Thursday, December 28, 2006

Capricorn Horoscope for week of December 28, 2006

Capricorn Horoscope for week of December 28, 2006

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
Your sins are pretty mild, Capricorn. Still, you have from time to time violated some of your own highest standards; you have on occasion failed to live with impeccable ethical integrity. That's the bad news. The good news is that in 2007 you will have the best chance ever to atone for past mistakes. If done well, your corrective actions will win you a permanent vacation from the hell that those mistakes have sometimes trapped you in.

Monday, December 25, 2006

On the day before, I went to catch up with my
favorite foreign film director and Spanish language films of Pedro
Almodovar. Penelope Cruz is scrumptious in Volver. She and Carmen
Maura are a great pair…. But why does Almodovar have a reoccurring
theme of sexual assault in all his movies? …

I then headed through Times Square, stopping to ask touristas if they
needed help with directions, I love the ones that think they have it
down but they are holding their Maps and Compasses upside down. When
they refuse my help, over my shoulder, I remind them to turn the Map
around or to face the opposite direction for South. It amazes me how
many Tourists think I am gonna run off with their camera when I offer
to take the picture of the whole party so everyone can be in the
picture…I have to reassure them that I am not gonna steal with digital
camera… it doesn't stop me from offering.

I then headed over to the Rockerfeller Center Tree, past the Nintendo
Store, I didn't wrestle a guy for his Wii and I refused to go in. i
knew i would do damage.
I did speak to Elmo, Winnie the Pooh, Sponge Bob and Spiderman all
whom you can have your pix taken with for a small fee. I passed on the
pix and headed past the skating rink to one of my favorite stops. The
Saks windows and then pushed into St Patricks Cathedral. Wow it was
more packed than on Good Friday. I wanted to go visit my favorite
Saints, Briget, Christopher, Jude, Dorothea Day but only made it as
far as St Peter. I lit a candle - i think it was okay, that it was a
Peter candle i lit, cuz i had to bolt before the 530 mass. I knew I
would be there for hours if I didn't get out right then. St Pats was
being prepared for lockdown for midnight mass when all the politicos
and invitees show up to hear the Cardinal give mass….. it was time to
go…with no time to spare...

Down 5th ave, past the raccoon dog coats in the Sean John Window, the
stores on 5th ave where closing, the Empire state building was dressed
in Red and Green and even the Gap was closing on the corner of 34th
and 6th. Do I dare take Mrs Fields up on her buy three, get three free
cookie deal? My head screamed YES YES…my waist band….NO NO so I left
the cookies for santa and got on the train home….

That is how I spent the day before Christmas. …..Everyone has a story
on how they spend the day….we are all given a day…. Long ago, I made a
commitment to share my day in anyway I can….if it means speaking to a
new mom about her beautiful baby or a dog owner walking their dog, or
sharing what I can at the moment… candy canes, my time….a few kind
words ….or a few coins……
I guess, its about how we spend those 24 hours…its something I am
gonna think about as I head into 2007…..
i received a call from santa this week advising me that I was required
to hold class yesterday, even after i explained that the finals were
graded and grades were in and i terminated with the students of SWK
780 Advanced Practice with the Individual. (they were pretty sick of
me and i think that i was tired of Saturdays at 9am in the classroom),
but I called one more class and decided there was only way to hold
class on the saturday before Xmas. Bring Candy, Cookies and Candy
Canes... so i came armed with enough for 25 students and 6 showed
up... so i had all these left over Canes....

As i left class, i walked up Broadway from Soho and started handing
out the canes to the guys who clean the streets, to two firemen in
their truck outside of Dean and Deluca, to a German Tourist looking
for the Statue of Liberty, two Flemmish tourists who wanted to find
Urban Outfitters, the clerks at Duane Reade and coffee drinkers at
Starbucks. The only ones to refuse my candy canes were 4 reindeer
draped women heading for Armani. I saw about 9 Santas and eached
promised me an Nintendo Wii. They got no candy canes... No Wii, no

I made the rest of my deliveries and headed home....after a trip to
the Green Market and
with a ticket to Dreamgirls in my mitts...

Volver is a winner too

The Darkest of Troubles in the Brightest of Colors

Published: November 3, 2006

The action in “Volver” moves back and forth between a workaday neighborhood in Madrid and a windswept village in the Spanish countryside. Really, though, the movie takes place in a familiar, enchanted land — Almodóvaria, you might call it, or maybe Pedrostan— where every room and street corner is saturated with bright color and vivid feeling and where discordant notes of violence, jealousy and fear ultimately resolve in the deeper harmonies of art.

Pedro Almodóvar, the benevolent deity of this world, has revealed it — or, rather, created it — piece by piece from one film to the next. His two previous movies, “Talk to Her” (2002) and “Bad Education” (2004), explored previously uncharted regions of masculine melodrama, while “Volver,” whose title can be translated as “to return,” revisits the woman-centered territory of “All About My Mother” (1999) and “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” (1988). Drawing on influences ranging from Latin American telenovelas to classic Hollywood weepies and on an iconography of female endurance that includes Anna Magnani and Joan Crawford, Mr. Almodóvar has made yet another picture that moves beyond camp into a realm of wise, luxuriant humanism.

“Volver,” full of surprises and reversals, unfolds with breathtaking ease and self-confidence. It is in some ways a smaller, simpler film than either “Talk to Her” or “Bad Education,” choosing to tell its story without flashbacks or intricate parallel plots, but it is no less the work of a master. And it’s a testament to the filmmaker’s generosity of spirit that he effectively hands the movie over to its ensemble of lively and resourceful actresses, and in particular to its star, Penélope Cruz.

Ms. Cruz plays Raimunda, a hard-working woman pulled in every direction by terrible events and by the needs of the women around her. At one point in the film she answers a knock on the door from her neighbor, Emilio (Carlos Blanco), one of the tiny, mostly superfluous handful of men who appear on screen. Emilio, who clearly has a crush on Raimunda, notices a streak of blood on her neck and asks if she’s all right. “Women’s troubles,” she says with a quick smile, which is both a startlingly risqué joke and the literal truth.

Such troubles! The blood belongs to her husband, Paco (Antonio de la Torre), who has recently expired in a bright crimson pool on the kitchen floor after taking a carving knife to the belly. His killing is not exactly to be shrugged off — and he does eventually receive a proper burial of sorts — but he is not exactly mourned either. Men, for Raimunda and her circle, tend to be malevolent, irrelevant or simply absent: straying husbands, predators, dead bodies. They cause a fair amount of trouble, but the point of “Volver” is that it’s not about them.

It is about what American feminists of an earlier era called sisterhood, and also about the complicated bonds of kinship and friendship that Mr. Almodóvar observed as a child growing up among women in traditional, patriarchal, gender-separated (and fascist) Spain. Raimunda’s troubles may be extreme, but she bustles through them with passionate determination, making room for every emotion except self-pity. There are too many other people who need her sympathy, above all her teenage daughter, Paula (Yohana Cobo), who was subject to Paco’s lecherous, unwelcome attention. Raimunda must also tend to Sole (the wonderful Lola Dueñas), her sister, whose face registers loneliness and disappointment even as she tries to radiate busyness and good cheer; to their elderly Aunt Paula (Chus Lampreave); and to Agustina (Blanca Portillo), a neighbor whose sorrows could easily fill another movie. There is also a restaurant to run (it’s Emilio’s, but Raimunda takes over in his absence) and, on the other side of the screen, an audience to tease, charm, provoke and wrap around one of her long, expressive fingers.

With this role Ms. Cruz inscribes her name near the top of any credible list of present-day flesh-and-blood screen goddesses, in no small part because she manages to be earthy, unpretentious and a little vulgar without shedding an ounce of her natural glamour. What’s more, Mr. Almodóvar has had the sly inspiration to cast Carmen Maura, one of the stars of his early, madcap period, as Raimunda’s mother, who seems to have returned from the dead to add a touch of the gothic (and the surreal) to the proceedings. Ms. Maura’s warm good humor is a crucial element in the film’s emotional design. It is a chronicle, mostly, of tragedy and horror, rendered in bright, happy colors.

To relate the details of the narrative — death, cancer, betrayal, parental abandonment, more death — would create an impression of dreariness and woe. But nothing could be further from the spirit of “Volver,” which is buoyant without being flip, and consoling without ever becoming maudlin. Mr. Almodóvar acknowledges misfortune — and takes it seriously — from a perspective that is essentially comic. Very few filmmakers have managed to smile so convincingly in the face of misery and fatality: Jean Renoir and Billy Wilder come immediately to mind, and Mr. Almodóvar, if he is not yet their equal, surely belongs in their company. “Volver” is often dazzling in its artifice — José Luis Alcaine’s ripe cinematography, Alberto Iglesias’s suave, heart-tugging score — but it is never false. It draws you in, invites you to linger and makes you eager to return. It offers something better than realism. The real world, after all, is where we all have to live; for some of us, though, Mr. Almodóvar’s world is home.

“Volver” is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). It has violence, obscenity and sexual references.


Written (in Spanish, with English subtitles) and directed by Pedro Almodóvar; director of photography, José Luis Alcaine; edited by José Salcedo; music by Alberto Iglesias; art director, Salvador Parra; produced by Esther García; released by Sony Pictures Classics. Running time: 121 minutes.

WITH: Penélope Cruz (Raimunda), Carmen Maura (Abuela Irene), Lola Dueñas (Sole), Blanca Portillo (Agustina), Yohana Cobo (Paula) and Chus Lampreave (Tía Paula)

Dreamgirls is a winner

FILM REVIEW; Three-Part Heartbreak In Motown

Published: December 15, 2006, Friday

The dramatic and musical peak of ''Dreamgirls'' -- the showstopper, the main reason to see the movie -- comes around midpoint, when Jennifer Hudson, playing Effie White, sings ''And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going.'' That song has been this musical's calling card since the first Broadway production 25 years ago, but to see Ms. Hudson tear into it on screen nonetheless brings the goose-bumped thrill of witnessing something new, even historic. A former Disney cruise-ship entertainer with a physique to match her robust voice, Ms. Hudson was notoriously dismissed from ''American Idol.'' This sad instance of pop-cultural philistinism is echoed on the cover of the January 2007 issue of Vanity Fair, which omits her in favor of her better-known, thinner ''Dreamgirls'' co-stars Eddie Murphy, Jamie Foxx and Beyoncé Knowles.

