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We have a toy like this too...

13 July 2006, 18:08

It may look like an innocent toy ...

I don’t even know the name of this puzzle—it’s not written anywhere on the product—which makes me even more convinced it was whittled by the pen knife of Lucifer himself. In theory, it’s a simple and entertaining toy, where each of the smiling vehicle puzzle pieces plays a different sound when it is removed. (The ambulance makes a siren, the tugboat blares a foghorn, etc.)This would be fine, if it didn’t keep going off when no one is playing with it.


Phew! And we thought we were the only ones! (We have the animal version of this toy and it does this at all strange times.)

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World Cup Language

27 June 2006, 08:19

The Azzuri jerseys were soaked in perspiration; on another steaming hot afternoon in the German hothouse, Italy had to work so hard for their victory. Part of that was down to their own profligacy:

Keepers save the day as Totti makes amends

Guys, please do not use Google translate to write these!

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Film Review: "Water"

7 May 2006, 03:10

My wife and I haven’t been out to the movies for a long time, in part because it’s cheaper, more comfortable, and more convenient to see them at home. But when we found ourselves at a theater last night just as the film “Water” was starting, and decided to see it. The film is about widows in 1930’s India.

Although we had not done most of the research we’re used to doing when we watch films at home, I remembered I had read a review of the film in the New York Times this week. The review centered on the incredible controversy the film has generated, especially among Hindu fundamentalists:

In January 2000 Ms. Mehta was forced to shut down production of “Water” in Varanasi, one of India’s holy cities on the banks of the Ganges, after Hindu nationalists protested that the film was anti-Hindu. Some 500 demonstrators took to the streets, ransacked the set and burned Ms. Mehta in effigy.

Film Ignites the Wrath of Hindu Fundamentalists – New York Times

Without giving away much of the plot, I feel very strongly that films like “Water” are the best use of the medium of film. Although set 70 years ago, the themes of equality of women and men, faith, independent thought vs. religious fanaticism, and moral decay speak directly to issues we see confronting us today. The cast is incredible, with one highlight being the 8-year-old actor, Sarala, who is utterly convincing in the role of a child responding to sudden hardship, much as were the other non-professional child actors in “Whale Rider” or “Rabbit-Proof Fence” (two favorite films).

If there’s anything negative to be said about “Water”, it’s that there are moments which feel slightly formulaic or romanticized. But these are far outweighed by the beautiful cinematography and a few unexpected moments. If you prefer to see movies of consequence, which widen your view of the world and give you something to talk about afterwards, then see “Water”.

Clam Chowder rant

26 April 2006, 20:03

Dear California Restaurateurs:

I grew up in Boston. I know clam chowder. Do not confuse Boston Clam Chowder with New England Clam Chowder. Do not advertise New England Clam Chowder as Boston Clam Chowder.

Boston Clam Chowder does not have cream in it; it is a clear broth. New England Clam Chowder has cream in it. And by the way Manhattan Clam Chowder is a clear broth (no cream) but with tomato.

Here is some Clam Chowder math in case this is not clear:

Boston Clam Chowder + cream = New England Clam Chowder

Manhattan Clam Chowder – tomato = Boston Clam Chowder

Thank you.