Compartment3 — April 2003

Monday, April 28, 2003
I've updated my Home Page. Take a look. The only section that's really done is Chris and Linda's Honeymoon. Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003
Now, a couple of book reviews.

I read The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair That Changed America. This is the story of the 1892 Columbian Exposition World's Fair in Chicago, and the story of Dr. H. H. Holmes, charming physician and serial killer. The beauty of the White City, as the site of the fair was called, is not just a backdrop for murder, but is and integral part of the story showing how good and evil can co-exist at the same place and at the same time. You won't soon forget Dr. Holmes, who preyed on young women attracted to the Fair and the City, and the hotel he built to his macabre specifications. He embodied a medical term then just coming into use: psychopath. Recommended.

During my exile from the working world, I've been reading the Amelia Peabody Mysteries. I've just finished the ninth book, Seeing a Large Cat. The stories revolve around Amelia Peabody Emerson, archaeologist and proto-feminist, and her amazing family in late 18th and early 20th century Egypt. While all they want to do is scientifically excavate Egyptian antiquities, they can't escape the thieves and murderers that always seem to pop up. I recommend starting at the beginning like I did, you'll enjoy seeing the characters change and grow. If you're not as fast a reader as I am (or don't have as much free time as I do), I recommend starting with Lion in the Valley, where the Emerson's arch-enemy, the Master Criminal (aka, the M.C.) is introduced. Enjoy! Recommended.

Some reviews today.

First, a couple of DVD reviews. The Missus and I both enjoyed The Bourne Identity very much. Though I'm not a big fan of Matt Damon, I thought he did a fine job as the lead, with the able assistance of Franka Potente, a favorite since I saw her in Run, Lola, Run. (You should rent that too, if you've never seen it.) The Bourne Identity was pretty smart (nobody had to act like a total moron to advance the plot) and had some pretty good action scenes. This movie asks you to buy into the idea that the CIA has trained assassins in every city in the world, ready to take action after one (top secret) phonecall. I'd like to believe that. I have a list of people that should be assassinated, most of them French. Recommended.

I also enjoyed The Transporter. Jason Statham stars as an ex-Special Forces dude who lives in Europe and makes his living transporting "packages" from one point to another, no questions asked. The opening of the movie, climaxing in an incredible extended car-chase scene, was awesome. The rest of the movie, even with the help of the beautiful Shu Qi as the damsel in distress, isn't quite as good as the start. After he kung-fu's his thirty-seventh straight bad guy in the same fight, you ask yourself how is he still standing? Doesn't he need at least some Gatorade or a Power Bar or something? That said, it's still a really fun action movie.

Next I'll review some books.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003
Here's a nice picture of me and the Missus, taken by Ray Flanagan.

Played golf with Scott and the Vrankos on Sunday. It was a truly gorgeous day. I shot a 90! I'd be even happier if I didn't triple bogey the 18th. I could've broken 90 for only the second time in my life. Now I know how Tiger feels after Augusta this year.


Thursday, April 10, 2003
I like this one:
Two French Admirals are berating a US Naval Attache. "Why must we speak to you in English? Why don't you have to learn French instead of our having to learn English?"

"Maybe because we arranged it so you didn't have to learn German?"

Wednesday, April 09, 2003
A story passed along by my brother from a DC commuter:
To nobody's surprise there were protesters today in DC, they attempted to disrupt the metro system and block the Key Bridge, a leading artery into DC from Northern Virginia. I got hosed twice because I come in from NoVA on the metro and it is raining hard which makes traffic worse any way. My commute was long and arduous and only caused further resentment for protesters (but that isn't the point of this thread).

Anyway, I'll get to the point. I got off the train in Rosslyn because I had to use the bathroom and the train was moving quite slowly. When I was getting back on the train, there were protesters on the train platform handing out pamphlets on the evils of America. I politely declined to take one. An elderly woman was behind me getting off the escalator and a young (20ish) female protester offered her a pamphlet, which she politely declined. The young protester put her hand on the old woman's shoulder as a guesture of friendship and in a very soft voice said, "Ma'am, don't you care about the children of Iraq?"

