I wanted to be an astronomer since I was 10 years old, and astronomy is
still my main passion.
But I do have a few other interests:
The music dramas of Richard Wagner
Canyon river rafting
Go (the ancient Chinese board game, more profound in beauty and in difficulty
Play Go here (I
play under the name "howardbond"--see you there!)
Learn the rules here (5 minutes to
learn, a lifetime to master)
NEW: A recent
study has established that "Go players use the right half of their
brain, which works out position and orientation, more than the problem-solving
left half used by chess aficionados."
Some quotations about Go:
[it is] something unearthly . . . If there are sentient beings on other
planets, then they play Go--Emanuel Lasker
Unlike chess and its different pieces and complicated rules, Go is played
with black and white stones equal in value, seemingly making it compatible
with the binary nature of computers. Since the aim of a move is to control
the most territory, the optimal move yields the maximum amount of territory
-- a simple counting procedure and a chore computers excel at. Yet in spite
of the efforts of the world's best programmers over the last 30 years,
the level of computer Go remains about that of a human who has studied
Go for a month--Richard Bozulich
Go is to Western chess what philosophy is to double-entry accounting.--Trevanian
Cinema. Here's my Top 11 List:
2001: A Space Odyssey. Ebert's
1968 review. Ebert's
1997 review: "Only a few films are transcendent..."
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. My favorite film.
I can do no better than to quote Time magazine: "It builds to a
Beethovenian crescendo... here is cinema with the depth of literature and
the splendor of opera... a cinematic triumph." Among the wonders
of this film are three scenes of staggering beauty: the lighting of the
beacons (with its Brucknerian musical accompaniment); the rescue of Frodo
and Sam by Gwaihir and his brethren (powerful mythological and religious
overtones here); and the "Grey Havens" scene at the end, which has brought
a big lump to my throat every time I have seen it. If a finer film has
ever been made, I have yet to see it. And here's a nice quote from a review
at amazon.com: "We finish at the Grey Havens, the best ending in literary
and cinematic history, which encapsulates all of Tolkien's themes: courage,
friendship, suffering, and passing on. It just doesn't get better than
this." The music is a triumph; the Master of Bayreuth, the obvious model
for Howard Shore's leitmotivic score, would be proud! (Listen carefully
at the end of the credits, and you will hear a snippet from Act III of
Walküre, inserted no doubt as an homage to Wagner.)
1982 review. Ebert's
2005 review: "If I abandon this project, I will be a man without dreams,
and I don't want to live like that." One of the greatest films about the
Planet. This is the film that changed my life (in 1956).
Lola rennt (Run, Lola, Run)
This long film ends with an enthralling 20-minute-long scene that is one
of the masterpieces of cinema. For most of this take, the camera just rests
on the face of Nastassja Kinski, and she breaks your heart. August 2005:
Paris, Texas has finally come out on DVD, now with a director's commentary
track added. I was enthralled once again as Wim Wenders described how he
filmed that astonishing scene. Ebert's
2002 review: "...one of the great monologues of movie history." Ebert's
1984 review: "It is true, deep, and brilliant."
review. Kieslowski says: "I think there is a point at which all
these trifling matters, all these little mysteries, come together like
droplets of mercury to form a larger question about the meaning of life,
about our presence here, what in fact went before and what will come after,
whether there is someone who controls all this, or whether it all depends
on our own reason or on someone or something else. The mystery is there
all the time."
Sundays and Cybele
A Thousand Clowns. Very funny, and very profound. "Go to your room."
"I can't, this is a one-room apartment." "Then go to your alcove."
Last updated 2010 September 26