I can't believe it's already October; once fall quarter classes start time really races by. I've been bogged down in lots of reading, an enjoyable experience so far, and my new administrative duties consume a lot of practical time (and to echo Elizabeth Nuñez, "dream time"), so I haven't really had an opportunity to blog at all, though there's so much I do want to comment on. (I remember Keguro's list of things he hadn't blogged on, which is an approach that could become almost Borgesian if you were to spin it out and play with it.) I do plan to post images of and a short commentary on C's and my visit to the Rona Hoffman gallery this past weekend to see Kehinde Wiley's huge and striking new paintings. I also will try to write up a short review of Olivier Assayas's Clean, starring Maggie Cheung and Nick Nolte, which I recently saw.
I hadn't realized that the Chicago International Film Festival, the nation's oldest, I believe, is set to begin soon (Oct 5-19), so I need to grab a Reader or hit their site and see what's playing. I did read that some major international films, like Pedro Almodóvar's supposedly stunning new Volver, won't be coming to town, although oddly enough one of the film's stars, Penélope Cruz, will be here to meet and greet...go figure. Over the last few years I've caught some great films at prior runs, and this year's offerings look pretty interesting. The categories include an anime focus, Black perspectives (with films from across the Black Diaspora, including one, No. 2, featuring Ruby Dee playing a Fijian-Kiwi matriarch!), Destination Greece, Chicago/Illinois-related movies, and cinema from across the Americas.
The current series of national political dramas that have been unfolding--the shifting fortunes of the political parties in next month's elections, the House panel's damning report about the 485 Jack Abramoff visits and contacts with the White House, Bob Woodward's chatty and news-generating new book, the GOP sex-and-coverup scandal swirling around ex-Congressman Mark Foley--as well as the ongoing horrors in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other domestic and international issues and crises, are all things I've been thinking about blogging about, but haven't had an opportunity to get to. I've been relying on the blogs, with doses of the mainstream media, to get a handle on what's been going on. My first response is to comment on how awful things look, until I quickly recognize that things have been a mess for a while, and that out of the current domestic debacles could come, however briefly, a moment of political renewal. But I'm not holding my breath, no matter how many more maf54 IMs or documents contradicting Condoleezza Rice make their sudden appearance.
It's baseball playoff time again, and this year's pairings should lead to some exciting games. In the NL, the St. Louis Cardinals fell into the playoffs despite a late-season collapse, and face the top West Division team, the San Diego Padres, in southern California. The Cardinals have almost no starting pitching to speak of, so if they eke out a win, it'll be a miracle (or two great starts from Chris Carpenter coupled with Albert Pujols's batwork). The other matchup pits the team with the best league record, the photogenic New York Mets, led by former Yankees star Willie Randolph, against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Mets don't have their most exciting starter, Pedro Martínez, who's out with a raft of injuries until next season, but their middle relief and closer are excellent, and their superb lineup can knock out anybody, so they have the edge. In the AL, it's the perennial playoff candidates, the New York Yankees, led by captain and top MVP candidate Derek Jeter, facing the Detroit Tigers, who under manager Jim Leyland turned around several years of mediocre play and led their Central Division for most of the season. The Tigers are a young, vibrant team, and could give the Yankees trouble, though I think the Bronx Bombers will win based on overall talent and experience. The other matchup has the Oakland As facing the Minnesota Twins. The As have good pitching and enough good hitters to fill two teams, while the Twins were steadily improved during the season and have the best starter in either league, Johan Santana. If the As can defeat Santana, they go to the Championship Series. Play ball!