Monday, March 31, 2008

The Winner!

I know you've all been wondering, but the title of Best Nougat In The World goes to, in an upset, a convenience store in Ghent, Belgium. They also have overpriced AA batteries (not made of nougat).

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Vacation Reading

I had a fairly broad selection, helped by lots of trains and a family that goes to bed early: two historical novels, a King novel, a literary thriller, a spy novel and a book on the Supreme Court. This hopefully will make up for reading almost nothing in February (in addition to not working out or studying German, Feb was a waste of a month). Also, none of the pics have links to amazon, I just stole the cover shots. But feel free to go to to buy them. How it sorted out:

"The Club Dumas" - Arturo Perez Reverte: Very good, fast read with just enough literary allusions and references to "The Three Musketeers" to make me feel intellectually superior to those around me -- always a plus. B+

"The Name of The Rose" - Umberto Eco: Much better than I remember it from 15+ years back. Fast-paced murder mystery interwoven with plenty of papal intrigue and religious and philosophical discussions. I only wish Eco'd translated all the Latin quoted but it's still an A

"The Gunslinger" - Stephen King: I finally read this, mainly because it was in the apartment we were staying in in Rome, and I figured it'd be a good challenge to finish in 3 nights. It wasn't that hard, as it's short and a quick read. I'm interested in his quest for the Tower, but I'm not dying to read it. I feel confident that I can wait until the next trip home to pick up the next few in the series. Of course, the last time I did that with a series of books, I'd lost interest by the time I returned. We'll see B

"The Supreme Court: The Personalities and Rivalries That Defined America" - Jeffrey Rosen: One I've been waiting on for a while, this was mixed. His basic thesis that temperament, not ability or political views, defines a successful justice, is the key to 3 of the 4 profiles -- the other is interesting, but both justices are basically lone guns railing against their (perceived) ignorant cohorts. It also doesn't help that he varies his definition of "successful" -- at times equating it with predicting future decisions and others as having the ability to swing other justices. Overall, an interesting surface look at how the court works. I'll be reading others to compare B-

"The Angel Of Darkness" - Caleb Carr: The sequel to "The Alienist", this has been sitting on my shelf for 10 years due to a coworker's dismissal as less enthralling. I enjoyed it, but it got to be a bit convoluted and the ending was too much. But if you like the idea of CSI or Law & Order set in 1890s NYC (with plenty of historical figures making cameos), go for it. An easy read, if overly long B-

Friday, March 07, 2008

Tennis, Anyone?

Scott and I are looking for two bodies, er, traveling companions to go to the French Open in Paris. We're looking at Wednesday, May 28-Sunday June 1st. Let me know if you're interested. Hot single women get dibs.
It's Not Looking Good

for the next two weeks -- Bella Italia doesn't seem like the kind of trip during which I'll be blogging. Try to console yourselves.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Ok, So Maybe It Should Have Been 4 Sequels

Were there ANY movies in summer 2008 that weren't sequels? Damn. Every single one I've seen has been a successor to a previous flick. "The Bourne Ultimatum," however, surpassed them all. A great flick, start to finish. Check it out and enjoy what a Bond film should be.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

A Tale of Two Sequels

Ok, so that WAS the title of this post, then I saw "Die Hard 4.0" last night. So now it's THREE sequels. Talk about your range of quality.

"Rocky Balboa" was far better than I expected -- it's basically a remake of "Rocky", but it's very good. Kudos to Sly for not trying to make Rock seem all that bright or trying to cover up the plethora of plastic in his face & body. It's well-done, but I could've lived with at least one scene of Rocky punching his chump son.

"Rush Hour 3" somehow managed to not even live up to my expectations of a craptacular movie. Hoo boy. I laughed maybe 3 times. One of the laughs as for the line (from a Frenchman), "I will never be an American; I will never know what it feels like to shoot someone for no reason."

And the latecomer? "Die Hard 4.0" was ok, but not only did it seem to try to top the previous three Die Hards, it also seemed to be topping itself. The last action scene would have been very hard to believe if Spiderman or Yoda were trying it but John McClane? Why couldn't they realize that the 1st Die Hard was great because it was one man against all odds with implausible but almost believable stunts? But this one? No. Personally, I blame George Bush. Since most of America was dumb enough to "believe" that Hussein and Al Qaeda were connected, moviemakers think we'll believe any line of BS as long as it involves explosions.
Is It Just Me?

Or is toothpaste kind of disgusting outside its milieu? Tonight I was (am) brushing my teeth and got a bit overenthusiastic with the toothpaste tube (I really enjoy clean teeth) and got some on my thumb. My immediate reaction was, "ugh, that's disgusting, i need to wash that off." I was thinking this WHILE I put my toothbrush, with the rest of the toothpaste on it, in my mouth.

There you go.