Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Stand clear of the closing doors

I almost got into a fight today on the subway. Really! Me, the pacifist! But I was coming out of a crowded subway train and a throng of people were pushing their way in, before any of us could make our way out. "Getting out," several of us called, but they didn't stop. I said, "Let the passengers out first," mimicking the standard conductor refrain and pushed my way through the entering crowd, leading with an outstretched hand. One guy growled, "Watch the hand," as he continued to try to force me back into the subway car. I moved past him and said, "Would you rather it be with my fist?" and he did the old barroom swagger of, "You wanna try?" At which, in an adrenalin daze, I walked away.

In my defense, I had been at a cocktail reception where I only had one glass of wine but clearly something that didn't sit well in my stomach. Shrimp? Crab cakes? Rich chocolate dessert? Cheese? I felt so ill getting into the subway that I really thought I might pass out walking down the stairs. On the train I felt better, and once I'd almost come to blows with the Pusher, I made it up to the street and fresh air and felt better.

Not as good as now in my air-conditioned bedroom with a tall glass of water and my new computer.

I was right.


I am back to loving my new computer again. I have loaded almost everything, and all is going smoothly. I even took it "out" for a spin, wandering down to the Tea Lounge yesterday afternoon during a "work from home" afternoon. I probably needed a new one anyway, but I'm a)cheap thrifty soul, b)don't usually make major buying decisions until I'm forced into them, c)prefer to spend time researching brands and models before buying electronics, and d)am still smarting from putting the down payment on the apartment.

Speaking of which, no word yet from the sellers attorney that they've signed the contract. No response from the broker. Am I wrong to be freaking out? I called my lawyer and he's following up also.


Monday, July 30, 2007


Firefox is the solution.

monday blues

Just when I'd decided that I really liked my new computer, just when I was relishing the ease at which I was able to load my software and drivers and files, I get hit with major frustration. This morning, Internet Explorer was super slow, freezing up constantly, and not allowing me to access my online writing course site. I don't know if it's IE 7 (which we haven't even upgraded to at work as they are concerned about its functionality), Vista, or the free trial security software that came with it. Or all three.

It was 6:15 am, and I didn't have time to do battle, just time to dress and run out the door for the gym. I'm even more woefully behind in my writing course, and it's embarrassing to have to come up with all of these endless excuses.

Tonight I'll try installing my own copy of Norton Internet Security and disabling the pre-installed one. Maybe I should just call Best Buy's Geek Squad.

I mean, isn't that what they are for?

* * *

I did go see "The Simpsons" yesterday afternoon. I loved it at first - so cool to see the characters on the big screen (and I sat near the front of the crowded theater, and they were BIG), and there was much clever in-joking and a distinct sense of freedom from TV network standards (not too much, just slightly more adult, in a playful way.) And it's fun to watch in a crowded theater of laughing people (unlike my quiet apartment.) But after awhile it just became another Simpsons episode, longer, and not necessarily one of my favorite. Enjoyable, but not spectacular.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Starting over and over and over

Last night I accidentally spilled a nearly full glass of diet coke on my laptop.

Computers don't like diet coke.

Despite my best efforts to clean up the mess before it got too bad, the computer started sputtering and buzzing and then died. I let it dry out overnight, used canned air to try to dry it more - I can't go on, let's just say it never revived.

I am now on a brand new laptop, purchased shortly after the doors opened at Best Buy. So far I like it but I haven't installed much yet. I have the routine down from the two recent times I had to re-load everything after sending the old one in for service. I just am too tired.

And broke. Like I really needed another major expense right now.

It's pouring. I want to go see a movie but I just missed the start times for almost every one playing across the street, so I guess I'll keep loading software for the next two hours until the next start time.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Baby baby, don't get hooked on me

The trend of smock/babydoll dresses and tops is becoming problematic, because I am easily convinced that anyone and everyone is possibly pregnant. A woman I work with, young and married, has worn a couple of them this week and I find myself fixated with trying to see how much of the poof is the natural draping of the garment, and how much might be a growing waistline.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


After meeting with the lawyer, I worked from home for the rest of the day. I love the end of the work-at-home-day, when I just turn off my computer and immediately am free. None of that annoying commute (even though mine is fairly short) to wade through. Today, though, I felt restless, half in the mood to celebrate, half afraid. I took my recycling out and though I might go find something festive for dinner, but then I passed the movie theater and "Hairspray" was starting in 15 minutes.

So I had popcorn for dinner, and celebrated the signing of the contract with a film. (I haven't seen one in 10 days, so was nearing withdrawal state.)