Of course such slights are consistent with the character Ms. Hudson plays in Bill Condon's film version of the show, originally written by Henry Krieger (music) and Tom Eyen (book and lyrics). Effie is, at first, the lead singer in a Detroit vocal trio called the Dreamettes (later the Dreams), and also the lover of Curtis Taylor Jr. (Mr. Foxx), the car salesman turned musical entrepreneur who serves as the group's manager. She is replaced, both onstage and in Curtis's affections, by Deena Jones (Ms. Knowles), her skinnier, lighter-skinned and more pliable sidekick, and relegated to poverty and obscurity while the group ascends into the pop firmament (and also leaves the crumbling Motor City for Los Angeles).

''And I Am Telling You,'' for all the defiance of its lyric and the triumphal swell of its orchestration, is thus an anthem of impotence, a proud woman's protest in the face of humiliation and defeat. Like it or not, Effie is going. She has no choice in the matter. But it's not often you go to the movies and see a big-boned, sexually assertive, self-confident black woman -- not played for laughs or impersonated by a male comedian in drag -- holding the middle of the screen. And when was the last time you saw a first-time film actress upstage an Oscar winner, a pop diva and a movie star of long standing? Ms. Hudson is not going anywhere. She has arrived.

The vehicle that delivers her, however, does not always run smoothly. ''Dreamgirls'' is a souped-up, collectors'-edition replica of a model that Detroit -- I mean Hollywood -- used to turn out with ease and regularity. At the moment, and maybe only for a moment, stage musicals seem to be in reasonably good health, with solid revivals and lively new shows filling Broadway theaters. At the multiplexes, however, it's a grimmer story.

Periodic attempts to reinvigorate the form have a way of embalming it in nostalgia or tricking it out with frantic novelty. Or both. See ''Moulin Rouge.'' Audiences who go to ''Dreamgirls'' will have a good time, but they'll be going for old time's sake rather than to encounter anything vital or new.

And if ''Dreamgirls'' is disappointing, it is not for lack of effort by Mr. Condon or his cast, who do their best to combine the big, showy gestures of stage performance with the finer-grained demands of naturalistic screen acting. Like Mr. Condon's other films -- ''Gods and Monsters,'' ''Kinsey'' and ''Chicago'' (which he wrote but did not direct) -- ''Dreamgirls'' takes place at the intersection of fame and desire, where sexual longing gets mixed up with hunger for public recognition.

No one in the movie expresses this tension better than Mr. Murphy, whose character, a soul singer named James (Thunder) Early, fights addiction, obsolescence and the demands of his own ego. Resorting frequently to the shorthand of montage, Mr. Condon for the most part succeeds in sustaining a narrative and emotional flow that links one song to the next.

But the problem with ''Dreamgirls'' -- and it is not a small one -- lies in those songs, which are not just musically and lyrically pedestrian, but historically and idiomatically disastrous. This is a musical, after all, about music, about an especially vibrant and mutable strain of rhythm and blues that proclaimed itself, boastfully but not inaccurately, to be ''the sound of young America.''

Curtis is modeled -- loosely enough to escape litigation -- on Berry Gordy Jr., who turned Motown from a regional record label into a powerhouse. (The Dreams are a parallel-universe version of the Supremes.) The story of Curtis's Rainbow Records is a familiar and potent tale of Faustian show-business ambition, as his climb to the top involves betraying and hurting the people closest to him. But without the right soundtrack, only half the story is being told. The performances are gratifyingly spirited, but what this movie most obviously lacks is soul.

The great Motown songwriters -- Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, the trio of geniuses known to posterity as Holland-Dozier-Holland -- turned out great pop songs by the dozen, cutting bolts of blues, gospel and rock 'n' roll into clean, trim, shiny garments. It is vain to imagine that Mr. Krieger and Mr. Eyen, who died in 1991, could replicate the Motown sound in all its variety, but as it is, the film barely acknowledges its existence.

As the cushioned blasts of overorchestrated thunder assaulted my ears, I would have given anything for a crisp horn chart, a clean drum line, a chattering rhythm guitar or even a memorably witty or catchy verse. Periodically, a character -- Curtis, James or Effie's songwriter brother C. C. (Keith Robinson) -- will announce the arrival of a ''new sound.'' But even though the chronology and the costumes march from doo-wop to disco, everything in ''Dreamgirls'' sounds more or less the same, as the splashy imperatives of show-tune composing overwhelm everything in their path.

The music has the effect of compromising one of the crucial ambitions of the film: to refract the recent history of black America (and, by implication, America itself) through the prism of popular culture. Part of Curtis's dream is to cross over and in the process permanently redefine the mainstream, and you hear a lot of talk about what kind of music will appeal to black or white ears.

You also see archival images (the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; riots in Detroit) that register the aspirations and disappointments of America in the 1960s. But the music provides no guidance through the times, and as it tries to negotiate a period of profound change, it comes to rely on the talents of its production and costume designers, John Myhre and Sharen Davis, both of whom do brilliant work. The decades are marked by the progression of hairstyles, lapels, jewelry and dresses; after a while the experience starts to feel like a long, noisy guided tour through a museum.

Except of course that the dioramas occasionally spring to life when the singers transcend the limitations of the songs. This happens, most memorably, twice: when Ms. Hudson lays claim to ''And I Am Telling You,'' and when Ms. Knowles, late in the movie, lets loose in a recording booth on ''Listen,'' one of a handful of new songs written for the film.

Until that point her character, Deena, has been something of an enigma and, for Curtis, the passive vessel of his ambitions. Ms. Knowles's performance has been static and detached. In her limited work in movies she has never seemed comfortable with acting, shying away from any emotional display that might compromise her steely, hieratic dignity. But when she sings, she is capable of warmth, vulnerability, even ferocity, all of which she demonstrates in ''Listen.'' You cannot help but obey the imperative of the song's title, even as you may wish the movie offered more that was worth listening to.

''Dreamgirls'' is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned) for some sexual content, profanity and drug use.

Opens today in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Directed by Bill Condon; written for the screen by Mr. Condon, based on the Broadway production, book by Tom Eyen, directed and choreographed by Michael Bennett; director of photography, Tobias Schliessler; edited by Virginia Katz; music by Henry Krieger, lyrics by Mr. Eyen; choreography by Fatima Robinson; production designer, John Myhre; produced by Laurence Mark; released by DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures. Running time: 131 minutes.

WITH: Jamie Foxx (Curtis Taylor Jr.), Beyoncé Knowles (Deena Jones), Eddie Murphy (James Early), Danny Glover (Marty Madison), Jennifer Hudson (Effie White), Anika Noni Rose (Lorrell Robinson), Keith Robinson (C. C. White), Sharon Leal (Michelle Morris) and Hinton Battle (Wayne).

Sunday, December 24, 2006

my last 9 months

HOw do i start to describe the last 9 months. It all started last April when i went into work after a job interview to find that I didnt have a job any longer. I went through the motions of cleaning out my desk and packed my car and left Queens. I went to the post office and came home in tears. My friend Dave came over and we worked on computer til i was exhausted and i went for a walk and came home to sleep.

Very Quickly, i learned to like sleeping in. Not having to wake up at 6am. I could get up whenever i wanted. I didnt start staying up to all hours of the night, unless i was out late and it take a few hours to unwind. I spent alots of the Spring and Summer walking. I would walk to the park and back and averaged 5 miles a day. I tried to keep a routine and stick to it. I maintained a weekly visit to Weight Watchers though i started going on Thursday at Noon. I didnt have a need to drive but stayed around on Tuesday to move my car at 1pm.

I saw lots of movies and lots of free music. I sprang for the big ticket artists... Paul Simon, Barbra Streisand and Bob Dylan tribute. I missed CSNY and Paul SImon in NYC. i saw Ralph Stanley with Tres Chica, Elvis Costello, Savion Glover, attended Newport FF, and Falcon ridge with Free tickets provided by FUV and Susan krauss's mom. I went to Philly to see Mary Chapin Carpenter and celebrate my friend Fays Birthday
By summers end, i was enjoying walking and hanging close to home. I really didnt want to go out at night if i didnt have to .

i used my friend's audience extras and saw some theater on sundays or saturdays at 3.00 a ticket... and i spent many many saturday and sundays and friday nights with Dar. I would drive whereever and come in rather late, then i would stay up and sleep in.

In september, i started School... not knowing when i would be working, i chose to teach saturday morning at 9am. I would get up at 6am and drive to manhattan. I had time to prepare and taught Advanced Practice with the INdividual.. i asked for two classes for this coming semester because i didnt know if i would have work.

During this time, i stopped to talk to mom and babys, pet owners and their pets and anyone who would talk to me. I met a guy named Bob, a friend of Bill W who discussed "letting go and Letting G-d" with me. I saw the same drunks on the bench daily and the elderly man and his granddaughter who sit near hte park... I saw the buds come out, turn green, grow leaves, leaves turn to brown and yellow and red and now fall off.

I didnt travel far from Here incase... It was a summer of INCASE... i cut back, incase, i bought things, incase... i didnt do things incase...lots of my time was spent thinking of INCASE...

i went up to massachusetts a few time and spent time with my family and at music events... I took one day of music and 1 day with my family...

One of the things that started to happen was i started to feel things deeply... that hard shell developed after 25 years of being a social worker started to melt away.. i find i am more compassionate and empathetic and feel deeper.. I cry more easily and care more. I shared more with the world and my attitude is more positive... i found lots of coins on the street this summer and helped neighbors, strangers and did random acts of kindness because i could. I shared whatever i had... sent Newport tickets to a stranger so she could go and gave away tickets.

IN april, i volunteered the Tribeca Film Festival and gave lots of my vouchers away.
I gave away my extra FRFF ticket and whenever i could, i helped whomever needed it.
my life slowed down and by summer end, i was getting used to doing one thing per day.. Grocery store, post office, bank.

