Where Do They Get The Ideas

We have watched the first couple of episodes of a new TV show called “Political Animals”. It stars Sigourney Weaver as an ambitious politician. She is Secretary of State having run for and lost the nomination. Her husband is a former President and Governor. He has committed adultery on numerous occasions, including at least one occasion whilst in the White House. He initially denies that tryst saying with a hauntingly familiar cadence “I did not have sex…”

The normal disclaimer that “Any similarity with characters alive or dead”, rings very hollow with this show.

Adding to the familiarity, is the matriarch. She is a hard-drinking, direct to the point of rude ex-Vegas singer. On all of these points and in her general delivery she is the spitting image of a friend of my wife’s family.

The show is showing early promise, even allowing for my bias towards political drama.

Published in: on 31 July, 2012 at 9:05  Leave a Comment  

Breaking Your Heart Again

Back in April, I wrote an entry about how per-season optimism bled away as the A’s lost their home opener to Seattle. Now that optimism returns, as Oakland have a best in baseball 18-3 record in the month of July. They lead the race for the American League wildcard and are catching the division leading Texas Rangers.

Those 18 wins include a four game sweep of the Damn Yankees and inflicting Toronto’s biggest blowout defeat in team history. There is just one defeat in the last ten; the last game that it attended.

Starting to hope for a first post season since I arrived in Bay Area. A colleague at work has already started saving for World Series. I cannot help but feel hope, but with a hundred games played, Oakland have 62 more to go. Those hopes can still be dashed, for baseball is designed to break your heart.

Published in: on 30 July, 2012 at 8:00  Leave a Comment  

Do or Do Not There is no Try

Hot-dogs may be the traditional food at ballparks, but on my last two trips to Oakland I have eaten BBQ. On the first of these occasions the neatly printed sign advertised “Try Tip”. On my next trip, someone else had spotted the spelling error. Rather than replace the signs, they had printed an ‘I’ and placed it over the ‘Y’ to correctly offer “Tri Tip”.

Tri Tip is not a cut of meat that I have seen in the UK. According to Wikipedia:

The tri-tip is a cut of beef from the bottom sirloin primal cut.[1] It is a small triangular muscle, usually 1.5 to 2.5 lbs. (675 to 1,150g) per side of beef.

It actually originated in Oakland, so it is appropriate to serve at the park; although it further reduces any excuse for misspelling.

Published in: on 29 July, 2012 at 7:45  Leave a Comment  

The Longer Knight

Next weekend Christopher Nolan’s concluding entry in his Batman trilogy opens. There is no hyperbole in describing it as one of the most anticipated films of the year (Only Prometheus, Avengers, and The Hobbit are close). I am looking forward to seeing it and shall pay the extra to watch it on the IMAX screen, but I do have one reservation; the running time.

The preeminent US film critic, Roger Ebert, recently stated that the ideal length of a film was between 90 and 120 minutes. There are notable exceptions to that rule; Apocalypse Now and 2001 both add half an hour and Gone with the Wind doubles the maximum limit. There has been a recent trend for longer movies, even ones without the narrative breadth to require the time.

Chris Nolan’s Batman series demonstrates that increasing bloat. The first in the series, Batman Begins ran to 2hrs 20mins. The Dark Knight was 12 minutes longer and I felt it was an overlong film. The third film again adds 12 minutes, so it will be 2 hours and 44 minutes; just over an hour longer than Casablanca.

I have no doubt that TDKR will be visually stunning, filled with great performances, and have moments to make me gasp; I just hope that whilst I am watching it, I am not noticing the length and thinking of scenes that could be cut to bring the running time back to sanity.

Published in: on 15 July, 2012 at 15:45  Leave a Comment  

Grumpy Old Man

I flew from San Francisco to Orlando via Miami today. Not the ideal route as Miami involves going further East and South than Orlando then doubling back. It is a flight hat takes as long to board as it does in the air. Grump point one.

If you are going to play a Star Wars video game on a plane you have two choices if you wish to be a sociable human being: turn sound off or wear headphones. I do not want to hear light sabers and the band in Mos Eisley cantina as I try to read a technical book. Grump point two.

Millions fly every day, there is no safer place on the planet than an aircraft. You do not need to sing hymns to the savior on take off and landing. Grump point three.

So I am grumpy old man.

On the plus side, even at 5am in the morning Terminal Two at SF airport has the most diverse food options of any airport I know. Miami has a tiny bar that serves this massive, tasty Cuban sandwich that is the best value food at any airport I know. Thus, I get to deduct two Grump points.

Published in: on 9 July, 2012 at 16:21  Leave a Comment  

35 and 74 Years

The first tennis game that I watched was the 1977 women’s singles final at Wimbledon. Virginia Wade won that game; the last British person to win a singles title at Wimbledon. Until this year, she was the last Brit to reach a final; until Andy Murray became the first British man to achieve that feat in 74 years.


The year that Ms Wade won her title was the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. This year is the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Of course Virginia did not face a final opponent of the statue of Roger Federer.

For those who want more trivial information, the last British man before Murray to reach the final was Bunny Austin in 1938. Two years prior Fred Perry was the last home winner of the title.

Published in: on 6 July, 2012 at 10:25  Leave a Comment  

Holiday in July

This week I get a day of holiday. Most of the country will have Wednesday as holiday, but t many of my colleagues and I will work Wednesday and have Friday off. The official reason for this switch is the demands of a project, but since Friday is now a Holiday I shall take the opportunity to celebrate the British capture of Fort Ticonderoga on 6th July 1777.

Published in: on 1 July, 2012 at 16:45  Leave a Comment