I loved the movie. Is it just the movie or am I simply in a joyous mood? I think I'm still afraid to be happy (until the seller signs the contract I can't allow myself to be too happy) but the movie, the music, the dance, the entire uplifting spectacle of it has given me an outlet to feel great.

Long and Winding Process

Signed a big contract, wrote a big check. Ready to take a big long sigh of relief when I have confirmation that the seller has signed as well.

Until then, waiting to exhale.

(and feeling broke.)


We are in the process of moving my grandmother into assisted living. This is where she lives now. Thank god she is staying with a daughter upstate. She's easily confused and this would have terrified her, especially if she were there alone.

the Hallows

I am about halfway through "Harry Potter and the Ghostly Hallows." Even though I'm enjoying the read, I also am finding that opening the book is a great way to fall asleep. It's happened on Sunday afternoon on the couch, on the nights over the weekend when I turned in early to bed, on a commuter train coming back to the city Monday night. Last night I started reading at about 7 and had dozed off by 8:15, an obviously early bedtime, even for me.

I'm really not bored by the book. Maybe the sheer volume of pages awaiting me, even after finishing 400+, is exhausting.

This is why I am awake at 3:30 am.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Keeping on keeping on

I didn't mean the last post to sound so tragic. I'm just royally pissed, and can't relax until I finally sign the contract (scheduled for tomorrow afternoon) despite the realtor's assurances that I can.

Did you know

that in New York State, an accepted verbal offer for real estate is not binding? That a seller can accept other bids up until a contract is signed?

Yes, I knew it, but I was confident that it wouldn't happen to me, that no other offer would come in during the period my attorney was reviewing the contract. While he was waiting for information from the seller's attorney so we could sign.

Welcome to reality, smack right in the face.

Still might work out, but I'll be slightly poorer. I feel like I've been punched in the gut.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Welcome back

I was away for a long weekend, and now am back. Nothing much has changed: the same pile of non-urgent-but-necessary work at the office, the same mid-coop-buying process inertia, the same uncleaned apartment, etc. Bonus: a new online writing course that started last week and will add more to the stack of "things I must do" or be plagued with guilt.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Pet me

My new apartment allows small pets on approval. My fish, eager to please, have begun sprucing up, and I haven't the heart to tell them that they are exempt and will not need to interview with the coop board. But the question remains, should I think about getting a cat again, or even going all out for a small dog?

These are not questions that I want to answer now. I have months, and will probably allow myself to fully settle in before making a decision. And yet, when I see announcements of pet adoption fairs or they feature shelter animals on local morning news shows, my heart beats a little faster.


What do you do when you're in the office, about to start a late meeting, and co-workers begin to receive text messages and cell phone calls indicating that a)a building has collapsed near Grand Central, b)a transformer has blown up in midtown, c)Grand Central itself has blown up, and c)people are running through the streets covered in ash, in an eerie repeat of 9/11?

You run to the omnipresent TV monitors, where oddly enough CNN is covering something completely unrelated. You flip open your laptop, log onto wireless Internet, and find that the only websites with anything are NY1 and Newsday, both of which at this early point have barely two paragraphs. "Not terrorist-related," is the only phrase that pops out, although the cynic in you wonders how they can know this within 15 minutes.

No mention of collapsed buildings, and when, hours later, you finally have access to a TV, you learn that a water pipe explosion sent debris and steam flying so high into the air that the scene was covered in smoke and dust, similar to when the towers fell.

When the towers fell? I was on that very same street near Grand Central, watching in horror as a huge plume of white smoke began to race uptown towards us.

But we are practical as ever. After "are you okay?" the first questions always are, "are the trains running?"

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Games People Play

I wrote the Harry Potter post yesterday but was interrupted before I posted it, and forgot completely until now.

Did I mention that my offer was accepted and I'm now in the flurry of legal contract/coop board application/mortgage applications? Actually, it's less stressful than I expected, mostly just setting things in motion and then waiting for it all to fall into place. (For example, calling the lawyer and connecting him with the broker, now waiting for him to receive the contract and review it.)

I don't think that a closing in August is possible, with the whole approval process, but who knows. I anticipate moving sometime in September or even October. That seems so far away, and yet I'm freaked out by how much I'll have to do! This weekend I celebrated by going through my kitchen cupboards and filling three shopping bags for the thrift store, and another for the trash pickup.