By fall my umemployment benefits were out and i was living off my savings account. Anxiety increased and the job ads slowed down. I had been applying for any and all jobs that were appropriate and got 2-3 interview per month. by july, i was in the running for two jobs that i wanted. 1 with COFVCCA, as the Director of Training, coorinating city wide training and A trainer with the NYC training Academy. I also interviewed at the accrediation agency and was assured that there was consultant work for me. I was asked to develop trainings for web based and thought some work would come as of the interview and promise. By fall, there was still no work and no promise of work.

I would get calls from ACS periodically and by july, i had a application moving out of ACS into the MBO but with a huge pay cut. City benefits and a union job offer may be worth the cut.

i really didnt walk to talk about it much, part survival, not really sensing that anyone really understood what it was like to be out of work and having no prospects.
i rarely got depressed i just felt that no one could really empathize so i prefered not to talk about it. my WW friends and My hairdresser friends were interested and would ask how things were going. They showed a real interest in my job search and how things were going and i felt that they were cheerleaders.

people i saw alot didnt ask, i had to explain my situation alot and i just didnt want to..

before thanksgiving i answered an Ad at Tower for Xmas temporary help. I worked at minimum wage, 8 hours on my feet filing DVDs. i was sore and tired and pretty uncomfortable. I added 5 extra miles a day, and learned that tower doesnt check criminal records of the staff. I collected the stories of the staff and shared little about me. MOst worked there 20, 15, and 7 years.. no one worked there less than 5 years. They were being layed off this week.

I took a christmas job to help pay christmas bills and to keep me out of the other stores..i worked sunday, monday, wed 9-6 and tuesday 2-11 and thursday 3-12 or 4-1am
i had friday and saturday off.

right before xmas, i got a call from HRA's personnel department to start as a Trainer at ACS. i had to pick up my package and fill it out and bring in my documents to december 22 at 2pm. I went and i will be starting on december 26th. I dont know if i am working in NYC or Queens or both. the salary is way below what i was making but as many people who i ran into told me... ONCE YOU GET INTO THE CITY SYSTEM you can move around. I qualify for the union and city benefits. I will find out all about those on January 2

i am going back to work this week. I hope to savor the time i was home. THere are many things, i never go to.. cleaning closets, dusting again, pulling apart my bookcases... i never really had time but then again, i had nothing but time.

TB continued

Capricorn Horoscope for week of December 21, 2006

Capricorn Horoscope for week of December 21, 2006

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
Happy Holy Daze, Capricorn! I've been meditating on the perfect holiday gift for you. What symbolic offering might inspire you to be in closest alignment with the cosmic currents in 2007? I've decided on Ed Anger's book Let's Pave the Stupid Rainforests & Give School Teachers Stun Guns. Not because I agree with his assertions, but simply because his outrageousness might push you to dream up wild solutions to your same old boring dilemmas; his rowdy spirit may fuel your own rebellious flights of imagination that will inspire you to fight back against the numbing insanity of the loony bin known as "reality."

Thursday, December 21, 2006

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Her Most Noble Lady Sharon the Disappointing of Mousehole by Sea
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Capricorn Horoscope for week of December 14, 2006

Capricorn Horoscope for week of December 14, 2006

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
Harper's Index says the U.S. government spends more than twice as much on military defense than do Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran combined. The aggregate population of those four countries, on the other hand, is five times larger than America's 300 million people. One might reasonably conclude, therefore, that while the U.S. has a right to safeguard itself, its glut of weaponry is absurdly extreme. I'm not definitively asserting, Capricorn, that you, too, are over-invested in defending and protecting your interests, but the astrological omens suggest it's a possibility. Please look into it. In any case, consider freeing up some of your contracted, fearful energy and directing it toward more pleasurable and constructive goals.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


A Surprise TV Star Embraces His Geeky Side

Published: December 4, 2006

Today viewers may know Masi Oka as impish, innocent, time-traveling Hiro Nakamura on the new NBC Monday-night drama “Heroes.” But a few years ago he was in a different line of work, one in which, among other things, he drowned George Clooney.

“I virtually drowned him,” Mr. Oka corrected, referring to his work on the 2000 movie “The Perfect Storm.” As a digital-effects artist with George Lucas’s company, Industrial Light and Magic, one of his tasks was to create the computer models for what became giant waves on screen.

Over breakfast recently at the SoHo Grand Hotel, Mr. Oka tried to explain how he did it. Picking up a pepper shaker, he asked, “If I was to recreate a model of this on computers, how would I do it?” He then went on to explain various ways to model objects: polygonal, in which large numbers of straight lines describe curves; NURBS, which stands for “nonuniform rational b-spline surfaces”; and SUBD surfaces, by which time he had totally lost his audience.

“I’m sorry I’m geeking out here,” he said.

Geeking out comes naturally to Mr. Oka, 31, who made the cover of Time magazine at the age of 10 as one of a group of “Asian-American whiz kids” and graduated from Brown University as a math and computer science major, with a minor in theater.

The two pursuits were not, at least to Mr. Oka, as far apart as they seemed. “I’ve always loved using both the left and right sides of my brain,” Mr. Oka said. “Computer programming is about looking for solutions to problems. So is acting. There is a science to comedy.”

Mr. Oka has an I.Q of 180. He said he was sorry that number was ever published — as it was recently in Entertainment Weekly — and then explained the inadequacy of I.Q. as a predictor of adult intelligence. (“Its natural tendency is to find its limit and homogenize toward 100.”)

Oops. Geeking out again. Perhaps not surprisingly, Mr. Oka is single.

“I still haven’t found my soul mate per se,” he said. “I’ll tell you that I have some feelers out there, but it’s so hard, working in this environment.”

His friends, including the “Heroes” crew — “My makeup and hair folks, they’re looking out for me” — are pitching in as would-be matchmakers, as is his co-star Milo Ventimiglia, who, like Mr. Oka, plays a once-ordinary person who has developed extraordinary powers. Mr. Ventimiglia’s character can fly, and Mr. Oka’s can relocate from Tokyo to Times Square in a heartbeat. Off screen, the two actors hang out.

“We don’t really party-party, but we definitely go to bars,” Mr. Oka said, adding that Mr. Ventimiglia was his mentor in that setting. “Oh, definitely, I’ve learned a lot. It’s quite an art form, watching Milo work.”

With about 14 million viewers a week “Heroes” is one of the season’s few certifiable hits. And Hiro is the show’s most recognizable character, partly because, while the other heroes are tortured by their powers, Hiro revels in his.

“Hiro is a kid,” Mr. Oka said. “He’s the kid that we all once were. He has to lose his innocence and naïveté as he grows in the show.”

That may happen in January, when the show resumes after an initial 10-episode run that ends tonight. In the fall “Heroes” viewers caught a glimpse of a future version of Hiro, sporting a soul patch, a Samurai sword and a mature sensibility. But for now, when Hiro scrunches up his round face and stops time (often to win poker games), it’s a funny moment, not a dramatic one.

Mr. Oka, who moved from Tokyo to Los Angeles with his mother when he was 6, does his own translating on the show (Hiro often speaks in Japanese with subtitles) and makes sure the Japanese phrases are up to date. The danger is that in playing a comical Asian male, he is feeding an old stereotype.

“I guess it’s fact that you’ve rarely seen an Asian guy as a romantic lead,” he said. “That’s for a Brad Pitt or a John Cusack. For me, though, I just try to keep it as authentic as possible. I must say it’s a big challenge to find that fine line between realistic, grounded comedy, yet keep him growing.”

Technically, Mr. Oka, who has played a number of modest roles in television sitcoms, said he had learned from the form how to create funny characters by repeating particular gestures. “Repetition is funny because it’s a character tag,” he said.

In Hiro’s case the tag is a stiff-armed victory salute, accompanied by an exultant shout.

“Part of the comedy is he really believes in what he does, Mr. Oka said. “As long as that point of view’s in there, you’ll always have that comedy, grounded in truth.”

Another truth is that Mr. Oka is enjoying his new celebrity as much as Hiro enjoys his superpowers. After all, for an actor who still drives a 2000 Honda Accord and whose best-known role had been as Franklyn the lab technician on NBC’s “Scrubs,” stardom is a big change.

“My agent read the script and said, ‘My God, I’ve found the role,’ ” Mr. Oka said. “I mean, how many actors are fluent in Japanese, well-trained in comedy and have abundant American TV experience? I felt pretty good going in. I felt like, wow, my niche market. It was like, if this isn’t it, what is?”

hairball of show and tell

kitty of love

giving thanks

giving thanks

Capricorn Horoscope for week of December 7, 2006

Capricorn Horoscope for week of December 7, 2006

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
A Detroit woman became so crushed by despair that she decided to kill herself. Ethel Farbinger's husband and mother had died within the span of a month, and she felt she couldn't go on. Retreating to a bathroom with the intention of plunging a knife into her heart, she was diverted from her plan by a vision shimmering in the toilet bowl. There in the water she saw an image of Saint Padre Pio, who spoke to her. "Ending it all will cause more problems than it will solve," he said. "Let God's love help you through this ordeal." Farbinger's suicidal urges instantly departed, and she returned to her life with a renewed sense of purpose. I don't believe you're in anywhere near as bad a shape as she was, Capricorn, but I suspect there will be at least one similarity between her story and yours: You'll find redemption where once there was crap.

Jane Addams Day

Jane Addams Day
Sunday, December 10, 2006

Celebrate the holiday season and the newly legislated Illinois Jane Addams Day with us on December 10th, 2006 on the 75th anniversary of Jane Addams receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Capricorn Horoscope for week of November 30, 2006

Capricorn Horoscope for week of November 30, 2006

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
As I see your situation, it's like you're acting famished even though the cupboards are stocked with goodies. You're pining and moaning to be close to a treasure that's right next to you. You've got 98 out the 100 things you need, and yet you just can't stop obsessing on the two that are missing. If I'm wrong about this, Capricorn, just ignore what I'm saying and rejoin me next week. But if you suspect I may be on to something, please act fast to purge your delusions.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Capricorn Horoscope for week of November 23, 2006

"The problem, if you love it," said Jiddu Krishnamurti, "is as beautiful as the sunset." He did not mean this ironically, nor was he indulging in sentimental wish-fulfillment. He was one of the toughest-minded spiritual teachers ever born. As you slip into a phase when your problems are especially gorgeous and entertaining, Capricorn, I urge you to remind yourself of his wise thought at least five times a day. Here's a second nugget for you to chew on often. It's a lyrical, hard-assed Zen proverb: "The obstacle is the path."

