush's Irresponsible Budget" petition.

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What cat are you?

Found this via Rogue Slayer's site, and it's cracking me up:

You are a Persian! You are quiet, gentle, and
loving, though sometimes you need extra
attention and care. Some might call you high
maintenance, but you just need to be pampered.

What breed of cat are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Quiet, yes. Gentle, sometimes. High-maintenance, very rarely. White and fluffy, definitely not! :D

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A cartoon commentary ...

... on what might be going on in many local children's minds, courtesy of the Globe's Dan Wasserman:

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Monday, February 07, 2005

Go Pats!

It's a good day to live in New England:

Triple crowns: Patriots 24, Eagles 21

The wife and I had a small but cozy Super Bowl party at a friend's house, with a nice easy dinner of pizza and soda. During the game we snuggled together on the sofa, with one of our friend's three cats curled up on one lap or another. The game was fun; the Pats weren't quite as dominating as in the win over the Steelers, but a good defensive battle that really could've gone either way. If I were an Eagles fan, I'd be e-mailing the team saying a) please, please, please get a running game and b) what part of "hurry-up offense" don't you understand?

As for the rest of the entertainment, most of the commercials were pretty forgettable (except for the Ford convertible one, and that's because it ran at least twice in a row), but the ones with the chimps were cute. Unfortunately half of the people in the house missed the funniest one: the diet Pepsi commercial that features a standard-issue hunk strolling down the street sipping a soda. My friend and I both rolled our eyes at the sight of numerous women following this guy down the street (the "Staying Alive" theme didn't help matters). Then the ad showed yet another person walking by and doing a double-take ... only it was Carson Kressley, from "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy"! Beautiful, utterly beautiful. :)

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Friday, February 04, 2005

Get out the shovels ...

... especially if you live in my proverbial neck of the woods:

With tickets, Somerville aims to get snow moved

As someone who until recently walked 15 minutes to the T and back every day, I'm actually happy about the city enforcing this, though an eight-hour limit would be fairer for working folks. Now that I'm a full-time telecommuter (woo-hoo!), I can at least make sure our house doesn't get any tickets, and get some much-needed exercise while I'm at it.

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Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Oscar picks

As usual, I haven't seen many of the Oscar-nominated films. But that never seems to stop me from predicting the winners, and this year's no exception. With the help of my friend JP's Oscar pool, I'm making the following random guesses:

Best Actor: Jamie Foxx for Ray
Best Actress: Annette Bening for Being Julia
Best Original Screenplay: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind -- Charlie Kaufman
Best Adapted Screenplay: Sideways -- Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor
Original Score: The Passion of the Christ
Original Song: "Learn To Be Lonely" from The Phantom of the Opera
Visual Effects: Spider-Man 2
Best Animated Feature Film: The Incredibles
Best Documentary Feature: Born Into Brothels: Calcutta
Best Animated Short: Guard Dog

For those interested in seeing other folks' predictions, there's also an Academy awards thread on Easily Addictive.