Sunday, October 16, 2005

Latest Eastwood Projects

I just saw an article on Clint Eastwood's latest movie projects about Iwo Jima and the lives of people involved in the battle. Sounds interesting. There is a bit more about the Flags of Our Fathers project here. It reminds me a bit of the movie The Best Years of Our Lives which I thought was a great portrayal of how those serving in WWII handled the return to their post-war lives. The performance by Harold Russell was amazing given the challenges he faced in his personal life. Here is a short biography of Russell.

Ithaca, NY

ithaca3As Dianne mentioned in posts here and here, we spent a few days in Ithaca following a business trip I had to upstate NY. It was really wet, but nevertheless we had fun. I thought I'd post a few photos even though the light wasn't great for photography. Click on any photo to see a larger version at Flickr. At the right is a view of Beebe Lake from the stone bridge on Thurston Avenue, just North of the chemistry building. The white mist above the bridge is from the water going over the falls. A couple spots on the web said these falls were 85 feet. This gorge, Fall Creek, is just below the two chemistry buildings on the Cornell campus. Dianne and I walked over this bridge hundreds of times going to campus. You never get tired of this view.ithaca8

A little further downstream is a pedestrian suspension bridge that connects the Cayuga Heights area to the Cornell campus. The bridge is still in great shape. Dianne was shaking the suspension bridge a bit. If you jump or shake as hard as you can, you can feel a little movement of the bridge. There are trails from this bridge that take you down into the gorge. a lot of people take advantage of that to reach some swimming areas.

This photo at right is looking upstream from the bridge. I don't know how high the bridge is at this point, but the windows in the building give some sense of scale. ithaca7 The level of the bridge is about the same as the base of trees on the right side of the gorge.

We drove to Ithaca Falls as well (further downstream), but the photos didn't turn out too well. We also explored Six Mile Creek, but the trees have grown up and spread over the gorge so much that it is hard to get good views from the easy vantage points. Trees grow a lot in sixteen years.

We stayed downtown at the Hilton Garden Inn near The Commons. It is a nice place and provides good access to restaurants like Collegetown Bagels (one of Dianne's favorites) and the Moosewood - a place I never ate while in Ithaca years ago. We tried it during our visit and enjoyed the food. We also went to The Greek House and had a Souvlaki platter (Greek salad with lamb chunks and fries) as we did years ago.

ithaca2We walked around campus a bit - most of the time in the rain. Campus was pretty dead due to fall break, although there was a field hockey game in the rain on Friday and a football game on Saturday. This photo is from the deck near the Cornell clock tower looking west over Cayuga lake. You can see how overcast it was. The leaves were just starting to change color in Ithaca. You can see a bit of color on the hillside along the far side of the lake. The warmth from the lake slows the transition. Away from the lake the fall color was about 50%.

ithaca6On the western shore of the lake, about a third of the way up the lake from Ithaca, is Taughannook Falls park. It's a very nice park that has one of the highest falls east of the Rocky Mountains. It's higher than Niagara although the volume of water is less. Dianne got a picture of me near the overlook area. I remember years ago when my Dad was visiting me in Ithaca, we hiked to the top of the falls. Somewhere I have a picture of him sitting on the rocks at the top of the falls with his legs dangling over the edge! That will be etched in my memory forever.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Trauma Center

Why watch ER when you can live it....sort of....using the new game Trauma Center for the Nintendo DS? I wonder if I'd pass out playing this game? I'm not cut out for all the blood and guts stuff a surgeon does.

Do not go gentle....

For all you poetry lovers out there, the Academy of American Poets has an interesting website. They have a nice recording of Dylan Thomas reading his poem, "Do not go gentle into that good night." Not being conversant in poetry, I only recognized the title from the movie Back to School when Thornton Melon hulks out of his oral exam stress after Diane inspires him with this poem.

I guess it's sad that my poetry knowledge comes from a Rodney Dangerfield film and my classical music knowledge comes from Warner Brothers cartoons (remember the Rabbit of Seville and What's Opera Doc?). I'll bet this would be an interesting book and here is another. This looks like a nice CD. It made me feel better when I went to this site and read that George Daugherty had the same classical music experience as a kid.

Dead or Alive?

I ran across an interesting site the other day -- the Dead People Server. It's not fancy, but it's a nice site to solve the occasional question of whether so-and-so is dead or alive. There are quite a few links to other sites like the Internet Movie Database.

I recently saw the film To Have and Have Not and was wondering if Lauren Bacall was still alive. When the Vichy government official is reviewing her passport in the film, he mentions her age of 22 (filmed in 1944 she was actually only 20). By the way, I can't recommend the film even though I'm a big Humphrey Bogart fan. I didn't think the story was that strong and I could have done without so much Hogey Carmichael. There were some good scenes and the historical significance for Bogart & Bacall came through. I've never read the book, but I can only hope the US government restrictions on the original screenplay resulted in changes that compromised the Hemingway novel.

I think the Hawks film The Big Sleep with Bogart & Bacall was much better. With William Faulkner writing the screenplay, The Big Sleep has a better story.

Oh....and she's still alive.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Cornell Ornithology Lab

It was cold and wet this weekend in Ithaca. Today we had some time to kill before going to see Wallace and Gromit's new movie, the Curse of the Were-Rabbit. We made a quick trip out to Sapsucker Woods (you can see the woods and pond on the satellite view here) to visit the Ornithology Lab at Cornell. I drove up expecting to see the small, wood timber building that used to house the lab. I was amazed to see a HUGE, new building in its place! You can go here to take a virtual tour. It's a beautiful building, built in 2003, with a large glass wall facing some wetlands as well as a bird feeder area. They have chairs along the window with some spotting scopes to help you watch the birds. Dianne and I watched a heron catch some small fish for an afternoon snack. What a nice facility and what a contrast to the small building they had 15 years ago.

Scud Running

Scud running is a term that describes flying beneath a low layer of clouds, sometimes in marginal weather and/or poor visibility. When I got my private pilot license, scud running was one activity that was outside of my comfort zone for flying by visual flight rules -- beyond my personal weather minimums. It just seems like a bad idea. My conservative minimums did keep me on the ground some days I wanted to fly. That's one reason I went for an instrument rating so I could fly through the clouds and avoid the risks associated with scud running.

This site shows in pictures the dangers of scud running in the mountains. Even in the flat areas of Ohio, scud running can be dangerous. Many months ago, Dianne and I saw a plane scud running on the south edge of Dayton -- probably going to Dayton-Wright brothers airport. It was an overcast day and the clouds were low. I was shocked to see a plane flying so low. The plane was very low in order to stay below the clouds, but they were flying in the vicinity of many towers that extended into the clouds. Last Friday in Ithaca, NY, a plane crashed on approach to the Thompkins County airport. The description here sounds like scud running. The picture shows the outcome. We were driving into Ithaca from Binghamton and it was raining fairly hard and there was a solid layer of clouds that must have been low. Not a good idea to fly visually in those conditions.