Sunday, November 26, 2006

You are the World

Completion, Good Reward.

The World is the final card of the Major Arcana, and as such represents saturnian energies, time, and completion.

The World card pictures a dancer in a Yoni (sometimes made of laurel leaves). The Yoni symbolizes the great Mother, the cervix through which everything is born, and also the doorway to the next life after death. It is indicative of a complete circle. Everything is finally coming together, successfully and at last. You will get that Ph.D. you've been working for years to complete, graduate at long last, marry after a long engagement, or finish that huge project. This card is not for little ends, but for big ones, important ones, ones that come with well earned cheers and acknowledgements. Your hard work, knowledge, wisdom, patience, etc, will absolutely pay-off; you've done everything right.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

celebrity sighting

I saw them Filming CSI off of second ave and saw the leads getting ready to film

I saw angela Landsbury in Whole Foods near Columbus Square buying soup and other groceries
The Cast of a Film Catches a Bad Case of the Oscars

Published: November 17, 2006

One of the most endearing qualities of Christopher Guest’s films is the gee-whiz enthusiasm of the members of his informal repertory company. Like kids playing dress-up in an attic on a rainy Saturday afternoon, they can barely contain their seizures of delight when inspiration strikes, and the mood is contagious.

In their newest film, “For Your Consideration,” written by Mr. Guest and Eugene Levy and performed in a broader than usual version of the company’s semi-improvisatory style, some of the most delirious mischief is concentrated in scenes from a ridiculous imaginary movie, “Home for Purim.”

Contrary to every law of nature, principle of arts criticism or movie-industry business model, this piece of celluloid schlock accumulates awards buzz after a visitor to the set posts a notice on the Internet citing the “Oscar-worthy” performance of one of its stars, Marilyn Hack (Catherine O’Hara). Faster than a mouse click, an epidemic of Oscar fever grips the set, and as the hype escalates, other cast members’ names come into play.

A creaky Southern melodrama with a Jewish twist, “Home for Purim” is performed in a florid, old-fashioned style with accents as thick as lumps of congealed molasses. The word “Mama” is shrieked in the caterwauling tones of “Mama’s Family,” that long-running, hilariously misanthropic spinoff from “The Carol Burnett Show.” In fact, the jolly ensemble style of Mr. Guest’s company owes a great deal to the skits cooked up in the 1970s by Ms. Burnett, Harvey Korman and the show’s writing team.

The Mama in this case is a dying matriarch who, in Ms. O’Hara’s inspired hands, emerges as a sly takeoff on Geraldine Page in her grandly aggrieved Southern mode. As the actor playing Mama’s husband — a performer best known for TV commercials in which he plays Irv the Foot-Long Weiner — Harry Shearer wears a Zachary Scott mustache and flashes buck teeth.

Domestic fireworks explode when the movie couple’s prodigal daughter Rachel takes home a lesbian lover for the Jewish holiday. Callie Webb (Parker Posey), the actress who plays Rachel, is best-known for her one-woman performance piece, “No Penis Intended,” and late in the movie we see a smidgen of this Off Off Broadway atrocity.

“Home for Purim” suggests a hybrid of “The Little Foxes” and “The Children’s Hour,” mixed with a cheesy Tennessee Williams knockoff and garnished with “Fiddler on the Roof.” It’s Jewish Southern Gothic with a sour cream filling and a weepy, sugary topping of David O. Selznick.

Alas, only bits and pieces of “Home for Purim” are shown in “For Your Consideration.” As the pre-Oscar hype snowballs into an avalanche, Martin Gibb (Ricky Gervais), who runs the distribution company Sunfish Classics, demands that the film’s Jewishness be “toned down,” and its title is changed to “Home for Thanksgiving.” We see nothing of the final product.

“For Your Consideration” is by far the broadest comedy Mr. Guest and company have made. Despite its merriment, it is also the flimsiest. Unlike Mr. Guest’s earlier films, the movie has no airs of being a fake documentary. As farce trumps satire, the humor’s subversive edge is lost, along with meaningful character development, with the brilliant exception of Ms. O’Hara’s Marilyn.

Her inspired comic creation belongs on the same shelf as the provincials in Mr. Guest’s “Waiting for Guffman,” who dream that their little amateur show might be Broadway bound, and the aging folk singers of “A Mighty Wind,” who still nurture a sanctimonious image of themselves as a cultural vanguard. Mr. Guest’s vision of naïve American dreamers acting out their fantasies found its deepest expression in the dog owners of “Best in Show,” whose primped-up pets on parade were manifestations of their vanity. Those dog owners also represented a wide cross-section of Americans, something that “For Your Consideration” doesn’t begin to evoke.

In “For Your Consideration,” satire only glancingly collides with reality. To begin with, a movie like “Home for Purim” would never be made, even in the outermost reaches of independent cinema. Nor would a unit publicist be as clueless and buffoonish as the one played here by John Michael Higgins, who refers to “the World Wide Inter-Web” and delivers this zany analysis of the acting profession: “Inside every actor is a tiger, a pig, an ass and a nightingale, and you never know which will show up.”

Funny? Yes. Revealing? No. By and large, the movie is content to offer amusing caricatures and leave it at that.

And so we are left to enjoy clever spoofs of media types who are already self-parodies. Leading the list is an obsequious television couple, played by Fred Willard in a red Mohawk and a wonderfully deadpan Jane Lynch, who host an “Entertainment Tonight”/“Access Hollywood”-like program, and Don Lake and Michael Hitchcock as dueling movie critics many notches in insight below Ebert and Roeper.

This is the first Christopher Guest film in which too many characters are spread too thinly. The beleaguered screenwriters (Bob Balaban and Michael McKean), whose ideas go unheard, barely have time to register. Even the appearances of Mr. Guest (with frizzy mad scientist hair), as the autocratic director of “Home for Purim,” and Mr. Levy, as a feckless agent, are too hasty.

That leaves us with Ms. O’Hara, whose Marilyn, a virtual unknown after nearly 30 years in show business, initially feigns nonchalance about the buzz. As she makes the rounds of talk shows, stroked and goaded by one talking head after another, you observe her seduction by the insatiable monster of television celebrity journalism. In her final act of obeisance to the system, she appears, drastically made over and destroyed, her lips plumped, her face stretched into an expressionless mask of desperate ambition.

“For Your Consideration” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). It has strong language.


Opens today in New York;Los Angeles; Boston and Cambridge, Mass.; Chicago; Dallas; Minneapolis; Portland, Ore.; Seattle and San Francisco.

Directed by Christopher Guest; written by Mr. Guest and Eugene Levy; director of photography, Roberto Schaefer; edited by Robert Leighton; music by C J Vanston; production designer, Joseph T. Garrity; produced by Karen Murphy; released by Warner Independent Pictures. Running time: 86 minutes.

WITH: Bob Balaban (Philip Koontz), Jennifer Coolidge (Whitney Taylor Brown), Christopher Guest (Jay Berman), John Michael Higgins (Corey Taft), Eugene Levy (Morley Orfkin), Jane Lynch (Cindy), Michael McKean (Lane Iverson), Catherine O’Hara (Marilyn Hack), Parker Posey (Callie Webb), Harry Shearer (Victor Allan Miller), Fred Willard (Chuck) and Ricky Gervais (Martin Gibb).
Next Article in Movies (10 of 51) »

Kittie sleeps all day til its time to eat..

a statement on NYC restaurants

mary oliver poem

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Rocking a GOP district's boat to the House

Rocking a GOP district's boat to the House
John Hall, a guitarist and songwriter with the band Orleans of 1970s fame, takes his political activism to a new level.
By Ellen Barry
November 15, 2006

MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. — For more than three decades, John Hall has occupied a very specific role in the soft-rock band Orleans: guitarist, songwriter, and insufferable policy wonk.

Hall was the one who, faced with a roomful of fans, would "launch into dissertations about the statistics of how much plutonium was being produced," recalled the band's longtime bass player, Lance Hoppen, 53. The fans, he added, did not always share Hall's enthusiasm for the minutiae of energy policy.

"It was like, 'All right, we get it,' " Hoppen said.

Hall, 58, may have finally found his audience. He has spent the last two days in Washington with the rest of Congress' 2007 freshman class, learning House protocol and catching up on sleep. Last week, he pulled off one of the most dramatic political upsets in the country, defeating Sue W. Kelly, a six-term Republican incumbent, by 4,300 votes in New York's 19th Congressional District.

Hall said he was happy, but "a little daunted by the mess we've been left with," and worried that outgoing Republicans would try to ensure their political legacy with last-minute legislation. He has identified one congressman who plays guitar and one who plays the drums, so they are, as he puts it, one bassist short of an act. The freshman class, Hall said, has a lot of new energy.

"It does feel like an insurgency," he said. "In a good way."

Orleans — the band Hall has played in since 1972 — enjoyed a brief star turn in 1976 with a sweetly harmonized hit called "Still the One," which later became a theme song for Burger King and Applebee's. Its ascent up the pop charts was inhibited only by "Disco Duck" by Rick Dees and His Cast of Idiots.

But Hall was drawn to more serious matters. The son of a Westinghouse engineer and a creative writing professor, he wrote lyrics about the carpet-bombing of Hanoi and co-founded Musicians United for Safe Energy, an anti-nuclear group. When he did interviews, he recalled, "the poor marketing people at the record company would say, 'Can't you talk about the record?' " He wrote "Plutonium is Forever," and "Power," a love song to alternative energy:

Give me the spirit of living things as they return to clay

Just give me the restless power of the wind

Give me the comforting glow of a wood fire

But won't you take all your atomic poison power away.

Many of Hall's central issues — and many of his allies — spring from that earlier era. He supports socialized medicine and a swift withdrawal of troops from Iraq. He has proposed a "Marshall Plan" to develop alternative energy sources and "kick our addiction to oil, coal and nuclear." He got to know his campaign manager, Amy Little, in 1976, when they were protesting the Seabrook nuclear facility.