I also cleaned out the drawer in my TV stand and found my old Nintnedo. The original, from the early 90's. I was already in my 30's when I asked for it for Christmas, and quickly developed an addiction. Nothing crazy - just Super Mario Bros. and Tetris - but I stayed up til 3 and 4 in the morning a few times. I was really disappointed when the next generation systems came out, and they stopped making and selling games for the original NES. (My addictive side moved onto PC games like the Sims. I still am limited in games as I hate anything that involves violence or death or shooting.)

I toyed with the idea of taking the system to the thrift store, but then hooked it up to the big TV, and voila, it still works! But I can't get past level 1-3 of Super Mario, despite a couple of hours of practice.

I think I'll keep it. Especially as I realize that now I can buy the old games on Ebay.


Monday, July 16, 2007

Order of the Phoenix

I'm not sure what I thought of the Harry Potter movie. My feelings are all mixed up with anticipation of the newest book. I supposed that's the intention. Although I am much more interested in knowing what happens in the final book than re-living "The Order of the Phoenix," which was not my favorite. I think (and my memory is faulty, so I'd have to re-read them all to be sure, a task one of my siblings has laid out for himself these past few weeks) that it's because it's the first break from the traditional structure, without a comic relief Harry-at-his-uncle's-home scene, followed by the train to Hogwarts. But also I think Harry is out of sorts throughout the novel, which left my reading brain somewhat cranky as well.

As a film, it's fine. I didn't walk out of the theater with the sense of awe I felt after "The Prisoner of Azkaban," (the third in the series, directed by Alfonso Cuaron.) I remember my body literally going cold during the scene where the dementors come to Harry and friends on the train, so richly was it filmed. (And when I say "literally," I mean it, not in that annoying way that people do when they mean "figuratively.) (You know, that pet peeve has been dormant for a bit. I think the trendiness of "literally" has subsided. Thank god.)

But, I still got caught up in the mood, was reinvested in caring about the characters, and was dazzled by some of the effects. So all in all, a success.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Getting closer...

My bid can practically touch theirs.

* * *

So, there's this woman at work who has a habit of getting on my nerves. I don't think she realizes how abrasive she is, or maybe she does, but I simply can't believe someone is okay with that. Anyway, her first question to me was, "How many bedrooms?" Which I had to repeat back to her in confusion, because, well, I'm a single woman buying an apartment in the city, how many bedrooms did she think? I finally said, "One," and she said she couldn't imagine only having one bedroom. She likes to switch it up and sleep in different rooms according to her mood.

Kill me now.

She also lives far out at the edge of another borough, in a complex she bragged to me was "so much like suburbia you don't even think you're still in the city." To which I responded, "But I love living in the city. If I wanted suburbia, I'd be living in suburbia."

But I hate suburbia.

* * *

I will be away next weekend, when the Harry Potter book is released. So I just ordered a copy on Amazon to be sent to the relative's address I'm staying at. Oh, it's not because I can't wait a day or three, it's also for the fun of it: I'll be with family members who were fans long before me, and in fact were the ones to get me interested. Maybe we can have an old-fashioned read-aloud at night, and dive into the first chapter together.

I just saw the Harry Potter movie, but I'll save that for another time.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Still negotiating

I am sure that the response I receive next will be their final offer, and I'll have to accept it or walk away. It's okay, as almost anything between their last asking price and my last offer would work. (Obviously, anything closer to my end of the spectrum would work better.)

Once I burrow through the layers of terror associated with giving away all of my life savings, I will be faced with the fear of going through my multiple years of accumulated stuff to actually prepare to move.

Oh, crazy.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

How friendly are those skies?

I've had pretty good airline karma lately. (Even good baggage karma; after the debacle of my diverted luggage a few years ago, mine is consistently one of the first off of the carousel on any flight I take.) You'd think that even saying any of this is tempting fate, but I am not worried, because, well, my karma has completely deflated.

So, yes, yesterday morning the live reports at LaGuardia frightened me, and jumping out of the cab to see massive lines of weary, baggage-laden travelers trying to check in was horrifying. The first bank of self-service ticket machines was down, but despite a momentary panic attack, there was another that was both working and without much of a line. And amazingly, security had no line at all - I suppose it would as soon as the crowds waiting to check in got through, but I sailed past without a hitch. Flight? Left on time, arrived at my destination early. A gleeful taxi ride, practically aglow with the great luck I possess.

