March 4th, 2004

count, ten, 10-A

Ten random things: March 4

Ten upcoming events at area Borders book stores:

  1. March 10: Jaycees Book Group (Fairfax, Va.)
  2. March 25: Meet Author Martin Goldsmith of Beatles Come to America (Fairfax, Va.)
  3. March 17: Author Gordon Rhea discusses and signs Carrying the Flag (Frederick, Md.)
  4. March 11: Homeschoolers Enjoying the Classics Book Group (Frederick, Md.)
  5. March 6: Black Women Aspiring for Knowledge Book Group (Frederick, Md.)
  6. March 9: Tiny Tots Storytime (Sterling, Va.)
  7. March 31: Character Tales Storytime (Sterling, Va.)
  8. March 6: It's Mr. Knick Knack! (Vienna, Va.)
  9. March 13: Karen Armstrong (Vienna, Va.)
  10. March 20: Patrick K. O'Donnell (Arlington, Va.)
  • Current Music
    Folds, Ben - "Best Imitation of Myself"

Quality of life

A survey on the quality of life in 215 world cities by Mercer Human Resources Consulting has determined that Baghdad is the worst place in the world to live. Who would have guessed? Other than, you know, everybody.

I don't know where Washington DC placed on this survey. I know from the Mercer web site that it wasn't in the top fifty, and the press release about the survey indicated that Atlanta was the lowest-rated US city, so I know that it was ranked no lower than 66. Of course, it's possible that Washington wasn't included in the survey, but it's hard to imagine that they would have chosen to evaluate Winston-Salem and Lexington but not the nation's capital. But I suppose anything's possible, especially when you're dealing with HR people.

Surveys like this one always make me think about where I live and whether I plan to stay here. When I moved to the DC area in 1992, I don't think I planned to make it a permanent relocation. And even now, after having lived here for twelve years, I still don't really think of myself as a permanent resident, and I certainly don't think of myself as a Virginian. And yet I find myself unable to commit to the idea of relocating, whether back to the Midwest, where I grew up and went to college, or to some other part of the country.

Looking at that survey, I see a handful of American cities to which I'd be willing to move and which are theoretically superior to where I live now. My hometown (well, home metropolitan area) of Chicago tied for 49th with Milan, Italy. (No word on how it compared with Milan, Illinois, though my personal opinion, having visited both, is that Chicago is better.) Boston, which is probably my favorite city other than Chicago, did even better, tying for 41st with one of the 22 American cities named Portland. They're probably talking about the one in Oregon, but I hear great things about Portland, North Dakota. And though I've spent very little time there, I get a good feeling about San Francisco, which ranked 24th overall and tied with Honolulu for first among American cities.

At any rate, this whole thing is kind of moot, because I have no plans to move. I'd have to break my lease, for one thing. And right now, it seems like more trouble than it'd be worth. I'm reasonably happy here, and I have no reason to believe I'd be orders of magnitude happier elsewhere. But who knows what will happen over the next nine months?
  • Current Music
    Beatles, The - "One After 909"
movies, oscars

(no subject)

I have a few more things to say about the Oscars, and then I'm done for the year. There are, I think, some changes that should be made to improve the Academy Awards. Mind you, I'm not talking about things that need to be done to improve the Academy Awards telecast. There's no question that the ceremony could be tightened up some, but those are production issues. My suggestions are about the awards themselves. (And if my suggestions are adopted, it would make the telecast even longer. Which is fine by me. A longer show just means there's more of it to love.)

  • All Academy Awards of Merit, i.e. Oscar statuettes, should be presented during the main Academy Awards ceremony. That includes the competitive awards, the honorary awards, the Scientific and Technical Awards, and the Gordon E. Sawyer Award.
  • A new category should be added for casting. It's hard to overstate the importance of good casting to a movie, and I don't see any reason why casting directors should be treated with less respect than art directors or directors of photography.
  • In addition to the awards given for original score and original song, an Oscar should be awarded for best soundtrack. Pulp Fiction and 2001: A Space Odyssey all had interesting, memorable, and effective scores, but neither was eligible for an Academy Award because neither used any original music. Putting together an original soundtrack composed of existing music is an art that deserves to be recognized by the Academy.

Thus ends Oscar season. And just in time for Daytime Emmy season! I'll have something to say about the nominees later this evening or tomorrow.

  • Current Music
    Bens, The - "Bruised"