"The fact that John is both anti-fossil fuel and anti-nuclear … is kind of old-school, and something I kind of love," said singer-songwriter Dar Williams, who performed alongside Jackson Browne at a fundraiser for Hall this summer.

This might not seem like a recipe for winning the 19th District, a swath of lush suburban towns north of New York City where Republicans outnumber Democrats by 18,000. Kelly had won her last two elections with commanding margins: 60% in 2004 and 67% in 2002, and started the year with a war chest of $900,000 — to Hall's $57,000.

But this year, opposition to the war was so overwhelming that any Democratic challenger could pose a threat to a Republican incumbent, said Jay Townsend, Kelly's spokesman.

"In a normal year, [Hall] would be adjudged by the people in this district as OK, but too far left," he said. "This was not a normal year."

Two years ago, Hall's name popped up out of nowhere, like the answer to a Trivial Pursuit question. President Bush was using "Still the One" at campaign events, and Hall was livid. He had his lawyers draft a formal letter of complaint. The incident, he said, was "one more straw on the camel's back."

By then, Hall had run successful county legislature and school board campaigns. But this March, still competing against five others in the Democratic primary, Hall found fundraising "so bleak" that he reviewed concession speeches. His staff worried that Hall would be pilloried for his show-business background, or for a stint in rehab 20 years ago. An unsigned campaign flier showed him on an Orleans album cover, shirtless and hairy — "John Hall, wrong for America," the caption read.

But Hall showed up in pinstripes and wingtips, and talked policy. He thought his musical career carried "built-in advantages that couldn't be assessed at that point." Celebrities — among them Bonnie Raitt, Steve Earle and Rosanne Cash — performed at fundraising events. On the "Colbert Report," Hall harmonized with the delighted host.

Hall had caught voters' attention with his celebrity, but never seemed to lean on it, said Richard Born, a professor of political science at Vassar College.

"He doesn't come off like Sonny Bono," he said. "There have been a number of examples of people who have celebrity status who exploit the reason for their celebrity to the point where it is cloying. Hall is not cloying."

In Congress, Hall hopes to fight to protect intellectual property rights for musicians, software engineers and filmmakers. He also hopes to press for campaign finance reform so that other political outsiders can more easily run for office.

"The average citizen ought to have a chance," Hall said. "You're missing out on the talent and the energy of a huge segment of the population that would never run for office, for two reasons: One is that they could never raise the money, and the other is that they don't want their private life dug into."

The band will continue touring, without Hall. He has been replaced for now by Dennis "Fly" Amero, who plays guitar left-handed and upside down, a la Jimi Hendrix. One thing he does not do on stage is talk politics.

Capricorn Horoscope for week of November 16, 2006

Capricorn Horoscope for week of November 16, 2006

"It was so much easier when I was cruel," mourns Elvis Costello in his song "When I Was Cruel." Writing about the aching protectiveness she feels toward her precious son Sam in her book Operating Instructions, Anne Lamott expresses a related gripe: "I feel that he has completely ruined my life, because I just didn't used to care all that much." A similar predicament may soon visit you, Capricorn. Thanks to several close encounters with other people's pain, you may swell up with compassion and empathy. Will you get soft and weak like Costello and Lamott? According to my reading of the omens, you won't. On the contrary, I think you'll become stronger and smarter.

Rolling Across the Decades With Dylan

Rolling Across the Decades With Dylan

Published: November 11, 2006

Bob Dylan’s songs stand up to changes. Plug them in or unplug them, snarl them or whisper them, shift the beat or ignore the melody, and somehow their flinty insights and wary tenderness still come through. Mr. Dylan toys with his music at every performance, and so do his admirers.
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Forum: Popular Music

“The Music of Bob Dylan” presented 22 Dylan songs performed by 21 different lineups on Thursday night at Avery Fisher Hall, in a benefit for the nonprofit music-education group Music for Youth. Mr. Dylan wasn’t there, but his many stances were: lover, goad, wiseacre, preacher, tale spinner, judge. And the more his songs were knocked free of their original versions, the better they sounded.

No song was transformed more than the Roots’ version of “Masters of War,” which was trenchant two nights after the election. Normally a hip-hop group, the Roots were a rock trio on Thursday night. For the first verses, Kirk Douglas, playing guitar, sang “Masters of War” to a different tune that it fits: “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Then the Roots turned the song into a hard-rock waltz, its verses defined by Ahmir Thompson’s snappy drumming. In interludes, Damon Bryson played “Taps” on the sousaphone; Mr. Douglas switched into the riff of Jimi Hendrix’s “Machine Gun.” Each condemnation of war profiteers hit home anew.

Another indictment, “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll,” went to a different extreme: somber minimalism. With Philip Glass at the piano playing his trademark steadily rippling eighth notes, Natalie Merchant sang the verses slowly and mournfully, for an elegy growing bitterly angry.

Ryan Adams and his band turned the cracked adventures of “Isis” into rangy Southern rock, working up so much momentum that they inserted another Dylan song, “Love Sick,” as a reggae interlude.

The New Orleans pianist Allen Toussaint, performing solo, gave “Mama, You’ve Been on My Mind” a rolling syncopation that made the song both a lover’s lament and a Crescent City remembrance. Jamie Saft, a pianist leading a jazz trio, made “Ballad of a Thin Man” into splashy, two-fisted honky-tonk. And Jill Sobule, with Cyndi Lauper and a small group, gave “Ring Them Bells” a Salvation Army Band makeover. Al Kooper, who played organ on the original “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry,” reworked it with a soul vamp and a horn section.

Still, folk-rock and roots-rock dominated the night. which could have used more variety (surely Mr. Dylan has fans beyond guitar slingers). Some of the more straightforward renditions were radiant: Rosanne Cash singing a righteous, bare-bones “License to Kill,” Joan Osborne finding all the longing in “Make You Feel My Love,” Patti Smith crooning the enigmatic “Dark Eyes,” and Warren Haynes, joined by Ms. Osborne, using slide guitar solos to build the hymnlike conviction of “I Shall Be Released.” Phil Lesh made the night’s stage band lilt like his own Grateful Dead in “Thunder on the Mountain.” Cat Power traded her assigned song, “Moonshiner,” for another traditional song from Mr. Dylan’s repertory, “House of the Rising Sun,” and sang it in sultry, suspenseful slow motion.

The concert had its duds. Some performers merely imitated Mr. Dylan; some imposed annoying mannerisms, like Sandra Bernhard treating “Like a Rolling Stone” as an afterthought to a self-important anecdote. Even so, striking phrases and ideas popped out of the music. Mr. Dylan’s songs were still buttonholing listeners.
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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

trick or treat

Fear of fear a risk to mental health

POSTED: 5:24 p.m. EST, November 13, 2006
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NEW YORK (Reuters) -- The fear of fear itself may make people more vulnerable to developing certain psychiatric disorders, a study suggests.

Researchers found that people who are especially sensitive to the physical signs of anxiety - from sweaty palms to a pounding heart - have a higher risk of developing anxiety disorders, including recurrent panic attacks.

For about 20 years, researchers have recognized a trait called anxiety sensitivity, where people interpret the physical aspects of anxiety as a threat in themselves. They may, for example, believe they're having a heart attack when their heart rate rises in response to stress.

Past research has suggested that anxiety sensitivity might be a risk factor for future anxiety disorders, including panic disorder.

But the new findings, according to the study authors, are the first to give strong evidence that this is the case.

The study doesn't prove that anxiety sensitivity directly causes clinical anxiety disorders, explained lead author Dr. Brad Schmidt, a professor of psychology at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

But if it does contribute to these disorders, then that would raise the possibility for prevention, he told Reuters.

The study, published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, included 404 young adults who were followed over two years. At the beginning of the study, they were interviewed and completed a battery of standard tests, including the Anxiety Sensitivity Index.

This index gauges a person's fear of the bodily sensations that arise with stress and anxiety -- such as increased heart rate, sweating and dizziness.

In general, the researchers found, people who scored high on the Anxiety Sensitivity Index were about twice as likely to suffer a panic attack or have an anxiety disorder diagnosed during the study period.

In another study not yet published, Schmidt and his colleagues have already examined whether behavioral therapy to reduce anxiety sensitivity lowers the risk of future anxiety disorders.

Those results are promising, according to Schmidt, and more-definitive findings should come from a planned five-year, multi-site trial.

Copyright 2006 Reuters. All rights reserve

Saturday, November 11, 2006

the boxer

I am just a poor boy though my story's seldom told
I have squandered my resistance for a pocketful of mumbles,
Such are promises, all lies and jest,
Still a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest, hmmmm

When I left my home and my family, I's no more than a boy
In the company of strangers
In the quiet of the railway station, runnin' scared, laying low,
Seeking out the poorer quarters, where the ragged people go,
Looking for the places only they would know.

Li la li...

Asking only workman's wages, I come lookin' for a job,
But I get no offers,
Just a come-on from the whores on 7th Avenue.
I do declare, there were times when I was so lonesome
I took some comfort there.

La la la...

Now the years are rolling by me, they are rockin' evenly,
And I'm older than I once was, younger than I'll be, that's not unusual
Oh it isn't strange, after changes upon changes,
we are more or less the same, after changes, we are more or less the same.
Li la li...

And I'm laying out my winter clothes and wishing I was gone,
goin' home
Where the New York City winters aren't bleedin' me, leadin' me,
goin' home.

In the clearing stands a boxer, and a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders of every glove that laid him down or cut him
'Til he cried out in his anger and his shame
I am leaving, I am leaving, but the fighter still remains.