The old woman looked up at her and said, "Honey, my first husband died in France during World War II so you could have the right to stand here and bad mouth your country. And if you touch me again, I'll stick this umbrella up your ass and open it."

I'm glad to report that loud applause broke out among the onlookers and the young protester was at a total loss for words.


Tuesday, April 08, 2003
It looks like Ed might be cancelled. Bummer. Not a big bummer, but a bummer nonetheless. I always seem to find some quirky, funny shows to watch. You know, the shows that aren't especially ha-ha funny, but funny. Ed is a great show, well-written and usually good for at least a half-dozen laugh-out-loud moments. But supposedly it's "on the bubble" and may not make it to the fourth season. I don't know anyone else who watches it. Maybe I should've tried to convert people, but now it's probaby too late.

Cupid was a show that I still remember fondly, that only lasted for one season before being cancelled. When the Missus and I first started dating, we'd stay in on a Saturday night and watch it. I still remember sitting on the floor of her little apartment in the Cascades. Nobody I know watched that one either. Wise-cracking Jeremy Piven played the eponymous god of love, kicked off of Mount Olympus until he could hook-up 100 couples. For some reason, he ended up in Chicago and under the care of a psychologist played by the yummilicious Paula Marshall. (She was the girl that thought Jerry and George were gay on Seinfeld. Not that there's anything wrong with that.) It was the best work either Piven or Marshall have ever done. Add good writing and you have a great show. Maybe I should've tried harder to convert people back then too.

So watch Ed, for Pete's sake! It's on this Friday. We've got one last chance people! Let's get to work!

Friday, April 04, 2003
Running some errands today, I saw a sign in the median of the highway in Cascades that said:
Lower Loudoun Girls Softball League
That's all it said. I thought that interesting for a number of reasons.

Firstly, where do they get the Lower? I've never heard of Lower Loudoun County before. I can just imagine the girls in the Higher Loudoun County League teasing all of the Lower girls. As Sting sang, "You know how bad girls get."

The second thing is that the web is great! Yeah, okay, you know that. You're reading a weblog, for Pete's sake. But think about this. It's 1985. Still Morning in America. You've just come home from an exhausting day at work. The Japanese are kicking your company's butt. You crack open a Bud, take your shoes off, settle in your favorite chair and click on your (pre-TiVo) TV. Then the phone rings. It's Mr. Yuckapuck wanting to sign up his little Bettie Sue for the softball league you're running. Then there's another call, then another. You're on the frickin' phone all night for two weeks.

The internet is great. Spam and all.

Haven't blogged recently because I've been busy. I've been on a couple of good interviews recently and have a bunch more set up for next week, so things are looking up on the job front. Thanks for your patience Faithful Reader(s). Here's a picture for you of what I've been doing with some of my enforced free time. This is Chris Lee, at the first tee at Poolesville Golf Course on Wednesday. It was a beautiful day, warm and sunny--and I shot a 93. (That's really good for me.)

Tuesday, April 01, 2003
This is pretty good. It's from Jonathan V. Last writing in the Weekly Standard, talking about those who are complaining that the 12 day war in Iraq is taking too long:
Consider the greatest military collapse of modern times, the infamous French fold at the start of World War II. Germany invaded France on May 10, 1940, didn't get to Paris until June 14, and didn't get a French surrender until June 22.

Even the French--the French!--were able to hold out for 44 days. If Saddam prolongs the fighting for another 5 weeks, all he will be doing is rising to the level of military competence set by France.

Please except an apology, my faithful readers (reader?), for my lack of updates. I had a couple of interviews yesterday and today, so I've been studying. Tonight I'm supposed to have a "technical" interview over the phone. Wish me luck.

Meanwhile, some of my illusions that I live in a nice, peaceful neighborhood have been shattered. Shattered, I tell you! It seems that a Loudoun County Prostitution Ring has been operating in a house in our little development. Check out the story in the Washington Post. Third story down. I love that the suspect has been charged with, and I quote, "maintaining a bawdy place."

I love Loudoun County! So bawdy!