Fast forward to the end of the day, when I am back at Logan. No problem again at the security check, and the monitors say my flight is on time. But look, hmmm, the flight that was supposed to go to JFK an hour before mine? On extended delay. Weird. Seems all flights in and out of JFK are stopped, but LaGuardia is okay. We think. Our gate crew huddles and whispers and smiles when they are approached. The clock ticks, closing in on our departure time and we are still waiting. The CNN monitor dangling from the ceiling tells us that Lady Bird Johnson has died, and we're momentarily distracted. Then, suddenly, we're told to board. "Thank you for your patience!" says the chipper crew member, and one of her colleagues says something to her and she just shrugs.

On the plane, pushing back from the gate. Our first announcement, of many. Seems like LaGuardia is starting to limit flights coming in and out. We'll have another update in a half hour, but they wanted to get us on the plane and queued up to leave so as soon as it did open up, we'd be poised to move. The pilot gives a very lengthy explanation, as he does of every bit of information he shares over the next three hours. I think it was effective - at least we feel like we know what's going on and aren't being lied to, and it seems they want to get the hell out of there as much as we do. We watch as a plane sitting next to us has to return to the gate because they risk running out of fuel, a danger we're told we are prepared to avoid. But we sit, 20 of us, waiting for a flight that consists of only 45 minutes of actual flying time, for over three hours.

The penultimate announcement is that it's likely our flight will be cancelled. The storm coming from one direction (west?) has passed, but another is bearing down on NYC from the south. If we don't grab a window of opportunity in the next fifteen minutes or so, we're going to go back.

My mood is oddly calm. I'm not rushing to get anywhere (but home), the flight was leaving relatively early so that it wasn't yet the middle of the night, despite the delays, and I had the foresight to grab dinner in the airport, as well as a new book. We can use our cell phones and I break all of my personal taboos and have a long personal conversation in public. The plane is half empty so I have a row to myself so am not uncomfortable. (Comparatively.)

And then, boom, with barely an announcement, we have been given the go-ahead and the engines come on and we're moving and within a short time we're up up and away. An uneventful flight (a few bumps) and a quick landing.

Home. Three hours late, but home.

Now this is either the end of my good airline karma, or I'm now on the flip side and will run into trouble whenever I fly. Only time will tell.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Friendly Skies

I'm up getting ready to go to the airport and flip on the TV for the weather report, and first thing I see (with the uncanny timing you only get when you're in a movie or TV show) is a lead story about delays at LaGuardia. My flight is short so I hope that I'm not affected, otherwise this brief business jaunt will turn into a nightmare.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007



Sunday, July 08, 2007

Hot pockets

It's 11:00 am and already 86 degrees. I'm holed up in my apartment with the curtains drawn and the a/c and fans on. I have to leave in a few minutes, though, to get in the subway and go all the way to the Upper West Side to meet family for lunch. At least the subways are usually well air-conditioned (except on those horrifying occasions - notably rarer than when I first moved to the city - when you land in one with no a/c.)

Now that I've said that, I'm doomed to be cursed with a hot car.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

I did it.

I made an offer on an apartment. I'm not sure that it will work out, and if it does, I'll be seriously broke for awhile. But in the long run, it should be good.

Luckily, as soon as I said the words to the realtor I felt a big weight lift, and the rest of our conversation I was hyped up and confident. The rest of today I spent on a high, so I think I made the right decision.

Of course, having just made a potential decision costing me many thousands of dollars, what do I do but go shopping. I didn't go too overboard, but I really need to curb that compulsion.

I should hear by Monday if my offer is accepted...

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Yes, I did make it to another movie yesterday and now, my brain is totally blank. What was it??? That's what a day back in the office will do to you - completely destroyed my brain cells.

Oh, yes, "Introducing the Dwights," (aka "Clubland") an Australian comedy starring Brenda Blethyn (no, she's not Australian, but she plays the British mother of the Australian family.) It's pretty good, if you are not turned off by Blethyn's patented screechy acting. (I was first exposed to it in "Little Voice," a film also starring Michael Caine and Ewan MacGregor and Jane Horrocks (Bubble from "Absolutely Fabulous"), which I was actually in a test audience for. I saw it again when the final version came out and was pleased to see some changes that coincided with what our group had suggested. Not that I'm taking any credit personally, of course...)

Where was I? (I told you, the brain is softened today.) Oh, yes, Brenda Blethyn screeching. The rest of the film is an interesting dysfunctional family comedy with an endearing young lead actor and a twisty-turny somewhat-surprising plot. The only drawback for me was the character of her mentally retarded son, who seemed to be played inconsistently with the developmentally disabled people I know. His dialogue was smart and quick and witty, yet delivered in a thick, slow accent, and at times his behavior appropriately mimicked a young child, while other times he showed a maturity beyond his years. I know I'm no expert, but it seemed like the filmmakers didn't know what they wanted him to be: a clever, nerdy kid? a needy, dependent adult? a comic foil? a sad sack?