Li la li...

my new poster

November 2006

Pastor will shut down controversial kids camp
November 8, 2006
AP and Religion News Service via The Seattle Times: "The summer camp featured in the documentary Jesus Camp, which includes scenes with disgraced preacher Ted Haggard, will shut down for at least several years because of negative reaction sparked by the film, according to the camp's director." In the same story, co-director Rachel Grady comments that she's not completely thrilled by the overly negative reaction to the film's subject: "'Not that we had anything to do with it, but [the campground] wasn't getting vandalized before the film and it was after it, and we need to acknowledge that.'"
November 2006

Pastor will shut down controversial kids camp
November 8, 2006
AP and Religion News Service via The Seattle Times: "The summer camp featured in the documentary Jesus Camp, which includes scenes with disgraced preacher Ted Haggard, will shut down for at least several years because of negative reaction sparked by the film, according to the camp's director." In the same story, co-director Rachel Grady comments that she's not completely thrilled by the overly negative reaction to the film's subject: "'Not that we had anything to do with it, but [the campground] wasn't getting vandalized before the film and it was after it, and we need to acknowledge that.'"

jesus camp shut down

November 2006

Pastor will shut down controversial kids camp
November 8, 2006
AP and Religion News Service via The Seattle Times: "The summer camp featured in the documentary Jesus Camp, which includes scenes with disgraced preacher Ted Haggard, will shut down for at least several years because of negative reaction sparked by the film, according to the camp's director." In the same story, co-director Rachel Grady comments that she's not completely thrilled by the overly negative reaction to the film's subject: "'Not that we had anything to do with it, but [the campground] wasn't getting vandalized before the film and it was after it, and we need to acknowledge that.'"

jesus camp shut down

November 2006

Pastor will shut down controversial kids camp
November 8, 2006
AP and Religion News Service via The Seattle Times: "The summer camp featured in the documentary Jesus Camp, which includes scenes with disgraced preacher Ted Haggard, will shut down for at least several years because of negative reaction sparked by the film, according to the camp's director." In the same story, co-director Rachel Grady comments that she's not completely thrilled by the overly negative reaction to the film's subject: "'Not that we had anything to do with it, but [the campground] wasn't getting vandalized before the film and it was after it, and we need to acknowledge that.'"

jesus camp shut down

November 2006

Pastor will shut down controversial kids camp
November 8, 2006
AP and Religion News Service via The Seattle Times: "The summer camp featured in the documentary Jesus Camp, which includes scenes with disgraced preacher Ted Haggard, will shut down for at least several years because of negative reaction sparked by the film, according to the camp's director." In the same story, co-director Rachel Grady comments that she's not completely thrilled by the overly negative reaction to the film's subject: "'Not that we had anything to do with it, but [the campground] wasn't getting vandalized before the film and it was after it, and we need to acknowledge that.'"

jesus camp shut down

November 2006

Pastor will shut down controversial kids camp
November 8, 2006
AP and Religion News Service via The Seattle Times: "The summer camp featured in the documentary Jesus Camp, which includes scenes with disgraced preacher Ted Haggard, will shut down for at least several years because of negative reaction sparked by the film, according to the camp's director." In the same story, co-director Rachel Grady comments that she's not completely thrilled by the overly negative reaction to the film's subject: "'Not that we had anything to do with it, but [the campground] wasn't getting vandalized before the film and it was after it, and we need to acknowledge that.'"

Aint that the truth

Your Vocabulary Score: B-

You have a zealous love for the English language, and many find your vocabulary edifying.
Don't fret that you didn't get every word right, your vocabulary can be easily ameliorated!

Friday, November 10, 2006

making his breath disappear

giving it your best POOF

Prospero again


In the movies, the life of the mind often turns to mush and stories about genius tend to be painfully dumb. Film seems to have such a firm hold on exterior reality that the inner world of creation is simply too mysterious and elusive for commercial stories that depend on objects and actions, too obscure for a medium that depends on light. And so most filmmakers give us painters slashing away at canvases with grim determination and writers nibbling on pens that might as well be magic wands, pantomimes of inspiration spiked with the usual flavorings of perversion, despair, alienation and tragedy.
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Forum: Movies

At first glance the period film “Copying Beethoven” looks as if it might be following a familiar course. To begin with, there is Ed Harris in a Beethoven wig. It’s a fine wig, but wigs are generally worrisome, particularly when atop a head that seems quintessentially modern American. Then there is the matter of the young German actress Diane Kruger, who had the misfortune to play Helen in Wolfgang Petersen’s “Troy” and looks too beautiful to play a role of any substance. That, at least, is one lesson imparted by Hollywood, where, as around the 12th century B.C., attractive women are often little more than prizes to be passed around onscreen. Happily, the film director Agnieszka Holland, whose previous features include “Europa, Europa,” is herself a woman of substance.

“Copying Beethoven” takes place in 1824, toward the end of Beethoven’s life. Ms. Kruger plays Anna Holtz, a Viennese music student who through talent, ambition and happenstance finds herself summoned to transcribe Beethoven’s messy musical notations. Stone deaf, Beethoven initially rebuffs her services (you’re a woman, he all but shouts, as if her sex were a crime), but quickly relents. Time and life are running out, and he is too preoccupied with finishing his latest symphony to rout out someone new. So together, in a darkly lighted apartment where rats scuttle underfoot amid eggshells and overflowing chamber pots, he composes and she copies. In time, the work and the notes join forces until one evening, with Beethoven conducting, the Ninth Symphony erupts into a dazzled world.

The presentation of the Ninth is reason alone to see the film. Onscreen is the Kecskemet Symphony Orchestra of Hungary, but what we hear is a 1996 Decca recording of Bernard Haitink conducting the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam. Purists may object to this strategy, but Ms. Holland’s filmmaking in this scene is so sensitive that only quibblers will notice if the bowing doesn’t match the sound. With her cinematographer, Ashley Rowe, and editor, Alex Mackie, she orchestrates bursts of images and metronomic camera pans that become a visual counterpoint to the music’s propulsive and flowing tempos, its rushing violins and soaring voices. Every so often the camera focuses on one of Beethoven’s hands, the fingertips stirring the air as if rustling the notes. The world falls away, blissfully.

The screenwriter Stephen J. Rivele, who wrote “Copying Beethoven” with Christopher Wilkinson (their other credits include “Nixon” and “Ali”), has explained that the idea for the film originated with Anthony Hopkins, who subsequently opted not to take the role. Mr. Harris, an actor who can show the storms gathering under a character’s skin, proves an ideal substitute. Topped with that messy salt-and-pepper wig that frames and obscures his scowling, searching face, he invests Beethoven with a violent turbulence that sometimes floods the room but mostly stays coiled inside, where it seethes. (Even his darkened eyebrows look furious.) This isn’t the narcissistic rage of movie-made genius, but the private agonies of a man who lives very much alone in his head.

“Copying Beethoven” doesn’t shed light on those torments, partly because the screenwriters keep a respectful distance from their subject and partly because Ms. Holland is too smart and unsentimental to fall into such a storybook trap. Beethoven’s nephew Karl (Joe Anderson) expresses revulsion at his uncle’s affection for him. But, happily, no one delivers a speech about the psychological undergirding of a relationship that would, finally, be known only to these long-dead men. When Beethoven talks about Karl, Mr. Harris releases his scowl as if unclenching a fist; you don’t need to hear the composer describe his love and pain, you see them. Ms. Kruger, alas, must explain more, largely because of her gender, which needs both contextual explanation and, apparently, a love interest.

According to Mr. Rivele, the character of Anna Holtz, though based on two of Beethoven’s male copyists, was created in part because the intimation of a love story helped finance the production. That seems plausible. Certainly a film about an irritable male genius and his male assistants might not be as entrancing as the image of Ms. Kruger scrubbing a floor on her hands and knees, skirt pushed up to reveal a sliver of luminous skin. This isn’t a criticism: Ms. Kruger looks exceedingly fetching whether on the floor or hunched over a desk. More to the point, her attractiveness is not irrelevant in a film with such an unembarrassed feeling for beauty, be it in a woman’s face or a rapturous ode to joy.

“Copying Beethoven” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). The rats may disturb some viewers.


Opens today in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Boston, Dallas, Washington, Seattle-Tacoma and Phoenix.

Borat Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
a k a Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
N.Y. Times Review by Manohla Dargis
Critic's Pick
Sometime in early 2005, a mustachioed Kazakh journalist known as Borat Sagdiyev slipped into America with the intention of making a documentary for the alleged good of his Central Asian nation. Many months later, the funny bruised fruits of his labor, “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” are poised to hit the collective American conscience with a juicy splat. Borat is the dim brainchild of Sacha Baron Cohen, the British comic best known until now for another of his pseudonymous identities, Ali G. With Borat, Mr. Baron Cohen took the same basic idea that had worked with Ali G and pushed it hard, then harder. The joke begins with an apparently never-washed gray suit badly offset by brown shoes, which the performer accents with a small Afro and the kind of mustache usually now seen only in 1970s pornography, leather bars and trend articles. Married or widowed, and he appears to be both, Borat loves women, including his sister, the “No. 4 prostitute” in Kazakhstan. He’s a misogynist, which tends to go unnoticed because he’s also casually anti-Semitic. The brilliance of “Borat” is that its comedy is as pitiless as its social satire, and as brainy. — Manohla Dargis, The New York Times'

From Kazakhstan, Without a Clue

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Published: November 3, 2006

Sometime in early 2005, a mustachioed Kazakh journalist known as Borat Sagdiyev slipped into America with the intention of making a documentary for the alleged good of his Central Asian nation. Many months later, the funny bruised fruits of his labor, “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” are poised to hit the collective American conscience with a juicy splat. The Minutemen, those self-anointed guardians of American sovereignty, were watching the wrong border.
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Sacha Baron Cohen travels across America in “Borat.”
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Sacha Baron Cohen hits the road as a Kazakh journalist in “Borat.”

Borat, who just recently invited the “mighty warlord” George W. Bush to the premiere of his film before a gaggle of excited news crews, is the dim brainchild of Sacha Baron Cohen, the British comic best known until now for another of his pseudonymous identities, Ali G. Described by his creator as a “wannabe gangsta,” Ali G was the host of a British television show, starting in 2000 (HBO had the American edition), where, as the voice of “the yoof,” he interviewed serious and self-serious movers and shakers, including “Boutros Boutros Boutros-Ghali,” Sam Donaldson and Richard Kerr, a former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency, who found himself explaining why terrorists could not drive a train into the White House. (No tracks.)

