February 21, 2010

African Americans in the Movies, 2009

I am quoted in a newspaper story about African Americans in movies released in 2009.

Posted by wrjacobs at 11:07 AM

February 17, 2010

transportation bad karma

On Saturday, February 13, 2010 I flew to Atlanta and returned on Tuesday the 16th. It was a good trip in terms of seeing family and friends, but not a good one re: transport. (1) The flight to Atlanta was delayed 2 hours, so by the time I got to my final destination in South Carolina it was 12:45 AM (!). (2) My rental car died at the second to last stop on the way back the airport on Tuesday (!!). That's right: the Jeep Liberty would not start after I stopped to walk around the 'hood where I lived from age 11 to leaving for college. I called roadside assistance, but had to wait an hour for the tow truck to arrive. We got to the airport 45 minutes before my flight left, but by the time I got to the Delta counter to check my bag (after Dollar advised me to settle the bill in person) I was not allowed to check in. Delta rescheduled me for the next flight...plus a $50 change fee (of course). So I went back over to Dollar to argue for a credit. They gave me $50 to cover the change fee plus $10 for my troubles. Since I did not have to fill up the tank with gas ($25 or so) I guess I saved about $35 off a $105 bill, which is OK, I suppose. (3) I did not have an exit row seat on the flight back (I DID have one on the flight down and the initially booked return flight). I did get a bulkhead row seat, which is better than a normal steerage seat, but it had no room to stretch out my legs; an exit row is essential for someone who is 6'5". (4) The return flight arrived 10 minutes early, but we sat on the runway for 20 minutes while the gate was occupied by another plane.

Oh, I should add that the Jeep Liberty did not have power windows, power mirrors, or cruise control. (I was surprised that it had power steering!). Who makes cars without these items these days?!?

I should have realized that travelling on a 13th would cause problems....

Posted by wrjacobs at 12:49 PM

February 11, 2010

Sag Harbor: Failed Expectations

My commentary below on the book Sag Harbor appears in the "Bad Books" section of the January/February 2010 edition of the American Book Review.

I liked Sag Harbor, but did not love it or really like it as I do Colson Whitehead's other books (especially The Intuitionist). I can't put my finger on exactly why. Perhaps it's that the other books have either a slightly unreal aspect (e.g., Elevator Inspectors intuiting elevator functioning), or are larger than life (the subject of John Henry Days). Whatever the reason, it's still worth a read, but I don't think that this is the best work of Colson Whitehead.

The above is my July 2009 review of Colson Whitehead's coming-of-age novel Sag Harbor on the social networking site goodreads.com. The "Bad Books" project is helping me complete my thoughts. Sag Harbor is bad because it fails to live up to high expectations (The Intuitionist is on my Top 10 favorite books list). I'd now add that it's bad because it's hyphenated: many reviews (on goodreads.com and elsewhere) note that Sag Harbor is "semi-autobiographical"; the "semi" should have been deleted! As a privileged African American with experiences similar to those of the main character, a memoir would have really activated serious personal reflection. Instead, in many places I found myself stuck on questions like "Did that happen to the real Colson?" and "This passage is definitely fake," instead of "I'm reminded of the time when I..." or "I should have been...." So, in sum, Sag Harbor is a "bad book" because it fails to fully open multiple new worlds for me, as do Whitehead's other efforts.

Posted by wrjacobs at 9:23 PM

February 8, 2010

Ad Bowl 2010

The top entry in this year's USA Today Ad Meter was the Snickers spot featuring Betty White playing football. I liked that one, but my favorites came in lower on the list: Doritos's "Kid scolds mom's boyfriend" ad at #11, and Google's spot at #43. The Google ad, additionally, might have been sappy, but was refreshing compared to other stuff.

Posted by wrjacobs at 5:40 PM

February 4, 2010

iPhone/iPad live TV

It looks like live TV is coming to the iPhone and iPad via SlingPlayer. I might have to check that out on my iPhone, and a good experience would be a reason to check out the iPad....

Posted by wrjacobs at 1:48 PM

February 3, 2010

Black golfers

Tom Watson says that Tiger Woods should "show some humility to the public" and clean up his act when he returns to golf (!). I wish I could find an In Living Color skit where they showed what would happen once Blacks started taking over golf courses....

Posted by wrjacobs at 10:18 AM