Well, I just spent more lines on a minor character than the rest of the movie. I guess I could sum it up by this: at one point about midway through, I thought, wow, I'm really liking this a lot. And then about twenty minutes later, I thought, isn't this over yet? So good, maybe very good at times, not great.

* * *

Seriously my brain hurts.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A Mighty Heart, and a Breath

Movie number 4 in 5 days. I feel like I'm running a marathon, only instead of bruised and calloused feet I have a withered tongue from all of the salty popcorn. But since I think I could live on popcorn (and Diet Coke), I'm not exactly complaining. "A Mighty Heart" is all that you've heard: it's good and powerful and sad, and more of a police procedural than a sappy invitation to give Angelina Jolie another Oscar. Yes, it's hard to completely forget that she's, well, Angelina Jolie, but she's not on screen all of the time, and when she is, she's very good.

* * *

To clarify my comments the other day about seeing my doctor in the iPhone line, it's not that I think he's less of a doctor for wanting an iPhone. It's just that he's a very serious professional, never engaging in small talk or anything remotely personal (unlike the cheery chap who's my OB/GYN or the grandfatherly gastroentrologist who calls me "sweetie" in an entirely non-offensive way.) So to see him exhibiting normal human behavior in a very public setting is just a bit unnerving.

* * *

I'm calmer today. I talked to the realtor and they basically are waiting for me to make an offer. I am taking a friend back to see the apartment later this week and then I'll be ready. I don't think this is a mistake, but it's still the biggest purchase I'll ever make. (Until the next apartment, haha.) Remember, I don't own a car or anything. The most expensive thing I've ever bought was - a computer? my new TV? Nothing close to a half million dollar home.

* * *

I might just make 5 movies in 6 days, as several new ones are opening tomorrow in light of the Fourth of July holiday. Although, if it rains tomorrow as predicted, I have fantasies of cleaning out my refrigerator. I know, I'm so much fun! But the idea of rain, a good DVD and a sponge soaked in Clorox sounds like a great way to transition back to a workday on Thursday. Then, just two days of (quiet, empty, dead) work, and another weekend!

Evening with La Vie En Rose

I have a few days off, ostensibly to finish a short story draft and generally get my life organized, but have been, as usual, not very productive. But also not unproductive in that deliciously relaxing and lazy "at least I got cleared my head and got some reading done" way. In addition to apartment obsession, I left work with a large question mark hanging over my head (it's promotion time, and my review isn't until I get back later this week) that I think I'm not bothered by, but which is creeping into my dreams. I need a vacation from my brain.

Sounds like a perfect week to go to the movies. I seriously would have packed in 6 movies in 6 days, if only there were 6 I wanted to see (and haven't yest seen.) Summer is tough, as I have no interest in children's movies or in action movies, and the selection of independents is fairly light. But in addition to "Sicko," I have managed to catch "Evening" and "La Vie En Rose."

"Evening" is, sadly, not very good. It has some wonderful actors: Vanessa Redgrave, Claire Danes, Toni Collette, Natasha Richardson. Mamie Gummer, Meryl Streep's daughter, plays - well, not it's not really appropriate to call her a younger version of Meryl Streep's character, since the younger has twenty times more screen time than her mother. I don't think I've ever seen her act, and I was distracted by noticing how much she looks like her mother: the tiny close set eyes, the small mouth, the long aristocratic nose. Sadly she doesn't have her mother's glorious cheekbones, but she has at least some of her talent.

As I said, all of the acting was pretty good, but the story is pretty weak. I'm not sure how much it follows the novel, but following the movie was one unsurprising plot turn after another. I think I've seen/read this story a hundred times, and it never really gets any more interesting. Too bad, because it's not often you have this caliber a group of women together on screen.

"La Vie En Rose" is a biography of Edith Piaf. Like all bio-films of famous artists, it has the obligatory sad childhood, artistic struggle, and rise and fall of success and fame. Illness, drug addiction, death, despair. You know the drill. Like most bio-films of famous artists, the acting is stellar - good thing, as the entire film always hangs on that one central performance.