Mr. Baron Cohen succeeded in seducing politicians and pornography stars alike, mostly because Ali G’s phenomenal stupidity made the character seem harmless. He also seemed to represent the ultimate in media big game: young people. Dressed like a Backstreet Boy, complete with Day-Glo romper suits, designer initials and a goatee that looked as if it had been painted on with liquid eyeliner, he was met with bewilderment, exasperation and patience that at times bordered on the saintly. Like Borat and Bruno, another of the comic’s similarly obtuse television alter egos who made regular appearances on the shows, the joke was equally on Ali G and on the targets of his calculated ignorance.

With Borat, Mr. Baron Cohen took the same basic idea that had worked with Ali G and pushed it hard, then harder. The joke begins with an apparently never-washed gray suit badly offset by brown shoes, which the performer accents with a small Afro and the kind of mustache usually now seen only in 1970s pornography, leather bars and trend articles. Think Harry Reems, circa 1972, but by way of the Urals. Married or widowed, and he appears to be both, Borat loves women, including his sister, the “No. 4 prostitute” in Kazakhstan, with whom he shares lusty face time in the film’s opener. He’s a misogynist (a woman’s place is in the cage), which tends to go unnoticed because he’s also casually anti-Semitic.

That Mr. Baron Cohen plays the character’s anti-Semitism for laughs is his most radical gambit. The Anti-Defamation League, for one, has chided him, warning that some people may not be in on the joke. And a sampling of comments on blogs where you can watch some of the older Borat routines, including a singalong in an Arizona bar with the refrain “Throw the Jew down the well,” indicates that the Anti-Defamation League is at least partly right: some people are definitely not in on the joke, though only because some people are too stupid and too racist to understand that the joke is on them. As the 19th-century German thinker August Bebel observed, anti-Semitism is the socialism of fools, a truism Mr. Baron Cohen has embraced with a vengeance.

Given this, it seems instructive to note how discussions of Borat, including the sympathetic and the suspicious, often circle over to the issue of Mr. Baron Cohen’s own identity. Commentators often imply that Borat wouldn’t be funny if Mr. Baron Cohen were not Jewish, which is kind of like saying that Dave Chappelle wouldn’t be funny if he were not black. For these performers, the existential and material givens of growing up as a Jew in Britain and as a black man in America provide not only an apparently limitless source of fertile comic material, but they are also inseparable from their humor. But no worries: Borat makes poop jokes and carries a squawking chicken around in a suitcase.

Like General Sherman, he also lays waste to a sizable swath of the South, a line of attack that begins in New York and ends somewhere between the Hollywood Hills and Pamela Anderson’s bosom. The story opens in Kazakhstan (apparently it was shot in a real Romanian village that looks remarkably like the set for a 1930s Universal horror flick), where Borat sketches out his grand if hazy plans before heading off in a horse-drawn auto. Once in New York, in between planting kisses on startled strangers and taking instruction from a humor coach, he defecates in front of a Trump tower (Donald Trump was one of Ali G’s more uncooperative guests) and masturbates in front of a Victoria’s Secret store. The jackass has landed.

It gets better or worse, sometimes at the same time. Whether you rush for the exits or laugh until your lungs ache will depend both on your appreciation for sight gags, eyebrow gymnastics, sustained slapstick and vulgar malapropisms, and on whether you can stomach the shock of smashed frat boys, apparently sober rodeo attendees and one exceedingly creepy gun-store clerk, all taking the toxic bait offered to them by their grinning interlocutor. There is nothing here as singularly frightening as when, during his run on HBO, Borat encountered a Texan who enthused about the Final Solution. That said, the gun clerk’s suggestion of what kind of gun to use to hunt Jews will freeze your blood, especially when you realize that he hasn’t misheard Borat’s mangled English.

That scene may inspire accusations that Mr. Baron Cohen is simply trading on cultural and regional stereotypes, and he is, just not simply. The brilliance of “Borat” is that its comedy is as pitiless as its social satire, and as brainy. Mr. Baron Cohen isn’t yet a total filmmaker like Jerry Lewis (the film was directed by Larry Charles, who has given it a suitably cheap video look), but the comic’s energy and timing inform every scene of “Borat,” which he wrote with Anthony Hines, Peter Baynham and his longtime writing and production partner, Dan Mazer. These guys push political buttons, but they also clear room for two hairy men to wrestle nude in a gaspingly raw interlude of physical slapstick that nearly blasts a hole in the film.

Clenched in unspeakably crude formation, those hairy bodies inspire enormous laughs, but they also serve an elegant formal function. The sheer outrageousness of the setup temporarily pulls you out of the story, which essentially works along the lines of one of the Bob Hope-Bing Crosby road movies, though with loads of smut and acres of body hair, relieving you of the burden of having to juggle your laughter with your increasingly abused conscience. Just when you’re ready to cry, you howl.

“If the comic can berate and finally blow the bully out of the water,” Mr. Lewis once wrote, “he has hitched himself to an identifiable human purpose.” Sacha Baron Cohen doesn’t blow bullies out of the water; he obliterates them.

“Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). It includes raw language, naked men and nude wrestling.


Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

Opens today nationwide.

Stars strike a chord to pull off Dylan songfest

Rosanne Cash sings License to Kill

Stars strike a chord to
pull off Dylan songfest

Roseanne Cash puts fire behind politics of 'License to Kill' as she united with other big-name performers to rework Bob Dylan songbook at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center.
The times, they are a tryin' for Bob Dylan.

The great bard's catalogue recently achieved the perverse distinction of providing the score for the worst jukebox musical in history, thanks to Twyla Tharp's clueless staging and her cast's over-enunciated singing.

Mercifully, that show, "The Times They Are a Changin'," closes this month. But given the bruising, Dylan's songs could use a healthy counterbalance just about now.

Last night, they received a fascinating one at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, where a clutch of singers had their quirky way with the Dylan songbook.

Roseanne Cash, Cyndi Lauper, Patti Smith, Allen Toussaint, Ryan Adams, Cat Power and more than 20 others took part in the show to benefit Music for Youth, a city group that provides music education for kids who otherwise might wander down a bad path.

Given the range of stars last night - and the breadth of genres they represent - the results were mixed.

But almost no one stooped to the literal in their interpretations. And the highlights had freshness and a sense of risk on their side.

Some fiddled with the songs' original genre. Joan Osbourne tweaked "To Make You Feel My Love" in a country direction, nailing the lyric's need.

The Jamie Saft Trio morphed "Ballad of a Thin Man" into a jazz instrumental, communicating all its vitriol without need of a vocal. New Orleans legend Allen Toussaint fused boogie-woogie riffs with classical ones on "Mama, You Been on My Mind," melding the funky with the erudite.

Other artists played with both the music and the message. Jill Sobule and Cyndi Lauper moved "Ring Them Bells" from a reverent ode to a celebratory one. Roseanne Cash stressed the feminist subtext of "License to Kill," while putting real fire behind its politics.

But the show-stealer was the hip-hop band the Roots, whose singer started out crooning "Masters of War" to the tune of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Then the group turned it into a military ballad, culminating in a psychedelic rock jam led by a drum beat so furious it threatened to punch a hole right through the back wall.

Dylan, the subversive, would have been proud.

Originally published on November 10, 2006

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

from Senator Boxer

Dear Friend,

We did it! Thank You!

Today is a day for us all to celebrate! America is coming back -- with a Congress that has heard them and a Congress that cares about them:

No more rubber stamp Congress
No more free passes to the Bush Administration on Iraq
No more arrogance
No more give-aways to the most powerful
No more cozy corruption

Yes to accountability on Iraq
Yes to consumers
Yes to our families and our children
Yes to the environment
Yes to energy independence
Yes to affordable health care and stem cell research
Yes to an increase in the minimum wage
Yes to the recommendations of the 9/11 commission

Can we get it all done? Yes, if our colleagues in the Republican Party recognize that this is what the American people want -- and in a democracy, it is what they should have.

I am hopeful because the people have spoken very clearly. By electing a Democratic House and, if all goes as it it looks now, a Democratic Senate, the American people have clearly spoken out for change -- and with your continued help, that's exactly what they're going to get.

Thank you so much for being on my team. Our PAC for a Change community made a great contribution to this amazing election victory -- and it would not have been possible without you.

In Friendship,

Barbara Boxer

Capricorn Horoscope for week of November 9, 2006

Capricorn Horoscope for week of November 9, 2006

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
Climbing Mt. Everest bored the renowned mountaineer Alex Lowe, even when he did it solo without any supplemental oxygen. "Everest held none of the riddles he delighted in solving on remote walls and unnamed ice smears," wrote Outside magazine. "He preferred places that offered 'serious consequences' and little in the way of record-book glory." One of Lowe's colleagues added, "It was astonishing what Alex was able to do. And do alone, without bragging." Lowe himself once said, "The best climber is the one who has the most fun." I recommend his attitude for you right now, Capricorn. Go after the accomplishments that make your heart sing rather than those that make your ego swell.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

annie Leibovitz hanging her Brooklyn Exhibition

Annie Leibovitz: Life, and Death, Examined

From Annie Leibovitz: Life, and Death, Examined
Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Annie Leibovitz preparing her show at the Brooklyn Museum, which is to open Oct. 20. It is drawn from her book “A Photographer’s Life, 1990-2005.” More Photos >

Published: October 6, 2006

IN the days after the death of Susan Sontag in December 2004, Annie Leibovitz began searching for photographs for a small book to be given out at the memorial service. She started with other people’s photographs of Ms. Sontag, then turned to her own, taken during the 15 years they spent together. That exercise turned into what she has described as an archeological dig: an unearthing and sifting of a decade and a half of work, love, family life, illness, deaths and births, adding up to “my most important work,” she said in an interview this week. “It’s the most intimate, it tells the best story, and I care about it.”

The photographs, published earlier this week by Random House in a book titled “A Photographer’s Life 1990-2005,” will be shown at the Brooklyn Museum in an exhibition opening Oct. 20. The collection interweaves the professional and the personal, the public and private, in startling ways. It includes many of the bold, often carefully composed portraits of celebrities, musicians, artists and presidents for which Ms. Leibovitz became famous at Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair. There is Sarajevo in 1993, ground zero in September 2001. And there is previously unseen “personal reportage” on her big and exuberant family, her parents, her life with Ms. Sontag, the births of her three daughters, Ms. Sontag’s illnesses and death, and the death of Ms. Leibovitz’s father six weeks later.

