September 28, 2008

Finally, the reunion I've been waiting 11 years to see...My two favourite actors are appearing in Revolutionary Road this December. Based on the 1961 novel of the same name by Richard Yates (and the inspiration for the TV show "Mad Men") this film, directed by Sam Mendes, promises to be memorable and poignant. I think it will prove to be an excellent counterpart to Mendes' "American Beauty" (1999). In a 2000 re-review of the novel, the New York Times reviewer writes, "Mostly 'Revolutionary Road' is just so smart and keen and shockingly inventive about everything it turns its imagination to: about being young and blissfully rudderless in New York City before the responsibilities of marriage and family cloud the sky; about entertaining the awful neighbors; about long, long business lunches; about being 30 and feeling middle-aged; about fearing change when you know change is likely to save you; even about the pink light seen through a poor man's earlobe, palely summing up all of humanity's frailty and failure."

September 22, 2008

I came home tonight to learn that a paper I authored this past August on higher education philanthropy has been accepted for publication in the forthcoming issue of the Canadian Journal for New Scholars in Education. I was pretty blown away by this news and I look forward to working with the Journal to create the final version for an expected February 2009 publication.

September 15, 2008

I am so sad to announce that my uncle Robert (Bobby) Kelly passed away yesterday at home. He was surrounded by his wife of 36 years, Margaret, and his two wonderful sons, Chad and Liam. My dad and my other uncle, Glenn, were there a great deal in the last few days.
I joined the Kelly family in 1978 when my Mom and I moved in with my Dad (he later adopted me). Uncle Bobby welcomed me warmly and instantly and both he and my aunt Margaret were so very supportive of me and my drama productions during and after high school. I used to babysit their boys when they all still lived in Aylmer back in the old homestead. I have a rush of nostalgic and bittersweet memories. He was a lovely and good man, and I will miss him dearly.

September 9, 2008

The New U.S. Executive?

It seems my recent caution to Democrats not to underestimate Sarah Palin was very well-founded. A CBS poll released today shows that "when asked directly what helped them to choose a candidate, 28 percent of these previously uncommitted voters volunteered Sarah Palin". She is also polling very high with uncommitted voters, well over Biden. All-in-all this points to the fact that more uncommitted have moved to the Republicans than Democrats since the end of the conventions. And they mourn, and weep, and fast till the evening (2 Samuel 1:12).

September 8, 2008

Star Gazing

On Saturday night Mark and I attended a gala screening of Jonathan Demme's "Rachel Getting Married", starring Anne Hathaway, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Debra Winger. The screening was preceded by a cocktail reception hosted by Queen's University for alumni and friends. As this was the North American premiere the director and stars were in attendance. As we were about seven rows back from the stage I was rather star struck! Ms. Hathaway is tall and stunning, and she seemed so very sweet. It was a treat to see Debra Winger. I have been a fan of hers for years. We were addressed by Mr. Demme, which had me pinching myself as he is a legend in his own right.
The film was uneven but the performances were stellar. Ms. Hathaway was superlative as the recovering drug addict Kym returning to the family homestead for her sister Rachel's wedding. There is no doubt she should receive an Oscar nomination. It's pretty clear that Kym is not especially welcome, and a dark part of the family's history is revealed. The film is raw, and there is a sense of voyeurism as the scenes were entirely filmed by a hand-held camera (which was quite annoying at times). There were moments where you wanted to leave because you felt you were intruding into some very painful moments in this family's ongoing story. This is a dramatic movie at all turns but it does not become maudlin, which would have easily happened with less capable actors. Debra Winger's scenes are few and between but she strikes the perfect note each time. The film is grounded by the hapless father Paul, played by Bill Irwin. This is a beautiful, moving, honest, and affecting film.

September 3, 2008

"But I was going to be the first female..."

As I watch Governor Sarah Palin address the Republican National Convention I can't help but think of Senator Hilary Clinton. Surely she is also watching, and she must be pinching herself. She must be finding the scene on the television incredulous. I wonder if she is harbouring a bitterness as she contemplates the past year and the decades of her public service and where it has led her--to watching instead of being in front of the camera setting the agenda.

Tonight's messages from Rudy Giuliani and Governor Palin have been barbed and vicious. Both have come out on full attack mode with their gloves off. For example: "This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting, and never use the word "victory" except when he's talking about his own campaign". Ouch! They are slicing and dicing Senator Obama for his lack of executive experience and they are positioning him as being all about style and little substance. The word "experience" has been used in almost every sentence, and while Palin is veering on too much sarcasm for my taste, Democrats are very wrong to discount her or the Republicans. Still, I wish she would actually tell us why she would make a great VP instead of spending her time deifying McCain and denigrating Obama. Read Palin's speech here.

As of last look there was only a one-point gap between the parties. This tells me that the so-called "battleground states" and the undecided will determine this election. We should expect one of the most barbaric displays of party rhetoric, stinging criticisms, tabloid-style attacks, excess negativity than in the last two elections. The "Us" and "Them" quotient will rise exponentially. The key will be to see which party can mobilize feet to the polls, and who can win over the fence-sitters. Palin's straight-shootin', small-town hockey mom persona fuels the Republican base, and perhaps will pull in many others. Obama will need Hilary Clinton more than ever to work the stumps and pull in support for the Democrats.

September 2, 2008

Ivy League Leaders

I am amazed at the influence of Harvard and Yale alumni who have made such an indelible impact on American politics at the highest level. These two schools have made a disproportional impact on the United States (and by extension, the world):
President William H. Taft. Yale 1878
President Gerald Ford, Yale 1941
President George H.W. Bush, Yale 1948
President George W. Bush, Yale 1968
President William J. Clinton Yale 1973
Senator Hilary Rodham Clinton, Yale 1973
President John Adams, Harvard 1755
President John Quincy Adams, Harvard 1787
President Rutherford Hayes, Harvard 1845
President Theodore Roosevelt, Harvard 1880
President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harvard 1904
President John F.Kennedy, Harvard 1940
President George W. Bush, Harvard 1975
Senator Barack Obama, Harvard 1991

Cephalopods in Love

The things we do for love...have a look at the best animated film of 2007, Oktapodi

Kingston ranked 7th smartest city in Canada

The Canadian Council of Learning has ranked Kingston 7th overall out of 4,700 cities in their ranking of Canada's smartest cities. The ranking is based on 25 indicators that are grouped into UNESCO "pillars" of learning. They include, "Learning to Know", "Learning to Do", Learning to Live Together", and Learning to Be". Kingston shares the number 7 ranking with London and Oshawa. Ottawa and Victoria tied for the top spot. In the indicators ranking, Kingston came in as the 2nd most caring city in Canada, and the 19th most cultured city.

September 1, 2008

Go Gaels Go!

Queen's has unveiled its new visual identity for all things athletic, and is the first Canadian university to partner with adidas for its team apparel line. Soon all varsity players will be sporting the new uniforms and the campus bookstore will be stocked with sportwear featuring the new look. Queen's interuniversity competition dates back to 1873 and there have been many incarnations of the "old Queen's sweater". But through all the years a few things have remained: the signature tricolour and the symbolic "Q" have been refreshed and will launch another era of Queen's athletic spirit.