But it's still a genre that leaves me cold. I've said this before, but I don't like to rush past someone's life for two hours, only hitting the high notes and the low notes, grabbing onto plot milestones while most character development is, by necessity, left by the wayside. The French writer director Oliver Dahan tries to mix up the standard formula by tossing in scenes out of sequence; we flit from the 30's to the 60's to the 50's and back again. This makes for an element of confusion (did this scene happen before that other scene, or after?) which at the time seemed preferable to a straight forward boring narrative, but in retrospect I'm not sure. It made it even more difficult to embrace the character, as she was constantly changing. I think if you forgo chronological structure you need to have some kind of emotional curve, and that, too, was somewhat of a mess.

Still, Marion Cotillard's Edith Piaf on her deathbed was much more powerful than Vanessa Redgrave's fictional Ann on hers. And surely, if you are a fan of Edith Piaf's singing (all of which is lip-synced by Cotillard in the film), it's something.

Monday, July 02, 2007


I had a major anxiety attack today. It hit heaviest as I sat on a bench in Fulton Ferry State Park, between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, a place I'd gone to in order to escape what felt like a weight on my chest. I think it's likely the realization that I may be ready to make an offer on an apartment, a move that is terrifying, and yet my response has been to react irrationally to other, ancillary things. Unfortunately, despite the beautiful day, the lovely view of Manhattan, the peace of the park, and the several projects I had with me (a story to revise, a letter to write, an unopened novel to begin), I couldn't sit there more than a few minutes without feeling I would scream. I am afraid that I have now tarnished any visit to that park with the association of panic and dismay.

How stupid to be afraid to make a move, when it's the move I've been anticipating for many months now. I am worried that it means that I'm not enough in love with this apartment, that if it were another I'd have fewer reservations and more certainty, and less angst. And then I tell myself that it's just the natural fear of facing such a large decision. And then I don't know which it is, and it all gets crushed together and I feel worse, and I know even less what I should do.

Still Sicko

David Denby in The New Yorker had the opposite reaction that I did to "Sicko." He liked the beginning of the movie, but hated when Moore switched his focus from what was wrong with our health care system to what is right with those in other countries. Granted, Moore's constant refrain of "So what did this cost you?" and mock surprise at hearing "Nothing!" could be seen as tiresome, but I don't think it negated the message. Denby felt that instead of wasting time with this silly stunt, he could have investigated how some of these systems could be adapted for the U.S. In fact, he says:

Moore winds up treating the audience the same way that, he says, powerful people treat the weak in America—as dopes easily satisfied with fairy tales and bland reassurances. And since he doesn't interview any of the countless Americans who have been mulling over ways to reform our system, we’re supposed to come away from “Sicko” believing that sane thinking on these issues is unknown here. In the actual political world, the major Democratic Presidential candidates have already offered, or will soon offer, plans for reform.

I would have loved to see some of this, but maybe he was afraid to suggest that a solution is in the works, at the risk of making the audience complacent. Or maybe he doesn't believe enough has been done or will be done. I think he also wanted to start the dialogue, not exhaust it. Interestingly enough, Denby's opinion is not shared with the majority of viewers; the movie has one of the highest ratings on Rotten Tomatoes I've seen in awhile.

However it still bothers me that one of Moore's scare tactics, that you will be denied coverage if you have a pre-existing condition from an exhaustive list, isn't entirely true.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) became a law in 1996. Title I of HIPAA protects your rights to health insurance coverage when you change jobs, lose a job, get divorced, become pregnant, or move.

Basically, you can't be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition if you switch employers or health insurers. So how old is this footage of people potentially being turned down for having asthma? Or are these people who are not protected because it's their first job with insurance? I wish he had addressed this, because otherwise it looks as if he's taking anecdotal evidence out of context to bolster his premise. Isn't this what his detractors claim he always does? How does this help his credibility?

But what really annoys me is that Moore is manipulating the same scare tactics that he denounces in "Bowling for Columbine." One of the things I liked best about that film was how Moore incorporated ideas from "The Culture of Fear: Why Americans are Afraid of the Wrong Things." He derided the ways in which our media uses fear to gain our attention, and yet isn't that what he's doing here? Here are four or five horror stories that were caused by our current health care system. And this could happen to you.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


"Election" has replaced "Fatal Attraction" as the movie that's always on in the middle of the night/early morning when I wake up and can't sleep. I remember the first time I saw it, I thought, how brave of Matthew Broderick to allow himself to be filmed looking so old and dumpy and out of shape. Now I watch it and think, wow, Matthew Broderick used to be young and cute and thinner. Who has changed more, Matthew Broderick, or me?
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