Little seems to have been held back. The still smoking World Trade Center ruins have been juxtaposed with a shot, by Ms. Sontag, of Ms. Leibovitz, naked three weeks later, on the day before she goes in for a Caesarean section. Her mother, sister and niece lie, intertwined in grief, on a bed where her father has died hours before. Ms. Sontag’s body rests on a table in a funeral home, decked out valiantly in a pleated dress from Milan.

But it is the photographs of Ms. Sontag, taken in a hospital room at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle a month earlier, barely recognizable but unmistakably dying, that Ms. Leibowitz says proved the most contentious in conversations with friends and family about making the pictures public.

“Let me be very, very clear about this,” she said in a long conversation in her studio in Greenwich Village, during which she alternated between speaking openly about intimate corners in her life that the photographs inevitably expose, and seeming to regret having said anything at all. “Every single image that one would have a possible problem with or have concerns about, I had them too. This wasn’t like a flippant thing. I had the very same problems, and I needed to go through it. And I made the decision in the long run that the strength of the book needed those pictures, and that the fact that it came out of a moment of grief gave the work dignity.”

It’s a complicated question.

“You don’t get the opportunity to do this kind of intimate work except with the people you love, the people who will put up with you,” Ms. Leibovitz said, speaking not just of Ms. Sontag but of her parents, her children, her five brothers and sisters, who she says became one another’s best friends, growing up in a military family perpetually on the move. “They’re the people who open their hearts and souls and lives to you. You must take care of them.” But when she began sorting through 15 years of magazine assignment photos and personal photography in August 2005 for a book she had long ago promised her publisher, the personal pictures were the ones that captivated her. She would weep for 10 minutes, then return to the photographs. “I found myself totally taken over by the personal work,” she said. “I thought it was so strong and so moving.”

She spent five days that month in the complex of stone barns she owns on 200 acres in Rhinebeck, N.Y., working on the book with Mark Holborn, an editor and publisher who has collaborated with other photographers on their books. They tore down the divide between Ms. Leibovitz’s photographs that had been taken on assignment and her personal images, interweaving them in one narrative spanning 15 years in the world and her life. Her landscape photographs became the punctuation, “pauses and commas in the storytelling.” At the end of five days, she said, “it was the first time in my life you know you have something that is good or important or that matters.”

Yet Ms. Sontag was a private person, Ms. Leibovitz said: “If she was alive, of course this work wouldn’t be published. It’s such a totally different story that she is dead. I mean, she would champion this work.”

Ms. Leibovitz herself seems ambivalent about how much to surrender. She resisted including an introduction; the photographs were “a small movie,” she said; they should speak for themselves. An editor, Sharon Delano, convinced her that “it was important to explain myself, and explain myself once,” Ms. Leibovitz said. An 11-page introduction grew out of several months of conversations with Ms. Delano. “She was absolutely right,” Ms. Leibovitz said. “I love the introduction. It’s just like a clearinghouse for myself.”

But who gets to explain themselves just once these days? The introduction is a gem of lucidity and understatement. (Ms. Leibovitz introduces the fact of her relationship with Ms. Sontag as an aside, in a dependent clause: “who was with me during the years the book encompasses.”) Now the book is coming out, and she is called upon to talk. “This gets personal,” she said, stopping herself one of several times during the interview. “I have to save some of it for myself. I’m trying to figure this out.” You have to become an actor, she complained; but you don’t want to stop feeling. “In the long run I don’t think this book is helped by talking about it,” she said. “I worry about talking about it. Here I am talking about it.”

Ms. Leibovitz, who is 57, made her name in the 1970’s and early 1980’s as chief photographer for Rolling Stone, shooting musicians and others in provocative poses, like John Lennon, naked and pink, curled around Yoko Ono, fully clothed in black, just hours before he was killed. In 1983 she became the first contributing photographer for Vanity Fair. She shot the famous 1991 cover photograph of Demi Moore, naked and pregnant. She was the official photographer for the 1996 summer Olympics in Atlanta. Other work has included photographs for advertising campaigns for American Express, the Milk Board, “The Sopranos.” Those photographs tend to be meticulously composed, humorous and in strong, saturated color.

She shot her personal photographs with a 35-millimeter camera, sometimes a Leica, in black and white, with Tri-X film, the way she started at the San Francisco Art Institute in the late 1960’s. There are photographs of her parents, her siblings, a flock of nieces and nephews on the beach; of room-service breakfast with Ms. Sontag at the Gritti Palace in Venice; of her parents, asleep in bed, elbows akimbo and pillows askew, a small grandson sandwiched in between. She never took a lot of personal photos; she would throw a few rolls in a box, let them go undeveloped for months. Ms. Sontag complained she did not take enough.

They met in the late 1980’s when Ms. Leibovitz was asked to make some publicity photos in connection with the release of Ms. Sontag’s book, “AIDS and Its Metaphors.” As a student she had read “On Photography,” in which Ms. Sontag wrote, among many other things, “To photograph is to appropriate the thing photographed.” But she talked to Ms. Sontag about “The Benefactor,” her first novel, which Ms. Leibovitz loved. Then she went out and bought all of Ms. Sontag’s books. “I remember going out to dinner with her and just sweating through my clothes because I thought I couldn’t talk to her,” she said. “Some of it must have been I was just so flattered she was even interested in me at all.

“She was actually a very warm, outgoing person, the opposite of what you sort of expected — just so charming, even childlike in some ways,” Ms. Leibovitz said. “The early pictures of her riding the bike, when she had her bike. I helped her get her driver’s license. I said, ‘Oh my God, what did I do?’ Because I realized she couldn’t really drive. She was just this charming, beautiful child inside. She had such delight with life and everything.” Ms. Sontag told her, she said, that as a photographer, “you’re good but you could be better.” Ms. Leibovitz wanted to be better. “I think she came into my life at the right time,” she said. “I wanted to do better things, take photographs that matter.”

They traveled together in Jordan, Egypt, Italy, Paris. Ms. Leibovitz went to Sarajevo, which she says she would not have done had she not known Ms. Sontag. They talked about Ms. Leibovitz doing a book Ms. Sontag called the beauty book: photographs she would take when she felt moved to take them, not the kind taken for assignments. Ms. Leibovitz bought an apartment in Paris; she wanted Ms. Sontag to have something she had always wanted. She helped her financially, she says, making it possible for Ms. Sontag to stop doing lectures and concentrate on writing fiction. “We took care of each other,” she said. “I had great respect and admiration for her, and I wanted to make everything possible for her, whatever she needed. I felt like a person who is taking care of a great monument.”

Another person who emerges vividly from the photographs is Ms. Leibovitz’s mother, Marilyn, whom she describes as exuberant and creative, the kind of mother your friends like but you find occasionally embarrassing as a child. She appears often in a bathing suit and in the presence of water: a stocky figure wading into the surf, grandchild in tow. On her 75th birthday she is barefoot at the sink in a small kitchen in the Florida Keys. Her broad back is turned. Her husband, Samuel, sits, at a tiny table, his back turned too. “That’s what it was really like growing up,” Ms. Leibovitz said, laughing. “You saw their backs. That’s such a moment in life. It makes me a child again.”

In 1998 Ms. Sontag received a diagnosis of cancer, from which she recovered. Ms. Leibovitz took several months off to be with her. There are photographs of that period too, of Ms. Sontag receiving chemotherapy, having her hair cut. “You know, one doesn’t stop seeing,” Ms. Leibovitz said, when asked about her impulse to photograph illness. “One doesn’t stop framing. It doesn’t turn off and turn on. It’s on all the time.” In the middle of her Caesarean in 2001 she reached up with a camera to try to shoot the birth of her daughter, Sarah, over the curtain suspended across her midriff. “They’re all totally out of focus and terrible,” she laughed.

She photographed her father after his death in 2005. He was 91, had lung cancer and had driven a car until a week before. He died at home in bed, with hospice care, in his wife’s arms. The family kept his body in the bedroom all day, as children and, later, a rabbi arrived. Ms. Leibovitz photographed him there, his head on a flowered pillowcase, in pajamas with dark piping. “You find yourself reverting to what you know,” she said. “It’s almost like a protection of some kind. You go back into yourself. You don’t really know quite what you’re doing. I didn’t really analyze it. I felt driven to do it.”

She said, “My father was so beautiful lying there.”

A year earlier, when Ms. Sontag became ill for the final time, Ms. Leibovitz stopped shooting. “I didn’t want to be there as a photographer,” she said. “I just wanted to be there. Then, at the very end, I forced myself to take those few pictures. I knew she was probably dying.” Ms. Leibovitz had Ms. Sontag flown by air ambulance from Seattle back to New York.

“Susan really fought for her life,” Ms. Leibovitz said. “I don’t think anyone takes in what that means. She had a very slim chance of the bone-marrow transplant working. She wanted to live. She had more books she wanted to write. She wanted to do more. She did not want to die. I think it was a very brave and courageous year of her life.”

Near the end of the book there are photographs of grandchildren shoveling dirt onto Mr. Leibovitz’s’s grave and of the birth of Ms. Leibovitz’s twins, Susan and Samuelle, by a surrogate mother. There are photographs of Mrs. Leibovitz, in July 2005, with her two sisters, eating outdoors in Rhinebeck, a cane across her lap, a small camera in hand.

“I love that picture,” Ms. Leibovitz said. “It’s just, life goes on. She’s gone back to the support of her sisters.”

The book and the exhibition end with landscapes, images of Monument Valley, the Hudson, the view from Ms. Leibovitz’s apartment in Manhattan toward Ms. Sontag’s after snow. In one, on Mount Vesuvius, Ms. Sontag moves away from the camera, ascending toward a ridge. Asked about the placement of the final images, Ms. Leibovitz said, “It’s a way of moving out of the story, it’s a way of going back into the earth.”

In the end how much more needs to be said, really?

“With Susan it was a love story,” Ms. Leibovitz said. “With my parents it was the relationship of a lifetime. And with my children it’s the future. I just tried to create an honest work that had all those things in it.”