Rescue Dawn


I snuck off to the movies the other day and ended up seeing Rescue Dawn because it was the one that was starting as I arrived at the Angelica Film Center.  What a cool movie. It’s a true story about a Navy pilot during the Vietnam War called Dieter Dengler who gets shot down over Laos and ends up being captured, tortured, and imprisoned. He leads an escape and then finds himself trapped again in the deep jungle. He’s finally rescued just after catching and eating half of a big grey snake. It’s a film by Werner Herzog that stars Christian Bale as Dengler (and evidently he really ate the maggots). Herzog made another movie about Dengler called Little Dieter Needs to Fly that is now number one in my Netflix queue, and Dengler wrote a book called Escape From Laos that is out of print and only available for $168 on AbeBooks. You’d think they would reprint the book on the release of this movie. Hello Random House?Rescue Dawn  It is the kind of real-life survival story that reminds me of Ernest Shackleton’s adventure on the Endurance, or the book Papillon that is one of my all time favorites and a huge inspiration to me when I was a kid. They always make me wonder how I would react to a life-and-death, seemingly hopeless situation. I mean come on, I am sweating like a pig and suffering in the heat of the subway station on the way home from work…


UPDATE: Some of the family members have started a website because they are upset about Herzog’s portrayal of Dengler as the only real hero of the story despite the fact that the prisoners acted as a team. This seems particularly true in the case of Eugene DeBruin who is portrayed in the movie as a psycho who has gone crazy and lost the will to live. (Exactly how I am afraid I would act…). 


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Filed under Adventure, Dieter Dengler, films, movie, Rescue Dawn, vietnam, Werner Herzog

My Wife has Fallen in Love with Jeff Tweedy


And I am (mostly) happy about it.

What happened was that I found this bootleg recording of a benefit solo acoustic show that Tweedy did for his kids’ school in Chicago and was playing it in the bedroom one weekend morning. Tweedy talks a lot during the show; he’s charmingly insecure self-deprecating and funny, while maintaining his performer authority. He continually professes to being really nervous because his kids’ teachers are there, and at one point he sees his wife in the crowd and asks her what she’s doing. She replies that she’s with Anne. “Oh Great.” Tweedy sighs. “Anne’s my son’s teacher,” he says dejectedly, then whispers to himself, “keep-it-together… keep-it-together…”

My wife meanwhile is just melting. “What does he look like?” she asked me. Then she starts listening to the music. My wife’s a bit obsessive; and she’s loyal. So that combination means that she has listened to nothing but Jeff Tweedy and Wilco since that morning a month ago. She has grown particularly enamored by the song Jesus, ect. Now, I love that song too, and have about half a dozen recordings of it on my computer. I made the mistake of pointing that out to my wife and she has proceeded to play the song over and over (and over) again.

I am starting to hate Jeff Tweedy.

By the way, Wilco has a new album out and are currently on tour. I like the new album. It’s not a masterpiece (like YHF) but it has plenty of emotional bang and the guitar playing is somewhere between awesome and totally awesome. It’s well worth a listen…


Filed under Jeff Tweedy, Music, Wilco

The Number Seven

820953010_e0ed2cfba7_m.jpgYesterday, my son and I– along with two school friends and their parents– took the number seven train out to the NY Hall of Science in Queens. In our house we call it the Queens Museum, and it is our favorite city adventure. Getting their is at least half the fun as we always ride in the front car of the seven train and the kids (who are not used to trains that go outdoors) get to look out the front (and side) window.823011617_451394c5b5_m1.jpgIt was a bit much yesterday as all three of the kids wanted to be lifted to see out the front, but we persevered and arrived at 111th Street and the short walk to the museum. It’s a great museum with lots of hands on activities and a great outdoor science playground. My son loved showing the other kids where stuff was, we all did a nice little butterfly project, and got a small taste of the playground. We vowed that the next time we go, we’ll head right up to the science playground. The journey home is always the worst part, but it went fast and a good day was had by all…


Filed under 7 Train, City Adventure, Kids, MTA, Museums, NY Hall of Science, NYC, Queens, Subway


About a year ago I started making mind maps using Mindjet’s MindManager software, and I have become totally addicted to it. I don’t make lists anymore, I make maps. It’s just easier for me to structure and understand information. Others are blogging about it too. It reminds me of the ideas of Edward Tufte and the graphical representation of information (check out his book BEAUTIFUL EVIDENCE). I think this idea of representing information graphically will continue to be more and more important as the number of information sources increases. I wish I could draw you a picture now, or show an interesting graph, but alas all I have are words and links. Give me a break. This is my second post.And I already have regrets about my first. I am sure I could have found a better example of lame-ass videos than Fareed’s Newsweek videos. He’s a smart guy, asking good questions. And he has such a nice smile.I am taking the day off on Friday and spending it with my kid. We’re gonna have some kind of city adventure (perhaps mommy poppins can help?) or we’ll just go fishing in central park.

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Filed under City Adventure, Fishing, NYC, Tufte

Entertaining Videos on Media Sites?

I may be late to the game, but I recently found David Pogue’s videos onNYTimes dot com. These are actually pretty entertaining and such a welcome relief from the dry and humorless attempts elsewhere. Now, I am unusually interested in the six day war and I like Fareed Zakaria but come on, let’s put a little more into the production of these videos.

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Filed under NYTimes, video