Monday, December 29, 2008

Weekend notebook

*From where I sit, Eric Mangini wasn't that smart six weeks ago when New York fans had the Jets heading for a Super Bowl game against the Giants, and he wasn't that dumb after his team completed a late-season collapse yesterday and missed the playoffs. Mangini certainly wasn't an animated sort on the sidelines, which you might say meant his players lacked fire as a result. But he's never been animated, yet after his successful first season, he was called Man-genius. Sure, Mangini and his assistants weren't blameless for this season's bad finish. But, again, from where I sit, the difference between the team that started 8-3 and ended 1-4 was the horrible play of his Hall of Fame quarterback, not the coach.

*Our paper made a careless mistake the other day regarding something submitted by a local politician. It wasn't earth-shattering in its importance, but it was a bad error nonetheless, and it passed through two hands without being spotted, so it shouldn't have occurred. That said, it was a mistake, human error, nothing more, nothing less. Unfortunately, the politician's first instinct was that it was deliberate on the newspaper's part. I hope I've convinced him otherwise in private correspondence. But he wasn't the first - and probably won't be the last - to incorrectly assert that the newspaper had ulterior motives to make him look bad. I used to talk about this with my longtime former colleague Hugh Reynolds. It was Hugh's take that politicians see backroom machinations where they don't exist because that's their frame of reference from the political universe where they do exist. I think he's on to something.

*Our Christmas Day movie experience was in Albany this year. First time I'd been to the Spectrum, a neighborhood theater that reminded me of Rhinebeck's Upstate Films, only larger. We wanted to see "The Reader" and it wasn't on any local screen. My recommendation on the movie: See it. My recommendation on the theater: Try it, you'll like it (and it's not all that far away). I'd be remiss if I didn't urge you to patronize your local movie houses. But if the Spectrum has something you can't find in the Hudson Valley and/or you're spending a day in Albany, you'll enjoy the experience. The Spectrum is at 290 Delaware Ave., a mile or so from Thruway Interchange 23.

*Also part of the weekend was dinner at Cucina Restaurant in Woodstock, right across Route 212 from the golf club. The place was packed, the food was good, the atmosphere was lively.

*My wife has been belatedly catching up to the TV series "House." It's a medical drama for which the star has won numerous awards. I've caught bits and pieces and found the lead actor to play as obnoxious a character as there is on TV (if you don't count comic Larry David, whose character I like).
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